Why is it so hard to stay in love with life?
I’ve been feeling a little worn out lately. Remember my tissue paper analogy? It’s like I’ve gone from being strong and resistant, like a dish towel or one of those magic squeegee towels, to having the texture and resistance of tissue paper. Please, Lord, don’t ask me to try to dry (or do or withstand) anything. I cannot take it right now.
I know there’s no shame in that. There’s no shame in feeling a little subdued. But it’s not fun. It’s not fun to feel… I don’t know, the opposite of vivacious.
But the beauty of being a child of the Lord? My soul rejoices even while it cries. He sees me. He will use this time. Praying in my car? Crying for no reason that my head is aware of, but that my soul seems to feel perfectly validated in? That is where I’m at right now. And it’s okay.
Lord, I will accept what You have for me right now. I will use this time to press in to You and seek Your face and love the people You bring into my life.
But I want to fall back in love with life.
Help me breathe in my many blessings and breathe out gratitude.
Help me love the fluttering leaves and purple-black sky.
Help me love lighting candles inside while it rains outside.
Help me love small pumpkins and things flavored with nutmeg.
Help me love warm blankets and wool socks and taking walks with a scarf wrapped snugly around my neck.
Help me love people.
Help me love my best friend’s smile.
Help me love sharing a meal with that person who always occupies my heart, but less often occupies the same space as me.
Help me love getting to sit by someone’s side while they cry and unload their heart.
Help me love the first light of day.
It’s so hard to carry grief in your heart, to know that you will spend you entire life grieving certain things, and still trust that who you are and where you are in this moment, today, is exactly where you should be.
Help me not get stuck in self-pity, Lord. Help me give my grief to You, over and over and over again.
And Lord, the part of me deep down that still holds onto this belief that I am unlovable? Heal it, Lord. My head knows differently. My head knows I am Yours and I am treasured
But my heart is still so sensitive. My heart still feels twisted and young and deprived of love.
And Lord, knowing You are all I need, and all I ultimately could want, it just makes it so hard to have any distance at all between You and me. Help me look forward to heaven and spending eternity with You without feeling completely homesick and dissatisfied with this life You’ve given me.
Help me seek You whole-heartedly.
And overwhelm me, Lord. Overwhelm me with Your presence and love.
And use me. I don’t want to do life selfishly, just wanting You. I also want to make myself available to be used by You.
In other news, I recently read Soul Keeping by John Ortberg. I really liked it.
“This is where grace comes in. I cannot replace an idol by turning away from it. I must turn toward something.”
You cannot give up an addictive or unhealthy behavior by willpower alone. You need to replace it with something (or Someone) else.
“The soul without a center finds its identity in externals. My temptation when my soul is not centered in God is to try to control my life. In the Bible this is spoken in terms of the lifting up of one’s soul. The prophet Habakkuk said that the opposite of living in faithful dependence on God is to lift your soul up in pride. The psalmist says that the person who can live in God’s presence is the one who has not lifted their soul up to an idol. When my soul is not centered in God, I define myself by my accomplishments, or my physical appearance, or my title, or my important friends. When I lose those, I lose my identity. A soul without a center is like a house built over a sinkhole. ‘How collapsed you are my soul, and how you sigh over me.’ On the other hand, the soul comes alive when it is centered on God. ‘Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love…for to you I lift up my soul.'”
“Your soul is a needy man, a needy woman. Thomas Aquinas wrote that this neediness of the soul is a pointer to God. We are limited in virtually every way: in our intelligence, our strength, our energy, our mortality. There is only one area where human beings are unlimited. As Kent Dunnington puts it, ‘We are limited in every way but one: we have unlimited desire.’ We always want more: more time, more wisdom, more beauty, more funny YouTube videos. This is the soul crying out. We never have enough. The truth is., the soul’s infinite capacity to desire is the mirror image of God’s infinite capacity to give. What if the real reason we feel like we never have enough is that God is not yet finished giving? The unlimited neediness of the soul matches the unlimited grace of God. Our soul’s problem, however, is not its neediness; it’s our fallenness. Our need was meant to point us to God. Instead, we fasten our minds and bodies and wills on other sources of ultimate devotion, which the bible calls idolatry. Idolatry is the most serious sin in the Old Testament, leading one scholar to conclude that the primary principal of the Old Testament is the refutation of idolatry. Idolatry, accord to author Timothy Keller, is the sin beneath the sin. Anytime I sin, I am allowing some competing desire to have higher priory than God and God’s will for my life…We all commit idolatry every day. It is the sin of the soul meeting its needs with anything that distances it from God.”