Relishing in His Goodness and Beauty

I feel like I'm having an "epiphany" of sorts.  Some of my ways of thinking are being shaped, squished and reformed all at once by various sources.  However, as I step back and reflect on it all, I see the fingerprints of God all over this reshaping.

I don't know if you've ever experienced something like this, but I feel like half of myself is stepping away and evaluating my other half.  I am watching "how I've lived" in my thought life and I'm asking if this has been the right way or if perhaps there is a better way.  The "how I've lived" has been shaped by a quiet fear of the unknown, fear of everything suddenly crashing down and as a result even in the moments of great joy, I find myself holding back a little back because I somehow think that if I get too excited it might all fall apart.  So my thought process is, "If I don't get too high in my enjoyment, then when I fall it won't hurt so much." As I step back from these thoughts and evaluate them, I realize that I am allowing the unknown, the fear of the future steal my present joy.

In my edge of the world, spring has managed to sneak through on a few days and on one absolutely gorgeous day, I was on a run when I was struck by the beauty that surrounded me - the green grass, the beautiful blue sky, the singing birds, the cool breeze and the frogs croaking in the pond.  It was one of those moments of complete joy, where at the same time I found myself hesitating from entering in and then I questioned myself, "If the ratio of God's goodness and beauty far exceeds the moments of evil and sadness, why do I find myself more occupied with the thoughts and fears of evil than resting in the beauty of God's grace, goodness and beauty that constantly surrounds?"

The day after I asked myself this question, I was bombarded (in a good way) by Scripture and I was overwhelmed as I saw the invitation of God to live not in a place of constantly being prepared for the bottom to drop out, but rather being able to relish in His goodness:

from Psalm 139:
You encompass me behind and before
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
so high I cannot attain it.

from Psalm 146:
The Lord looses those that are bound;
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind; the Lord lifts up
those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous...
the Lord shall reign forever.

from Isaiah 61:
To give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit, that
they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord,
that he may be glorified.

from Proverbs 4:
I have taught you the way of wisdom;
I have led you in the paths of uprightness.
When you walk, your step will not be hampered;
and if you run, you will not stumble.  Keep hold of instruction;
do not let go; guard her for she is your life...
the path of the righteous is like the light of the dawn, which shines
brighter and brighter until full day.

from Luke 1:
This was the oath God swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hands of our enemies, free to worship without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our lives.

from Exodus 15:
In your unfailing love, O Lord, 
you lead the people whom you have redeemed. And by
your invincible strength you will guide
them to your holy dwelling.
You will bring them in and plant them, O Lord,
in the sanctuary which your hands have established.

from 1 Peter 2:
For you were going astray like sheep, but
now you have returned to the shepherd and guardian of your souls.

These Scriptures overwhelmed me with the grace of God and His promises to lead and guide His people.  I realized that I am unable to contain the glory of God in my small meager self - it far, far exceeds any capacity that I have.  Yet that inability does not disqualify me from being able to drink it in and relish in His goodness.

During Lent, my pastor gave each person a seed to remind us about who we are in Christ.  As I've held that seed in my hand and reflected on it, I've continued to feel more layers fall off of "trying to be" something for God; that burden is too heavy.  However, the ability to solely respond to the glory of God and to soak it in as a plant soaks in the sun is a beautiful and freeing.  That is what I see, that is what I feel as I read these verses over and over.  Freedom to be, to live in a place of joy held by the shepherd and guardian of my soul.

In Christ,

For more thoughts on this theme check out my other posts:
360 Vision: Not Lacking Anything
Being Changed by Contentment

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