It’s the small things – reading a book by the fire or pulling over on the drive home to look at the stars over the mountains – that authenticate the need for the time and space to release.
I don’t want “some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules” (Phil. 3:9 MSG). I long for my soul to release: Release its grip on schedules, from control over the day, from following the rules for the sake of the rules themselves.
During John’s and my trip to the mountains in January, I was reminded of this release. The only noise was the crackle of the fire and turning of book pages. The stars were the only lights. This time and space to release and unwind became the perfect backdrop to our annual “marriage retreat” where we get away for a long weekend and review our year.
This time, we listed out all of our commitments from 2014. In the spirit of abiding, we assessed where God was calling us to be involved this year and where we were meant to step away. We asked each other some of the difficult questions of how we were spending our time and whether that fit into our overall purpose. The incredible paradox was that even though 2014 felt helter-skelter, we saw God’s faithfulness. Relationships with friends, neighbors, and family deepened. God orchestrated amazing things in our lives and those around us. All of these blessings confirmed that they are nothing we could have drummed up on our own. The time and space to reflect allowed us to see them as they were: pure grace.
If in all of our striving and busyness, God still shows up as faithful, how much more will I see Him at work if I release it all to Him?
“The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness.” (Phil. 3:7-9 MSG)
When we release all those things that we want to control, all of those credentials that feed our identity, we can then allow ourselves to be embraced.
Wherever you are, find the space and a fragment of time to let go today – to release your worry and cares to Him. And then, be embraced.