How are things with you? I hope your week has gone well.

I’ve been dabbling in the mire and a behaving like a bit of an imp lately.

Impatient. Impetuous. Impolite. You get the picture.

All mixed in with a heavy dose of frustration and irritability.

And worst of all? I’ve acted and reacted like this with my nearest and dearest.

My beloved has borne the brunt of my bad behaviour.

He quells me with his calm, stills me with his silence, and floors me with his ready forgiveness, faithfulness and love.

His generosity and grace make me want to amend my ways ~ quick-smart.

Anyone who thinks becoming sixty confers serene sainthood on one is sadly mistaken.

Having silver hair is no indicator of sagacity, nor senility for that matter.

Sadly, sin and shameful ways are the default mode of the human race.

We all need saving from ourselves.

Sure, we can all act good sometimes, with an alarming tendency to magnify our virtues and minimise our flaws.

And we do all that as we also turn our attention upon the perceived faults and failings of others with pin-point accuracy and accusation.

What happened to me this week? I left a door open for the enemy.

I allowed myself to become over-stretched, over-tired and overwhelmed. A sure-fire way to get stressed and upset.

That’s all the invitation he needs.

Your triggers may be very different but they need to be paid attention to.

All areas of personal weakness require guarding by vigilance and prayer.

Is there a remedy? Oh, yes!

God has already provided all the mercy, forgiveness, restoration and renewal we need to change our behaviour.

It starts with the heart. The heart of God the Father in sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die and suffer on the cross in our place.

It starts with seeing how vulnerable and needy we really are.

It continues with daily dependence on His grace, with surrender, and a willingness to live the way He desires us to.

We lean and learn; we sow and grow; we believe and receive, we give and live as a new creation in Christ.

So how are my ‘imps’ doing?

They’re looking a little subdued, a little less sure of themselves and a little less powerful than they were.

Further confession… when I began this ’31 days of writing brave and free’ exercise I envisaged gentle, Holy Spirit-prompted sharing of insights, prayers and poignant spiritual moments.

The reality? What I’ve been given so far is imperfect poetry and prose, a heavy dose of humility, a deeper heart-to-heart opening up and a greater revelation of my need of God. Who knew?

Heavenly Father,
May my confession strike a chord with someone. Use these words to help them see their need of you, to realise that there is no perfect Christian or easy walk of faith. Reassure them that they are far from alone with their struggles. Speak to their heart and mind to bring about the transformation they require and long for. Please open their eyes to your goodness and grace, mercy and forgiveness, and grant them the hope of seeing change as they surrender to your will and ways.