In Repentance & Rest

Frantic: in a word, a characterization of my typical approach to life.  Perhaps resulting from a collision between wayward strands of my worry-prone DNA and the obsessive busyness that is rampant in American culture, I spend far too many moments in a state that ranges from a mild but pervasive anxiety to a circumstantially-induced panic.
I do well at pretending this is not so, I think.  All it takes is a quiet manner, an easy smile. Behind this façade, however, I am all turmoil.
I know this is not the life God has called me to.  Rather,
This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength[.] (Isaiah 30:15a).

Repentance. Rest. Quietness. Trust.

I wish I could tell you I take heed of His words.  I wish it would be honest to say I am consistently obedient to sit at the feet of Jesus and trust Him with every facet of my life, whether of infinite importance or infinitesimal.  I wish I came with a lamb’s meekness to kneel beside still waters.  Instead, all too often, the reprimand that follows the above passage of scripture more accurately describes my response:

But you would have none of it.

You said, “No, we will flee on horses.”

Therefore you will flee!

You said, “We will ride off on swift horses.”

Therefore your pursuers will be swift! (Isaiah 30:15b-16).

I am fleeing on horseback at a hundred miles an hour; hurdling desperately away from the ghosts of my guilty past or the terrors of my uncertain future; running headlong from the darkness that still shadows my own heart, those sins I hate, yet still cling to.

But no matter how quickly I spur the animal beneath me, no matter the distance I traverse, I cannot escape.  Because the truth is, I have never been strong enough to save myself.  And nothing I approach for rescue satisfies either—at least, not for long.  Not the television screen.  Not my own “good” deeds. Not my strivings to please everyone around me and thus earn their approval.

And it occurs to me, in a rare moment of stillness, that maybe all this running—this frantic doing, this chaotic scrambling—is actually stealing me away from what I really need—from the One I have always needed above all else.

How do I return to Him who calls, my God who longs to be gracious to me (v.18a)?

Repentance. Rest. Quietness. Trust.

Therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!
People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you[.] (Isaiah 18b-19).
I am so weary of running.  Dear Shepherd, lead me home.

Meet Alyssa Sheedy

Alyssa Sheedy has a BA in English and supplements her passion for writing with a day-job at a college admissions office. She lives in a cozy apartment in Tacoma with her husband, Danny, and their cat, Sophie. Lover of indie folk music, quiet trails, and the God who is at the heart of all that makes her stand in wonder.
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