Thursday, October 4, 2018

Observations From Esther ~ 4

Chapter 3 of Esther ends with Xeres and Haman sitting down for a drink while everyone else has been thrown into a state of confusion. We pick up in Esther Chapter 4. 

I will grant you that I am not up on Old Testament fashion, but the notion that Mordecai learns about what has been decreed and tears his clothes to put on sackcloth and ashes amazes me. Why? Because when I am emotional, it's as if all the physical strength to fight has left my body. The fact that he was able to tear his clothes says something about both his strength and determination.

Now, the Jews in all the provinces are fasting, weeping, and lamenting. This makes sense to me. They are upset and can't eat, they are crying because they are upset, and they are taking all of it straight to God. And while God remains silent in this book, He doesn't make an exception, in this case, to say stop your whining, dry your tears, or get over it. They get to feel all the feels. As a master suppresser, I could learn a lot from their response to the devastating news.

As one might expect, Esther finds out Mordecai is in sackcloth and ashes, learns why, and is told by her cousin that she is the only one that can help. Oh, and the only way, see the king, uninvited, and explain the situation. For the girl replacing the queen who refused to come when called, the thought of going when not called had to be equally disturbing, knowing full well the consequences if it did not go well.  And Mordecai, not to be dissuaded by her logical and reasonable concern, delivers one of the most incredible lines: perhaps you have come to your royal position for such a time as this.

If I were Esther that would cause me to pause. To see all of the events of my life played chronologically in my mind, seeing how I got to where I am, would be surreal. To see it all as an addition statement, coming up with only one logical answer, would be frightening.

And so Esther agrees to do as Mordecai suggests resolute that if she perishes, she perishes.

What fascinates me the most about her response is that she's okay with it. It's almost as if she understands that all she can do is really all she can do and that's enough.

In a world of striving, hustling, and multitasking at unhealthy levels for our hearts and souls, are we capable of taking a step back and really honestly determining what is enough? Without guilt, without shame, and without condemning ourselves. My personal experience says no. I always think I can do one more thing or that I should be doing ten more things. Enough is never enough. It's always just shy.

With the weekend coming, I want to issue a challenge after the reflection questions. It won't be easy, it will likely be uncomfortable. But I want to give it today to give us time to think about and make the best possible decisions. I have a feeling if we can take this baby step successfully, we might be able to make more changes that stop us from trying to be more than enough.

Reflection Questions

1.  How often do we honestly go before God with all of our emotions? How often do we sugarcoat or downplay them as if what we are feeling is not valid?

2. Are we willing to entertain the possibility that if our emotions are unsettled that it just might be God trying to point out an area of our heart, mind, or soul that is desperate for His healing touch if we would just come to Him about it?

3.  In what areas of our lives do we honestly believe our best is not good enough and therefore continually push ourselves over the edge?

Weekend Challenge

Looking at your calendar, planner, or to do list, how much of what you have scheduled for Friday evening, any time on Saturday, or any time on Sunday is life-giving?

Of the things that are not life-giving, what can you eliminate?

Note, I am not talking about things that are life-giving only to us. There are things we do that are life-giving to others and their joy, in turn, ends up being life-giving to us. I am also not talking about forgoing cleaning the bathroom floor. If it makes you a little bit cray-cray like it does me when the bathroom needs doing, it's almost impossible to be life-giving to anyone else when your biggest trigger is staring at you everytime you need to go.

What I do mean is this ~ where can we substitute something that is fun in place of something that is tedious? Because we know that what was is tedious will likely spark our mind to something else and that something else will land us someplace else, and the whole vicious cycle will end with us tearing everything apart and out of control over all the things we have to do and never have the time to do. Might have had that happen once or twice.

And, for those of us that feel we really can not afford to take anything off the list, can we honestly just stick to it and NOT add anything else?

No comments: