Continuation of #mystory, “What are You Hoping For?”…
Sure, make no mistake, it felt good to be home, despite the sawdust and messiness all around me. There is something within me that likes the feeling of home. Kids outside playing. Dog constantly barking. Mail and paperwork overflowing….into my workspace and onto the floor. The pleasantries of home life abounding…right? But regardless of the mess (and it was certainly messy), I love the sense of “Awwww…I am safe. I am loved here. This is where I belong.”
We can build our safety nets around such familiarity. The softness of our mattress. The smell of our cotton sheets. The flavor of our coffee. The neighbors who wave and smile back. I must agree, there is something to belonging. To feeling accepted. To being in the place where everybody knows your name (thanks to Cheers, I think many of us would agree).
However, this homecoming was different. I was on edge. I wanted to see change. Not necessarily change in my surroundings, but rather a change that comes from within. I was tired of merely going through the motions. I was sickened by my own sin. No longer did I want to be a phony Christian with chameleon like skin.
I wanted to be the real deal.
I wanted to be authentic.
I wanted to give God my everything.
But changing isn’t always easy. That’s why we struggle to make changes in our exercise routines, our eating habits and sleep patterns. It is challenging to switch gears and get back on track.
When our oldest daughter was much younger, we had the hardest time convincing her to say, “I’m sorry.” She never wanted to admit any wrongdoing. It would be like pulling teeth to hear her utter the words, “I’m sorry”…let alone mean it. A change of heart means that we’re repentant about our previous behavior, regardless of who knows or doesn’t know about our sin. There is nothing magical in saying the words, “I’m sorry.” Although it is important for us as parents to teach our children to be repentant, we cannot force it to be true.
For example, my husband and I reached dire straights with our daughter to the point where we would do anything to get her to say “I’m sorry.” We would bribe her with candy or special privileges. We gave each other high-fives when she finally, by her own choosing, said the words. But immediately she turned to us and asked, “Now can I have a lollipop?” Our momentary bliss was quickly deflated.
We hadn’t taught her a thing…except how to get what she wanted.
She was the winner of the battle. That little stinker! She had manipulated us by thinking we were in control. There was no remorse on her part for taking a bite out of her bestie’s arm. As parents, we had much more work to do.
The same is true with us. We may tell God we are sorry for our actions; however, if we keep on sinning, are we being sincere? Does our sin really bother us? Does it affect us down to our core?
You can read King David’s repentance prayer in Psalm 51 after his affair with Bathsheba. I find his words intriguing…stirring…compelling…and yes, even convicting.
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!
Do you long for God’s mercy today? Or is it a struggle to fully repent? I sure would love to hear your thoughts on this one.