After finishing my first Goodread for the year (The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton), I found it correlated with my devotional readings this morning. Today’s selection in A Jane Austen Devotional focuses on unhealthy relationships through the conversation between Mr. Knightly and Mrs. Weston about Emma and Harriet’s friendship in Emma. Morton’s novel also delves into the complicated, often disturbing, relationships between her characters. Then I read Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young and It’s a Wonderful Imperfect Life by Joan C. Webb. Young’s entry for January 4 starts with “I [God] want you to learn a new habit.” It ends with “Your continual assertion of trusting Me will strengthen our relationship and keep you close to Me.” Webb’s chapter “To Be or Not to Be” similarly reflects on the concept of belief and of being. She encourages the reader to “hit the pause button on…over-doing…to acknowledge…growing faith.”
Each of these readings emphasized for me the need to invest in healthy relationships with others, but more importantly remain steadfast in my relationship with Christ. Webb’s question “Who are you becoming?” challenges me. Who am I becoming through my belief and trust in God? Who am I becoming through my interactions with family and friends? Am I being the same person with God as I am with others?
Young references Psalm 139:7-10.
“Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.”
These verses are a sober reminder that God sees my treatment of others. But, He also sees their treatment of me. He promises to go with me, not just to keep me accountable to our relationship, but to protect me in my daily encounters and life-changing moments.
Steffany Woolsey chooses Proverbs 13:20 to emphasize her point about relationships.
“Walk with the wise and become wise,
for a companion of fools suffers harm.”
Now that is a new habit worth learning!