Silencing Alexander and Experiencing His New Mercies

Yesterday I had a bit of a verbal meltdown about my “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.” By the end of my musings, I had begun to be reminded by the Holy Spirit of God’s mercy and grace to transform that day through transforming my mind and my perspective of that day.

So I prayed about it. Not in my legalistic, perfectionistic sort of way, but in a desperate, “Help!” sort of way. And this morning I woke up with the new mercies of a new perspective.

During devotion time with my students this morning, I had “story time”; and I read them my post. WAY vulnerable for this perfectionistic teacher who would love nothing more than for her kids to think I have it all together. Half way through, when they realized I was talking about them laughing at me in my sock monkey hat, they realized I had written the post. And they thought it was AWESOME that I had shared a bad day with them.

Perfectionism has set up for our kids this horrific deception that to be a “good Christian” is to never struggle. Therefore, they reason, if you struggle, if you doubt, if you question, then you’re a bad Christian (or not a Christian at all), so why bother? A defeated Christian is a sad sight, but a defeated young Christian is heart breaking and angers me because I believe, as adults, we can work to help them overcome that deception.

But it takes transparency. It takes sharing our good days and our bad. It takes apologizing specifically for the bad. It takes messy work and time and investment and commitment. And it takes heart change and transformation.

So in the same spirit of yesterday’s post, I wanted to share, like Jeremiah, about the faithfulness of God’s mercy that He pours out fresh upon us each morning. So, here is my Alexander day, 2.0, through the transformed perspective of the prophet Jeremiah and his new mercy.

In the last two days:

I had lunch with a student who I have come to love dearly over the last two and half years. I have watched her struggle with her faith, ask hard questions, take hard stands, stumble, fall, get back up, and keep walking with her Jesus. We got to talk about faith and life and Jesus and how sometimes we just want to sin and how amazing it is that He knows all that and loves us any way. I treasure those talks.

I got to go to our Run For God “big run” last night. Eight weeks ago, a group of us started on a journey together, many struggling to run for one minute at a time. Last night, ten of us ran for 20 minutes straight. I saw people encourage one another, pray for one another, push one another toward the prize of perseverance and accomplishment.

Afterward, I got to watch a woman I once counseled lead a group of women in prayer and discipleship after their own run time. I saw with my own eyes a life completely transformed by the work of the Holy Spirit, a life now ministering alongside me as a friend. Nothing short of miraculous.

Then I went to my parents’ house and got to play with my nephew for a while. God has seen fit that, for this season of my life at least, I can serve him most effectively single. But he has also ensured that my brothers and their amazing wives share their babies with me, pretty much whenever I want to see them. And in the spring, there are going to be twice as many of them to love, and I can’t wait. I don’t think I realized what love really felt like til I held my niece for the first time, and I know I didn’t realize the depth of love I have from my family until I experienced the depth of love I feel for Arwen and Jake. And I can’t even comprehend what it will be like if God ever blesses me with kids of my own. And that has helped me understand just a small fraction of the fierce love God has for me, and it is stunning.

Today I had AMAZING devotion and quiet times with my classes and we meditated on being still and knowing He is God. I have a job in which I get to take the lessons God is teaching me and pass them along to my students. I spend more time with them each day than their parents, and I get to pour my heart into them (for better or for worse) and I get to watch the Holy Spirit literally transform them before my eyes as we open the Word and walk through it together, not shying away from the tough stuff and asking good questions of God together.

Tonight I had dinner with a friend and co-worker, and we spent two hours at Chick-fil-a talking about work and faith and family and relationships and endless other things and I was reminded that I have a job unlike any other. I go to work every day with people who I get to pray with and pray for. We laugh together, cry together, call one another out when needed, hold one another accountable. We use words like family, fiercely loyal, trusted, committed, safe, friend to describe our relationships. I get paid to live in unity and community within the body of Christ, discipling and being discipled. Unbelievable.

God promises that when we seek Him, we will find him. Today I asked Him to show Himself to me, and I was humbled and overwhelmed to see how a simple change in perspective could make so much difference in how I could view the exact same day.

Our minds can be renewed. Our lives can be transformed. His mercies are new every morning to accomplish that feat.

What in the world does the Alexander part of me, fleshly and complaining, possibly have to say in light of that?

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