We can certainly identify with the prophet Jeremiah who wrote this Scripture during the exile period, a time of deep hurt. No matter our present difficulties, God’s word reminds and encourages us to hold on to this love and recognize mercy will carry us through each personal circumstance. Whatever hardships and suffering I may be experiencing, keeping God’s love and purpose in the forefront of my heart, helps me to remain peaceful.
In our caretaking experiences, often we think too much about what we did in a negative sense or what we didn’t do, could have done or wish we tried. I have learned that ‘looking back’ that falls into an ‘if only’ category can sometimes be abusive to myself and others. It is vital to consciously direct kindness toward ourselves. Letting God’s mercy cover both our failures and successes, helps us look back on our lives with compassion and care for ourselves with tenderness. Sadly, I sometimes do the opposite and am hard on myself. How often do you choose mercy for yourself? God’s plan is beyond our understanding and gratefully, He waits compassionately, loving us regardless of what we have done or not done.
Granting ourselves the gift of mercy makes all the difference in life. While it doesn’t change the circumstances, it lifts our perception. God looks at each of our lives with patience and mercy. He sees everything – the ways we messed up and the sprouts of goodness. If we go to Him, He always forgives us, pouring out mercy in torrents. Yes, there are times I am controlling and obsessive in my caretaking and take over my loved one’s responsibilities. I pray for the balance and rely on God’s love and mercy for me to be gentle with myself also.
Mercy is about giving people what they need and because we are recipients of God’s mercy, we are called to show that same kind of mercy to others. I have discovered as I forgive myself for being imperfect, I can do it for others. When I hold onto unforgiveness of myself, I usually pass on sadness, judgment and more. Letting God’s mercy cover all my imperfections, I trust God can work all for good. I praise God with the words of Psalm 28:7, “The Lord is my strength and my shield, in whom my heart trusted and found help. So my heart rejoices; with my song I praise God.”
Treating myself better might take a lifetime and I am grateful for God’s patience, particularly when I do not love myself and the reminder that I am loved as I am. When things don’t go as I hoped and disappointment, guilt and stress intrude, my quiet reflection often leads to the awareness that my expectations are usually out of line. This can mean I am not giving myself mercy and ‘expecting’ myself to be more than human. Can anyone identify that your expectations can be out of line and that mercy is the answer?