Yesterday was a bad day.
The boys were crazy. Mondays are the day we go out and shop for what we need. And with the Holiday break still being in, all 4 boys were with us.
They were running on less sleep because of the holidays. And I was struggling with internal agitation.
And their energy depleted mine. And finally, on the way home, I snapped.
Thankfully it was in the car, as I was driving. That tempered how it all could go down. But it was not a shining moment.
The day had started well. Joyful. Peaceful. Pretty good.
But man, it didn’t last. Why is it that when I’m agitated on the inside, the boys do the most agitating things? They don’t respond to any type of correction. And then boom…I lose it.
Then through all of that, I set out a challenge for them to clean up all their mess (and they had created a lot of mess!) and they’ll get a reward if they finish by a certain time. And they met it without me having to say another thing. They worked together to accomplish the task. They even helped each other get their chores done (something I hadn’t even asked). And I wondered how that even happened…because on good days, clean up doesn’t go this good!
It all left me last night wondering if I can do this. All of it. Parenting. Leading. Pastoring. Husbanding. It was one of those “just give up the fight” moments.
But God. His mercies are new every morning, right? That means we can blow it. That means we will still wonder, “What was I thinking?”
Have you ever wondered why Jesus included “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” in the Disciples’ Prayer? Yes, we normally call this the Lord’s Prayer, but really it is the Lord teaching the disciples how to pray. Oh, and Jesus isn’t talking about financial debts. He’s talking about the debt of sin.
If we are already following Jesus, our sin is cleansed, right? So why continuously pray this?
Because he knows that we will need it daily. We will need continued repentance for our own sanity. We will need to pray this to remind us where grace comes from.
And he also taught us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” He tells us to pray for forgiveness & cleansing, but to not stop there. We must pray that God strengthens us to stand against the temptation in the first place. He wants us to no longer deal with what we deal with.
We’ll never achieve perfection. This is why he taught us to pray this. But he also wants us to grow. Yeah, we’ll take steps backward, but we use those steps backward to continue to step forward with Jesus.
Our culture demands perfection and so that leads us to think that God demands perfection too. He doesn’t. That was Jesus’ job. God demands faith. Faith that his mercies are new every morning. Faith that he will forgive. Faith that he will strengthen.
Nobody is perfect. But everyone can have faith.
When we knock ourselves down, have faith, and let God clean us and strengthen us to keep going.