Romans 12:1 – 2 is written out on one of the prayer/vision cards I’m using to guide my meditation this year. I memorized it 30-some years ago on a summer mission trip and, what can I say? It stuck with me and still rings true. But I’m amazed, really, at how I can have known something like this for so long, and still discover new facets to think on and practice. Which brings me to today.
Last night I cheerfully shared this on social media before heading off to bed:
It’s one of those concepts I love in theory but, God knows, I struggle to practice. Kind of like those verses from dear old Paul. I woke up from a fitful night’s sleep and struggled into my workout clothes to do Tai Chi with Phil. Afterwards, I crawled right back in bed, yoga pants and all. Life did not happen the way I had planned for today, and I felt like quitting. (Or at least pouting.)
When I woke up a couple hours later I lay there for awhile skimming my social media accounts, because we all know how therapeutic *that* is! And then I moved on to my prayer cards, which eventually brought me face to face with these verses from Romans and a few fresh thoughts. Perhaps you can relate to one or more of the questions that came to me as I lay there, so frustrated with the reality of my weakness.
What if “present your body as a living sacrifice” includes resting when I need to?
What if resisting the urge to conform to the world’s definition of productivity includes acknowledging that sometimes taking care of myself is the most important thing I can do for the Kingdom today?
What if the detox/wellness days are part of the testing intended to renew and transform my mind so that I see things more clearly through God’s lens rather than my own?
What if it’s in the quiet resting places that I’m able to best discern what God thinks is good, acceptable, and perfect?
What if God knows I’ll never learn to cultivate a quiet life without these days that feel so much like unwelcome interruptions?
And, what if my resistance to this whole way of thinking shines the spotlight smack dab on a place where I need to repent? Like maybe it’s a mirror revealing a place in my heart still so quick to want to control?
Perhaps this angst I feel when my energy doesn’t line up with my “to do” list is part of what God wants to prune away so I can see Him more clearly and better understand His love? Love based on my position in Christ rather than my performance.
Paul says responding to God’s mercies by yielding and presenting my body to Him is an act of worship. A reasonable, rational service at that. An offering I can choose to make from anywhere. Energy or no energy.
Maybe days like today show me just how badly I want to do this … only on *my* terms rather than His.
And maybe that’s what I need to recognize most today, this mercy in disguise. That, and this: sometimes you need to rest. Just because. And that’s okay.
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship (your rational service). Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2
Laura Story captures this tension so beautifully in this song: