Wednesday, 13 November 2013

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Reflection: Eating The Bread of Anxious Toil

Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
 It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.
 
Psalm 127:1-2

I am enjoying my part-time very much, in that I have more time I have with J, not having to rush... etc. However, at times there is a part of me that feels nervous. I could not quite pin point down to why I am feeling this way.

But our God is a loving God, and God's grace brought me to this reading and Psalms 127:1-2 and I began to understand that I am eating "the bread of anxious toil." God does not meant for us to eat the bread of anxious toil.

At  work, I am eating "the bread of anxious toil", worrying about what my colleagues think about me, whether I am meeting up to expectations, whether I am fast enough in replying to emails and attending to requests, now that I am on part-time. But I can't do it all. Yet, I should just do my best as to the Lord, and not worry about others' expectations.

At home, I am also eating "the bread of anxious toil." I worry about whether I have responded wisely in handling J. When we relax and do nothing, I worry about not putting in more efforts into developing J's self-discipline. When we work on workbooks, writing, piano, I worry about not providing sufficient fun free time for J, or killing his joy for learning.

God wants us to cast all our anxiety on Him and God spoke right into my heart with the reading I quote below:

"When we grow up we must all work for our bread. And we can either work nervously, worrying about what men will think of us—and so eat the bread of anxious toil. Or we can work with serenity in our hearts, as serving Christ and not men—and so eat the bread of peace. God's will for his children, indeed the sign of whether we are children or not, is that we not eat the bread of anxious toil."

"God does not lay down specific rules for how early we rise for work and how late we knock off at night. But he does lay down this principle for his beloved: Don't rise early and go late to rest out of anxiety, out of fear and fretfulness. If the joy of fruitful labor lures you to work 12 hours a day, so be it. But take heed lest you are really deceiving yourself, and in fact are being driven by anxiety, or by her twin sister, selfish-ambition. Christians will work hard, but they will work more for the joy of all the good their work can bring to others than they will out of fear at what men will think if they fail."

I need to learn to rest in His rested assurance that everything will turn out well, because "God can perform more good for those who trust him while they sleep than they can perform with anxious labor for themselves while awake."

"...yet the sovereign God can and will bring out of nowhere, as it were, a turn of events or attitudes that brings great blessing. And he can do it while we sleep!"

I need to "hand over my anxieties to God and lay my head down in peace" and sleep soundly.

Dear God,

Thank you for your grace and compassion for our welfare, that You do not intend for us to eat the bread of anxious toil. I pray for myself and all moms out there, as we work at home that we will always honor you, seek you first, and cast our cares on You, so that we do not have to eat the bread of anxious toil. In Jesus' most victorious name, I pray, Amen.

Reference:
http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/dont-eat-the-bread-of-anxious-toil
http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/anxieties-to-be-cast-not-carried

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