I recently read an article by a Psychiatrist about the benefits of recharging by accepting compassion from others. And while this secular author makes clear his not necessarily believing as we believe — he touches on describing the power of prayer and how he understands “why it works”. He first poses the question, “If you could encounter the most compassionate person in the world, what qualities would they have?“ And even though I do not walk the road of agreement in his explaining “Sometimes it helps to dialogue literally with these images, understanding that they are imaginary . Maybe you will recognize that this is what happens in religions, such as with prayer. And indeed, many people draw comfort and strength from these imaginary conversationswith gods. In CFT approach though, we are not giving these practices any spirtual meaning , but simply offering them as ways to stimulate our minds.“ I can’t help but appreciate that even a secular psychiatrist can recognize this need to recharge — even if my faith has led me to what I know is a genuine source of fresh waters and not just mental gymnastics of “stimulating my own mind”. Read his full article here: https://wp.me/paWTW2-2xC
We wait [expectantly] for the Lord ; He is our help and our shield. For in Him our heart rejoices, Because we trust [lean on, rely on, and are confident] in His holy name. Let Your [steadfast] lovingkindness, O Lord , be upon us, In proportion as we have hoped in You.
Psalms 33:20-22 AMP
Our morning family devotional was about recharging, about resting in the LORD. And we talked about what kinds of things make us aware of our own need to recharge. And my daughter very quickly and very easily pointed out two things that were examples where Mandee and I had recently been frustrated and “needed to recharge”. Instead of our reaction sending us into a self-preservation mode of defending our own actions — we both accepted it as true, confessed it, committed to repentance in those areas, and accepted forgiveness. In our weaknesses being brought into the light by our daughter during devotion, we were able to demonstrate resting in the LORD in order to recharge.
Our best way to teach resting in the LORD isn’t to just talk about it, preach it, journal it or publish it — it is to LIVE IT! And especially with those who live closest to us and know us best, they can see our many faults — even better than we might recognize in ourselves. Imagine the hypocrisy in reading and teaching such a lesson to my daughter about frustration and anxiety, etc and our need to recharge — if my perspective was “I’ve got this nailed, daughter, let me tell you what you should do” — while fresh in her mind was my frustration last night with AT&T DirecTV support not helping us (and seemingly just trying their best every step of the way to get us to buy more and pay more).
Yes, there are many things that I get wrong daily — there are many thoughts, words, actions and inactions that I can see afterwards missed the mark of the perfect way to handle the situation. But the point isn’t to ignore them and keep repeating the pattern. And the point isn’t to dwell on them to the point of anxiousness about my imperfection in a striving to be perfect. Neither of those roads are healthy or profitable for us. These circumstances, like a blinking low fuel light, can be a reminder that we need to rest in the LORD.
And we discussed how resting in the LORD isn’t just sleeping, or being idle,or going through the motions of a prayer/devotion/praise, but it is a genuine slowing down to hand over such things to the LORD in a transaction of our humbly bold confession for God’s all sufficient mercy and grace. And when we are making these transactions more regularly, and not driving our batteries to complete exhaustion — when we are maintaining that grateful attitude of peace in the storm because we know we are resting in the LORD and that He is walking with us — we operate properly and aren’t so easily frustrated or anxious or offended.
Frustration, anxiety, and offense are the product of our own expectations demanding something that isn’t so in the moment. If we are frustrated, it is because we think that it should have been X even though it was Y. If we are anxious, it is because we want it to be X but know that it could be Y. If we are offended, it is because we expect someone to be like X when they are like Y. If X is our will and Y is reality, how foolish and self-centered is it for us to demand that Y bow to X, that the universe bow to my demands, that the will of others submit to my will, that God do it my way?
So yes, resting in God isn’t giving Him a list of “do it my way” words wrapped in a rub of religious words and traditions — it is dying to self, confessing our weaknesses, and trusting and relying upon Him.