Whether you turn to the right or to the left,

your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying,

“This is the way; walk in it.”

Isaiah 30:21

We do not save ourselves ...

I think one of the reasons God wants his people to take a Sabbath is so he can regularly drive home the point that we do not save ourselves.

We need practical ways to keep this truth in the forefront of our minds, lest we forget.

Stopping, ceasing, resting, recovering, worshipping … and did I say resting? These are all things God wants us to do once a week so that He can whisper to us on a regular basis:

It is not all up to you …

Trust me …

Watch me work …

Rest in me …

I got this …

I have been loving some good ol’ Martin Luther quotes lately, and he – the leader of the great Reformation – pounded on this idea hard.

I believe he pounded it because we need it pounded into our thick skulls over and over:

“The sin underneath all our sins is to trust the lie of the serpent that we cannot trust the love and grace of Christ and must take matters into our own hands.”

What matters are you trying to take into your own hands these days?

Would you consider taking some time off from work and worry to simply practice re-trusting the love and grace of Christ for yourself?

A walk, a nap, a rest, just a nice long sit … all these will do.

Let your absolute inactivity drive the point home.

The discipline of being sick ...

I am a terrible sick person.

I rail against being sick. I hate it. I fight it. I try to doctor myself. I can’t rest well. I try to stay productive even though my head is pounding like a freight train.

And this tells me something about myself:

I have a hard time being human, being vulnerable, being weak.

And this tells me even more about myself:

I have a hard time surrendering to the truth of the moment; I want to create my own reality.

I have a hard time letting God be God; I want to run the show.

I have a hard time giving up control, dropping the reins, saying to God, “Thy will be done …”

And so today, on my second full sick day, I am going to practice “the discipline of being sick.”

It is a new spiritual discipline I just made up.

And it looks like me being kind to my very human and frail body. It looks like surrendering to the sick day rather than fighting it. It looks like resting, rather than railing against my need for rest. It looks like finding joy in the space and time away from productivity rather than struggling to be productive in the pain.

It looks like trusting that God can take care of the universe very well on His own, thank you very much, without my teeny-tiny bit of assistance.

It looks like giving in to the fact that I am human after all.

In the end, it looks very much like actually trusting God.

The Only Thing That Counts ...

I wonder if I really understand the challenge Jesus gives when he tells me the most important commandment is to love God and love neighbor.

I often convince myself the call to love is too simple, too shallow, too easy. I make up other goals, other things I believe matter more. And I aim for those things rather than aiming to become more loving.

But to love in the way Jesus tells and shows us to is not only of utmost importance, it is truly the challenge of a lifetime.

And one I must admit I am not very good at yet. I have so much more to learn about what it means to love like Jesus loved.

Dorothy Day, the founder of the Catholic Worker movement says it so clearly:

“If we could only learn that the important thing is love, and that we will be judged on love – to keep on loving, and showing that love, and expressing that love, over and over, whether we feel it or not, seventy times seven, to mothers-in-law, to husbands, to children – and to be oblivious of insult, or hurt, or injury – not to see them, not to hear them.

It is a hard, hard doctrine … We have got to pray, to read the Gospel, to get to frequent communion, and not judge, not do anything but love, love, love. A bitter lesson.”

Paul writes, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (Galatians 5:6)

Peter writes, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)

What might today look like if your sole purpose, your only goal … was to love?