Five Minute Friday | Red

There they are: the red words on my messenger that say “Hannah is busy. You may be interrupting.” But we chat and laugh anyway, because for awhile, distractions cease to exist. I’ve come to love that about Thursday evenings. Bare feet, snuggled underneath the covers with tea and my laptop, I get to shut out the world and focus on two great loves of my life: words, and friends to share them with.

But I realize that I’m busy, too. Perhaps not always in action, but the state of my heart is often hectic, and my thoughts smear together into a blur that I can rarely decipher. I hold white knuckled to all my best laid plans, and surrender isn’t a word that really breaches my consciousness too often. I wonder, when was the last time I let grace interrupt me?

I remember sharing with a friend about my anxiety after a Bible study, and how he told me that perseverance means being willing to cooperate and remain under pressure. I pored over his words, wondering how that kind of submission would ever really come to fruition in my life. And I came across a verse, so common to me from my many years in the church. Perhaps its true, that when we hear something over and over, it loses its meaning. But this time, it was water to a dry and dusty heart. “Be still, and know that I am God,” or as a favorite translation of mine puts it, “cease striving.”

The Father’s mercy, reminding His daughter, even now. And knowledge always trapped in my head begins a pilgrimage towards my heart. Certainly I’m not there yet. There are still so many nights that I climb into bed, feeling physical pain from the weight of whatever has happened during the day. Sometimes, I don’t even recognize the stress at the time. But I’m promised that He is greater than anything I face.

I believe, but help my unbelief. Has there ever been a more honest prayer? There are parts of myself that I don’t really want to hand over, but they only drown with me when I take my eyes away from the one who came to redefine this life. I still do not really understand what it means to truly be, and let that be enough. Surely, I must have to live up to some obscene level of expectation. And every other graceless standard leaves me entirely alone and full of self loathing.

I’ve written a lot in the past year or so on freedom and the cessation of striving. Can I really be sustained on what I do not know? What love the Father must have, to allow me to trade my brokenness for daily bread, to lay myself aside and see each moment for what it truly is – an opportunity to react fully and well to the truth of who he is every day. That is grace that arrests the heart. He is still the God who makes a way where there is none. He is not asleep at the wheel. The refuge of his presence  is never hidden from me.

Part of this post was originally published in August of last year, in an entry called “Namesake.

  • I love this, friend. grateful for you tonight, and always.

    • Erin Salmon

      Thankful for you, too. And for your chat status!

  • Hi Erin, How fun to meet you, as neighbors for 5-Min. Friday! I love how the red-lettered words of your dear friend got you rolling on this post. . . And I’m with you, so grateful for this Father of ours who never tires of pursuing us, letting come as we are, waiting, ever patiently, for us to cease striving, surrender a bit more. Have a wonderful weekend!

    • Erin Salmon

      One of the best parts about FMF is that you always get to rub elbows with someone new! I loved getting to visit your space and read your testimony this morning. Thankful for your grace and courage.

  • Grace that arrests the heart. Love that phrase a bunch. Thanks for this Erin!

    • Erin Salmon

      Thank you, Dana! Blessings to you.

  • “Be still, and know that I am God,” probably one of my favorite verses for the reasons you just described. It’s so easy to be anxious, but when I consciously stop, be still, look to God, He gives me exactly what I need. That’s hard to do sometimes when life is busy. And like you, I sometimes carry pain I don’t even realize I’m carrying. Beautiful write, Erin. Very encouraging!

    • Erin Salmon

      You continue to encourage me, Jacqui. Thank you. I’m so glad that I became part of FMF, if for no other reason than getting the opportunity to know you!

  • Visiting from FMF. Really enjoyed your post. This….”And every other graceless standard leaves me entirely alone and full of self loathing”, is profound. Well, very well put. I wonder how much time I spent in this state. I’m so thankful for freedom, and now, staying mindful of His amazing grace, is a daily necessity. Thanks for your thought provoking words.

    • Erin Salmon

      Thank you, Lisa. That’s very sweet of you to say.