Have you ever read something—an insignificant line in a book or a verse you’ve read a million times before—that, for some reason, just took up residence in your mind and refused to leave? That happened to me recently.
Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been working my way through She Reads Truth’s study of Acts. Side note: If you’re unfamiliar with She Reads Truth, you should get to know them. They create beautiful, scripture-based studies that are tailor-made for women. Anyway, I was reading through the third chapter of Acts one morning when one, unassuming verse—a verse that I’ve skipped over in the past—made me pause, and it’s been on my mind ever since:
“Therefore repent and turn back, so that your sins may be wiped out, that seasons of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” –Acts 3:19
I just love the phrase “seasons of refreshing.” I want that, don’t you?
Here’s the thing: I know that, like this verse mentions, my mind and soul can be refreshed only when I come humbly to the cross and leave all of my mess and junk and clutter at the feet of Jesus. In order to enter into a time of being refueled and rejuvenated by the Holy Spirit, I need to let go of sinful distractions so that I’m able to enter into the “presence of the Lord.”
The problem? I am not always a let it go kind of girl. And even when I am bold enough to lay down my worries, fears, pride, and shame, I so often return to pick them right back up again. As a result, my seasons of refreshing are short-lived, interrupted by my own selfishness and unbelief.
Thankfully, Jesus loves me anyway. He’s constantly and patiently calling me back to Him, reminding me to let go and be refreshed, to lay something down so that I can pick up something far, far greater. Because when my fists are clenched around my own sin and insecurity, I don’t have the capacity to grasp onto the arms full of grace and love and freedom that Jesus is so ready to give.
In meditating and praying about this verse and these thoughts, the Lord has been teaching me that my desire to hold onto things that are keeping me from Him isn’t just impacting me. It’s also coloring how I see and interact with those around me. Because the thing I’m holding onto—be it grace or shame—is the very thing I’m able to give out to others. I want to give grace, so I need to first grab hold of it. I want to refresh and inspire others, but I can only do that if I’m resting in the presence of the One who created me, and allowing Him to refresh me first.
So often, when the Holy Spirit nudges me to lay something down, my first response is to grow defensive and tighten my grip. It feels unnatural for me to relinquish control and simply let go. So, I’m practicing. I’m practicing the act of coming to the Lord with unclenched fists and allowing Him to take and give as He sees fit. It still feels a bit foreign and uncomfortable at times. But when I’m tempted to hold onto selfishness, or pick up that worry that I laid down last week, I remind myself of the alternative: seasons of refreshing in the very presence of the Lord. And you know what? That option wins every single time.
Until next time,