Good repentance

Last night I was up late. I got online to send a message to a friend about something, then stayed on…

I was thinking about the fact that I haven’t been exercising. And I was thinking about the hat I just finished knitting. It started with the top, and I finished it with a cable band. But the cable band turned out to be tighter than the hat itself — so it looks ridiculous when it’s not on someone’s head, and the tightness means it will only fit a smaller head. It was hard to do, with lots of crazy decreases, especially a purl two together through the back loops every other row, which hurt my thumb a lot. So I don’t want to rip it out and try it again more loosely. I don’t even really want to rip it out and replace it with the usual ribbing. But leaving it as is was leaving me feeling disgruntled and not good enough.

I stewed a while, chatted on facebook with a friend, so on and so forth, and finally went to bed.

On my way, I thought with chagrin that I ought to be looking to God first for solace from perfectionism and disappointment, instead of looking to outweigh the negative feelings with positive ones from chatting or reading interesting things.

Not that positive feelings and experiences are bad, of course. Not at all. But they won’t cancel out or assuage guilt or shame or disappointment or inadequacy or frustration. Also, if I seek positive experience in order to deal with negative feelings, that’s going to devalue the positive experience — I won’t be enjoying it for what it is, and if other people are involved I won’t be enjoying them for who they are.

Lying in bed, the good kind of repentance came to me. The kind that feels like relief, comfort, assurance. The kind that involves a renewed perspective, being reminded that my identity is secure not because I make perfect hats, not even because I resolve to “do the right thing” by removing the inadequate cable band and replacing it with something better, but because I am God’s own child, his adopted daughter made holy and blameless and loved lavishly.

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