fear / learning

the point at which my enthusiasm wanes

I can be awesome and fearless for 3.5 days.

That is the point at which I get very, very tired and just want to crawl into bed. But I could not because one child needed to be motivated to do her homework and another needed to make a decision for school and was having trouble exercising patience for the conversation we needed to have and dinner needed to be made and the rabbit’s poop had reach a point where it was no longer ignorable.

And I’m not sure that yelling and retreating to social media was the most fearless, selfless way to handle it all.

So far not being afraid is amazing. It has completely changed the way I live, the decisions I make, the words I speak. But I’m afraid of what happens when I’ve given everything. If I had saved kindness earlier in the day, would I have had some to give to my family? Is it, like energy, an expendable resource? Or is kindness more of a loaves-and-fishes thing that multiplies?

I’ve become more self-protective in recent years because I’ve exhausted myself trying to love and serve people. I mean, my body and soul just quit on me and I was a human blob on a couch for a few months. Isn’t that what happens when introverts like myself try to act too much like Jesus?

I was thinking yesterday about the difference between loving people and trying to please them. What I did before felt at the time like I was loving them. But when I look back on it, I see it was more about trying to be what they wanted me to be to them in that moment.

I’m finding in the last couple days that I’ve been asking more “What do you want, Jesus?” rather than “What does that person want?” I’m asking “What would I do if I weren’t afraid?” rather than “What should I do?” But are they just different questions with the same answers and the same results? I don’t know. I guess that’s what this 40-day period is asking.

So I woke up this more with a bit less enthusiasm. I was saying, “God, I’m tired. And I don’t understand. If this is powered by You, how can I be tired?”

Paul says in Philippians that is goal is to:

“know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”

And he says later:

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

And I realized:

Ease and comfort were never in the contract.

It’s going to be hard. It’s supposed to be hard. It’s called sacrifice and sacrifice necessarily involves pain. Yes, I’m giving up part of me. And I’m running out. And that’s OK.

Yes, engaging with people costs me something. But that’s a sacrifice that I’m offering to God for this season of Lent. If this isn’t a sustainable practice for me, if God doesn’t supply me daily with what I need to do what He is asking me to do, we can sort that out later.

For now I have one focus:

To know Jesus. To know His power. To follow his example in dying to myself. 

If that means I get to experience life that is truly life, the sacrifice will be worth it.


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