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To Walk and Not Grow Weary

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14

As a fairly hyperactive child, I frequently announced my boredom even before my foot had crossed the threshold coming home from school. I dreamed of being a superhero or in some way changing the world. In college, my best papers were written under pressure in the 24 hours before they were due because the time crunch focused me in a way that an earlier start could not. More recently, my most intimate experiences of God's faithfulness and activity in my life have been from prayers of urgency. I have lived a lifetime of being motivated by the urgency of something exciting or the urgency of fear, running toward or running from. Either way, striving and pressing on toward a goal has felt like living meaningfully and the measure of a faithful and righteous life.

So now I find myself in a season absent of urgency and I feel untethered, without direction, without purpose, without ambition or drive. A certain amount of adrenaline has always been my fuel for accomplishment. While recognizing in the most intense seasons how unhealthy and unsustainable and dehumanizing living under too many demands of time and energy can be, this season on the opposite end of the spectrum feels equally problematic though in a different way. Nobody admires the sofa dweller, the complacent, the underachiever, or the blank résumé.

This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it." Isaiah 30:15

Almost all the references to walking in the Old Testament are "walked faithfully" or "walked in obedience" and none of those say "ran" or "strived" or "exerted faithfulness." I don't bother to record my walks in my fitness app and only record my runs. Even then, if its a day when I need to walk in the midst of my run for one reason or another, of if it gets cut short, I just delete it altogether. I have this idea that an activity is only worth recording if its remarkable or headed toward "winning" in some form or fashion. I have this idea that my days and my life must be outstanding, unusual, and sacrificially exhausting to have been used well or declared "good." In repentance and rest is my salvation, in quietness and trust is my strength, but I would have none of it.

Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.” Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?” Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” John 6:27-29

Food that spoils might be all that I understand. And I also don't have a deeply applicable understanding that my righteousness, my meaning, my purpose, my value, my life's worth is fully accomplished already by Jesus. There is no awesome thing I could achieve or accomplish or build or create that would add to what He has already done. So then do I settle into lazinenss and futility? No, it would seem that I have lived by a false binary of ambition or apathy. The orginal work was to be fruitful and multiply God's image, God's glory, God's Kingdom. That is the work still to be done, but His Spirit provides the fruit and effects the change. Maybe its like a paint by number where the art has already been created but the water and brush reveal it - prayer and sharing God's word are the instruments He has given us to expand this belief.

I want to be a published writer, a sought after speaker, or an accomplished something/anything! When I am at a social gathering and asked, "What do you do?" I just feel so stupid essentially saying, "Nothing." But any answer I might give to satisfy that question in a way that I would feel proud to convey would only be food that spoils. I will never answer, "I'm learning to be still and know that God is God and that it is His glory that will fill the earth rather than mine." That would be super weird to say. But it will be super awesome to start believing it and walking it in confidently as my daily "work" without carrot or stick.


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