Day 10 - It's all about HIM

It's 8:30am this morning as I watch the light begin to slowly spill in through our living room windows. Laundry is going, coffee is brewed, the air outside is cool, and my husband is home. I couldn't ask for a more peaceful morning. There is a different kind of peace in my heart when my husband is home. So here I am, sitting in the quietness of our house this morning, reflecting on these past 10 days.

This has been an incredible journey for me. Honestly, I have been surprised at the sin God has revealed in my heart as I didn't think there would be 10 days worth of it. (I know how prideful that sounds, but I often have a better view of myself than I should.) The tendency I found in myself as these days came to a close was thinking about how much "better" of a Christian I would be afterwards. Now that all this junk is out of my heart, I can really walk with God well!

If I have begun to think repentance is about self-improvement, I have missed it. It's not even about just getting rid of sin; repentance is about returning to God. The sin keeps us from Him, thus it is necessary to remove, but not just to that end. Just removing sin is not enough. It is a turning away from that sin, and turning toward God.

Just for fun I looked up the hebrew word for repentance to see what I could learn. It is the word "shub," and it is translated a myriad of different ways in our English Bibles. But the most common way it is translated is "return" or "returned." It is only translated as repent or repentance a few times. How beautiful is that? Repentance, at its very essence, is a returning. How beautiful! A returning to God.

That is what this week is about. It's about HIM, not about me. (I should have remembered that from day 1!) If I have made this week a "Kelly Self-Improvement" week then I have completely missed the whole point. The point is not about improving me. It's about God. Period.

I repent of turning the act of repentance into self-focused self-improvement when it is actually about returning to You, God.

As I have been turning away from sin this week, I began to forget where I was turning toward. Something in me desperately wants to have it all together, to be that "better" Christian, to not make any mistakes. At times, I don't even realize when this attitude creeps in. What a loss to forget true meaning of repentance. For there is nothing in this world more enjoyable, more fulfilling, and more life-giving than knowing and being in fellowship with God. To be captivated by Him is greater than any joy offered by this world.

I cannot forget that this is the purpose of repentance, to return to Him. All these days of repentance and turning from my sin, are not the end themselves; they are a means to an end. My sin blocks my ability to enjoy God and keeps my focus on myself, thus making it necessary to get rid of it. But I cannot stop there. Once I am rid of my sin, it is then that I am freed to return to God with my full attention. This is the whole point! He is the whole point! I am returning to the Lord! I must always remember what I am coming back to.

For nothing, absolutely nothing, compares to the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord! (Phil 3:7-9) For He is the Lord and I will forget none of His benefits. He pardons all my sin, He heals all my diseases, He redeems my life from the pit and crowns me with lovingkindness and compassion, He satisfies my years with good things so that my youth is renewed like the eagle. The Lord performs righteous deeds and judgments for all who are oppressed. He is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. He has not dealt with me according to my sins, nor rewarded me according to my iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward me. As far as the east is from the west, so far as He removed my transgressions from me. Just a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on me. (Psalm 103)

My mind cannot comprehend the wonders of His character and the beauty of His ways. He is my reward, my joy, my sufficiency, my great, all-encompassing purpose and obsession and life-goal. I am returning to HIM! I cannot think of a more beautiful progression of these 10 days:

I began this cleaning of my heart with it not being about me. Then every day in between pulled my attention off of myself in more specific ways. And now finally, my sight is removed enough from myself that I have my full attention to give to God. And what a joy it is to fully focus on Him!

How surprising it is that these things even crept into my heart over time. It has convinced me of my need for a set apart time of prayer and repentance at least once a year. And although I don't plan on doing this every time Jimmy leaves, I will strive to have the same mindset when he's gone: learning to thrive in my circumstances instead of fighting them. I hope that those of you who took this journey with me have had the same beautiful experience and the same joy of returning to God! Thank you all for your prayers for me during this time and your encouraging messages and comments. I am excited to continue sharing with you and blogging this journey I am on as God continues to teach me and grow me through the ups and downs of my life.