The first section of the Bible study on Jeremiah with which I’m starting my summer studies is about surrender. Surrender to God, that is. We are to ask God what changes we should make, but also to accept our circumstances and look to God for satisfaction. One of the lessons — and we can see this not only in Jaremiah, but also in the story of Hannah and others — is that we should take our frustrations and doubts to God.
I am very aware that I am extremely lucky, or greatly blessed, depending how you choose to look at it. But I also experience frustrations and doubts. The study reminds us that we don’t get what we deserve in life, and we are not rewarded for being good or punished for being bad… in this life. We should accept the good gifts of God, and we must also accept the tough times. God doesn’t expect us to be unmoved by our good or bad circumstances. He accepts our sad, angry, whiny, bratty prayers along with our joyful praise.
I’ve had a stressful time recently, and I’ve worked 60 hours this week, plus meetings. My new Fitbit (that’s it below) shows me not only that I’ve been skipping my workouts and sleeping less than 7 hours a week. I’ve also been eating the Evil 6 and also skipping meals. I’ve been feeling bratty as an obvious consequence. I should have been praying about this, and noting the changes I need to make: self-care, for example, and a better attitude toward my work, so I can focus on the pleasure rather than the pressure.
But yesterday I went ahead and whined to #1 daughter, who responded with a rant. Then my husband came home and started cleaning the laundry room. He went into a rant about how he has to work 12 hours a day and then come home and work some more. Remembering how my conversation with #1 daughter went, I did not respond with a rant of my own. I joined him in the laundry room cleaning, but with ill grace. I have more of it to do today, and we never did have dinner. My husband cooked himself something at 9:00 but I didn’t join him. His rant to me might have expressed his frustrations, as mine to my daughter did, but I didn’t respond to it any better than she responded to mine. I felt resentful, in fact.
The Jeremiah lesson suggested that we look for confirmation of what we think God wants us to do. I resisted it, because it seemed too much of a mystical, self-deluding behavior. But there is nothing mystical in looking at my experiences yesterday and seeing that — since all of us humans have frustrations, no matter how blessed we may be — expressing our negative feelings toward each other is unlikely to be beneficial. The people we share this with probably can’t do anything about it, and they may feel that we want them to.
If they’re not that close to us, they may simply feel that we’ve shared too much or see us in a less positive light because we’ve let them see our temporary bad moods. We should, the study says, be women who draw others to our God, not women who are pulled away from our God by the passing circumstances or the demands of our culture.
A 40 hour work week might be a demand of our culture, I suppose.
Anyway, I do have work to do today, but I am also finishing up a lace hat and cleaning the closets in the laundry room, doing laundry, and possibly continuing to work on the sewing room. There should also be some lolling around, because I think I need some of that… and I have a bunch of novels to review. A quiet read on the patio with a cold glass of lemonade could do something toward restoring my equilibrium.