Leftovers & Judgment
Several years ago, while my littles were all little, I had a moment with God I hope I will never forget. Our children were all away at school and there were activities to cart them to and from after school, homework and instrument practices to facilitate and direct and help with after that. There was dinner to get, family reading and chores to be done and devotionals and bedtimes to meet so that it could all happen again the next day. These were the times of the whirlwind of kid-raising that I thought would go on forever. I now miss those days since the kiddos did, as everyone said they would, grow up too fast.
In the middle of this one day, as silence settled over the house and my time with the Lord was in full swing, my mind began to wander from the ethereal to the mundane. I began to contemplate what I ought to make for dinner. Should I make some elaborate meal that I’d recently found a recipe for, or should I just reheat last night’s leftovers? Silly question to ponder in the midst of time with the Lord, but I know my fellow whirlwind directors will understand. Leftovers sounded like a quick and easy option – and I could use a bit of quick and easy. But leftovers also sounded like a cop-out. The easy road couldn’t possibly be the best road, could it? I began to mentally mourn my tendency to take the easy road with meal prep.
Suddenly I felt the Lord’s gentle voice break into my mental rabbit trail. He asked me with wry humor, “Ami, is this a Judgment Day issue?” Immediately, I saw myself coming before the Lord on the Day of Judgment and Him saying to me, “Ami Loper, you served LEFTOVERS to your family on September 27th, 2002!” The thought was comical. Would God care what I served for dinner? Would God call me to task over this one area that I didn’t exactly excel in? Of course not! What a ludicrous thought.
And yet, my continual judgment of myself regarding the things in my life that were not “Judgment Day issues” unfolded before me as I saw myriad ways I felt shame and frustration with myself for cutting corners that, in the scheme of things, really ought to be cut!
How liberating it was that day to go through my life, sitting at the feet of Jesus and allowing Him to let me see my life through His eyes. What grace I began to have for myself – grace that the Lord had for me that I had never had for myself. What freedom I found in allowing myself to have areas that weren’t perfect. And it was fine! I could live with them! I could stop punishing myself for all these things that really would have no value or repercussions in eternity. Finally, how much energy could I now put toward things that genuinely mattered?
My Friend, I hope you have found a place where you can be gracious with yourself, taking only the yoke that the Lord gives, not the heavy yoke of society, culture, social media, family and friends. Take upon yourself only what the Lord has for you. That’s where you find that He is actually yoked to you, pulling with you, helping you do the things He has called you to do. That’s where the burden is easy and light.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30