Take a deep breathe, let it out slowly. My life is crazy. Last week I came home from taking Christmas vacation. In spite of it being early December, it felt like I was stepping into the new year; and I was not interested. I have a general idea of what might happen in the new year, and it seems like a lot of work. It seems like I will have to grow a lot emotionally and spiritually to become who I need to be to be the servant God wants me to be. He seems to like making me something I am not.
I whined to a friend; and trust me, it was whining! She tried her best to encourage me. “But look how much God has done in the last few years! He is faithful. He is able. He can do it!”
“I know,” I said, “That’s the problem.”
Random lines from an Alabama song keep floating through my head: It’s running me to death // and I’m out of breathe // keepin’ up // in a circle that never ends // I can’t stop // like it or not // I’m stuck // Running behind and I’m out of time // keepin up.
You get the drift. You also probably know the feeling.
My schedule is usually not a problem. Yes, my life is ridiculously full but very pleasant. The last few weeks leading up to my vacation were a big schedule problem, but now my life is back to normal. A normal I have not had in a long time. One with no book – until I restart my next one in February and start selling this one in January. But for right now, no book!
My velocity problem is not my schedule; it is my spiritual growth. It feels like I am growing too fast for too long. I came home from vacation asking God if I couldn’t just become stagnant for a while. What if I just stayed in the same place for like six years before growing again?
Take a deep breathe, let it out slowly. Do I really want to follow God? I came back from vacation pretty unconvinced.
But spiritual growth shouldn’t make me feel like I am running to death and out of breath, it should leave me feeling well-rested. Like last week’s thought.
Come unto Me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
As I walked through the airport to the baggage claim, I thought of all the other places I might go. I could go there or there or there. If only I could just not get in the car and go home.
In the car on the way home, I thought of the last two rides home from the airport over the last two Christmases. They were very different emotionally for me than this one. Yes, I was much happier to be back both times, but I also was in a much more fragile place emotionally. I found it encouraging to think how much I changed since last December. Nothing in my life is the same. I love that about God. Give Him a problem and something will always change. Either us or the problem though never Him.
I continued to struggle with the desire to move forward, especially at the velocity I have been going. Yes, there is the reward that when I come home next Christmas I will be new from the inside out; but can this momentum really be maintained?
God used the oddest thing to change my perspective. I was doing random brainless computer work. Listening to a random Youtube sermon. The pastor simply read the glory to glory verse in the Message paraphrase of the Bible. I can’t quote it, and I don’t own a Message Bible; but it said something like we will shine “brighter and brighter”. Something clicked in me. Suddenly the price of freedom seemed worth it.
I may be a fairly pessimistic person, but sometimes “becoming like Jesus” just sounds like torture to me. It has for years. There is one word I associate very much with the process of becoming like Him – SACRIFICE. Ouch!
I know in my head becoming like Jesus is the major objective of my life. I know it should have a positive connotation. But tell me I am going to be more like Jesus next December than I am now, and you will leave me asking one of two questions, “Great. What is He going to make me give up? What hard thing is He going to get me to do?”
But the “brighter and brighter” somehow made it worth it. I don’t know why, but suddenly it was in words I could understand. Suddenly there seemed to be tangible promises: Unbelievers are going to be more drawn to me. “What is different about you?” will be asked more frequently. Those who are broken will experience greater healing through knowing me. My life will be lived with more purpose. I will be more grounded in Him.
I get to be brighter next year? Okay, what hard thing do You want me to do? What must I give up?
Do you ever feel like God has you in a pressure cooker and it is about to explode? Is there anyway you can step into the change God is asking you to make in your life instead of running away from it? What reward have you received for the sacrifices you have already made?