“That sense of newness is simply delicious. It makes new the Bible and friends, love… and God himself.” ~ Temple Gairdner
The life of faith involves a lot of waiting. How do we break the monotony of boredom and restlessness while we wait?
Last summer, my three year old son experienced the thrill of riding his bike — free from training wheels. Every day leading up to that moment was filled with excitement and drama. He couldn’t wait to hop on his bike and practice, practice, practice.
I didn’t realize how much the experience meant to TJ, until he sat listless at the breakfast table, with his spoon in hand and Raisin Bran growing soggier by the minute.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“I wish I could learn to ride my bike again,” TJ sighs.
“Why? You already know how to ride your bike.”
“I know. That’s the problem… I wish I could do it for the first time again.”
There’s something about conquering a big challenge or reaching a goal. It makes us feel accomplished and productive. But, it can also make us feel like we’re in limbo until we taste the thrill of victory.
There’s nothing wrong with being focused and intentional about our priorities, but can goal-setting and goal-capturing also become an addiction?
What’s The Difference?
I’ve been thinking about this question, since I made a recent trip to the local bookstore. I was looking for a book about writing that was categorized in the “Self-Improvement” section. As I scanned the book titles, phrases like “power of positive thinking”, “transformation”, and “finding your purpose” dotted the shelves.
What makes a person of faith any different than a practitioner of self-improvement?
As our lives have increasingly gone online, we also see the effects of a social media saturated lifestyle. We are constantly inundated with data, about who is doing what and how much is being experienced. By other people.
How much of our drive towards productivity and activity is tied to self-worth?
As people of faith, our world jarringly clashes with these messages. Our priority stands in stark contrast. We value a relationship with God that exceeds all importance but is also invisible. Not only that, God’s timetable and purposes are inner, while the world is focused on the outer.
It’s a battle we all fight. When I find myself stressed with some progress of whatever-it-is God has me waiting on, I know I need a realignment.
I had forgotten —
– if I have God, I have everything.
– if I’ve neglected to intimately spend time with Him, I have nothing.
– my heart’s true joy is discovering new things about God, not the temporary highs of achievement.
Waiting is sort of like hitting the play button on my DVD player.
If God has me waiting, I know that God is at work in my life, not me.
God wants me to put my faith in play, not my strivings.
In contrast, if I work so hard to make something happen, that I’m more frustrated than at peace, it is an indicator that I’m not exercising my faith. I’m walking by sight.
The Way We Were Made
There’s no guilt or shame when this happens, I’d like to point out.
God knows that this dying to self is the very process of spiritual renewal.
It is a wonderful opportunity to respond to God in the way we were made:
surrendering the instincts that draw us away from Him, so that we can walk in the new life that’s found in Him.
As Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)
God’s-type-of-new is completely different than the world’s-type-of-new. The world’s version looks improved, more accomplished and easily draws attention.
On the other hand, new to our Lord Jesus is far more valuable and highly prized.
The Greek word used here, kainotes, conveys a quality that only comes from the Holy Spirit.
New From Within
We are new from within.
This the kind of change impacts our everyday lives.
This new actually changes our perspective, beliefs and feelings about seemingly ordinary and difficult circumstances.
After all, who needs a new attitude if things are going well?
This may be one reason we are all vulnerable to setting new goals ad nauseum, never feeling satiated whenever some are met. New ones must be rectified to take the place of the old one, to fill the hunger that life here on earth gives.
How easily I forget what truly satisfies.
Thank God, it’s just as easy to find that He does.
It’s just like riding a bike.
Once you’ve learned how, you never forget it.
“I move on toward the goal to win the prize.
God has appointed me to win it.
The heavenly prize is Christ Jesus himself.”
~ Philippians 3:14
Can setting goals become an addiction?
How do you respond to the season of waiting?
Share your current journey towards the goal of experiencing Christ.
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