Reflections

Sunsets and Strength

Last Tuesday I was blessed with a beautiful sunset. Now keep in mind, I’m a California girl, so most of the sunsets I’ve seen are of the ocean variety. I never imagined witnessing a sunset so breathtaking in northern Illinois. I was driving to Jam, the junior high group I serve in, with my friend Molly. We took a new route another classmate had told me about. Instead of strip malls and housing developments, we drove past cornfields and trees whose leaves had all the color and warmth of a campfire on the first cold night of fall. The bright orange ball of the sun enhanced the glow of the trees and its light brought the dried-up stalks of corn back to life as they shimmered in what photographers call the “golden hour.” The words, “God is good,” came out of my mouth. Molly replied, “All the time.”

Part of me wishes I had pulled over that night to soak in the wonder and beauty of that sunset and to see God’s goodness. I am almost halfway through the semester and I am beginning to fall behind and feel stressed. I am fighting another battle in my ongoing war with a paralyzing perfectionism and the last couple days, I shut down and pulled back from the world, isolating myself in my room. Last night I finally began to face what’s going on by writing out my thoughts and my frustrations. Right now, I feel weak and helpless. But I’ve realized that’s okay. I’ve forgotten that I’m not supposed to be perfect, not supposed to be strong all the time. It is the Holy Spirit that gives me strength. Once again, I am trying to do God’s job, so is it any wonder that I’m failing?

This summer I began to memorize John 15. I need to let Jesus’ words to his disciples in that passage sink into my spirit because I am trying so hard to bear fruit on my own. I need to stop, let go and just be with my Father. I need to watch the sunset and bask in his goodness. And it is in his light that I find my strength.

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