Embracing a Time of Repentance, Rest, Quietness and Trust by Kim Shimer
We are more than halfway through the forty days of Lent, a time of growing closer to God through prayer, meditation and reflection. If your faith discipline doesn't celebrate this pre-Easter Christian season, I encourage you to refer to MaryJane Pierce Norton's brief introduction in her 2014 Family Study for Lent.
Personally, when I consider what I must do to bring myself closer to God during this season, I hesitate. A time for quiet introspection is challenging for someone who bases her self worth on how much she crosses off her to do list—someone who must fill every minute of every day with something “productive.” While my heart knows how it important it is (and my church pastor continually reminds me), the idea of stopping to rest and find time for my relationship with Christ actually overwhelms me more than the work I'm doing. I tell myself, “If I stop working, I'll be that much further behind,” and I overestimate my own importance as I wonder, “If I stop, who will pick up the slack?”
If I'm being honest, I probably find comfort in the busyness because it keeps me from being alone with myself. I think many of us are afraid to be alone in our heads and hearts because we know what exists there. We confess in litanies of penitence the sin in our words and deeds, the things we've done and left undone. How we've failed to love Him with our whole heart, mind and strength. Our shortcomings in loving our neighbors as ourselves and in forgiving others as we have been forgiven. Our self-indulgent appetites, our pride and our impatience. And, possibly my greatest sin, our negligence in prayer and worship, and our failure to commend the faith that is in us. The list of that for which we repent is uncomfortably long.
As challenging as it may be, the reminder of Lent is exactly what we need. If we put away those things that hinder our relationship with Him, and embrace this time of repentance, rest, quietness and trust, we can more fully recognize the depth of Christ’s sacrifice. In turn, we are called to consider our own mortality and to celebrate His victory over sin and death on Easter, which promises us life eternal.
Of all the scripture associated with this season, one that personally fills me with hope is Isaiah 30:15 (Common English Bible):
“In return and rest you will be saved; quietness and trust will be your strength.”
This verse calls on me to quiet my busy mind, find comfort and rest in Him, and trust the Lord as my savior.
Are there ways in which you've been able to meditate your way into a closer relationship with God?
During the season of Lent, are there specific scripture verses that most speak to you?
Kim Shimer is Director of Communications for Villanova University College of Engineering in Villanova, Pa. She also is the new social media coordinator for Abingdon Women. Kim and her husband Rob MacPherson are active members of Media Presbyterian Church where they are both ordained elders and Kim is a member of the youth committee and the choir. In their spare time (she says jokingly), Kim and Rob are the proud parents of two teenagers, Abby (13) and Ian (16).