The Joy and Pain of New
A week and a half ago, our family started a fast where we have committed ourselves to trust God for a deeper level of freedom in our lives and others. On the same day, my wife began taking us through a book that is intended to both help us live a healthier lifestyle and draw us closer as a family.
The first couple of nights, we had tea to calm down. We talked about what we were thankful for and had a family devotion as we read a few verses of scripture. We laughed and joked about the hygiene regimen of cleaning our hands and faces, but enjoyed it all immensely.
There is such a joy in trying something new.
The third night was different. We got a late start so it was rushed. We did the devotion, snack, and tea; but dismissive attitudes were present and very noticeable. After calming everyone down for the fifteenth time, we moved on to cleaning our faces, hands, etc., but this time we were snappy with one another. We wanted this one to hurry so we could just be done. We wanted that one to get out of the way so we weren’t there all night.
There is such pain in trying something new.
If there is joy and pain in it, how do you determine if it’s worth doing? The world tells us that as soon as a negative emotion enters the picture, it’s time to get out. Many have lived in that arena and reaped its fruit. We have reaped it individually and as a society.
New things usually start with joy and they’re exciting, but at some point, there comes a day where you do it for other reasons than just fun or excitement.
- You keep exercising even though you don’t feel like it
- You eat healthy even though if you look at one more piece of broccoli you’ll scream
- You read those chapters of the Bible because you made a commitment to God and yourself
- You share a devotion with your kids even though they act like you’re from another planet
Some people would call this legalism, but I think that’s a flawed perception. Was Jesus a legalist because He healed all those who came to Him with a need? How about because He faithfully taught the word of the Kingdom and revealed the Father?
Compassion, love, respect, honor–they’ll help you carry on when you don’t feel like it. We discipline ourselves and can expect that grace will meet us in the rough patches because we are after His heart.
He rewards faithfulness, not what makes you a success in the eyes of others.
May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ. –2 Thessalonians 3:5
Even walking in the freedom of Christ is powerful and joy-filled at first, but there will come a day where we make a choice to live that freedom to bless others or fall back into selfishness. I want that steadfastness of Christ. I want His faithful love displayed through my yielded life.
Remind yourself why you do what you do. Remember why you started in the first place. If it’s honoring to God, carry on and reap your harvest. You won’t be disappointed.
What do you do when the newness wears off? How do you stay on track and what helps you stay focused?