Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Choice: When Passions Go Dim and Hearts Grow Cold Part 1

There's a lot of different choices we can make in life; but this blog post is particularly about a 'certain' choice....
I find it rather strange how sometimes I go to do something that I've done a trillion times, and then one day I'm suddenly faced with vast complications. I'm continually discovering that I really have a lot to learn...
Just when you may think you have learned what you need in order to succeed, you are faced with a hindrance. There are two ways you can respond 1. Panic: Give Up, and believe that life is just to hard, and that you will never succeed 2. Face it: Keep moving forward, take the chance to learn, and believe that you can progress! Life takes courage. We have to keep up our stamina, not only physically but mentally and spiritually.

I'd like to give a few examples of this; First of all, I have this scripture that keeps entering my mind and that is "Do not be surprised at this fiery trial, as if something strange were happening to you". I know that it had a particular meaning in 1 Peter 4:12 about not being surprised if you suffer for Christ, and I don't want to do the verse injustice, but I feel that it relates also to this topic. I think a lot of times, when things are going fine, we do what we need to do, we go about our daily routine, and then one morning we are faced with some strange hindrance.

 For a 'physical example'; I've been singing for a very young age. I never took singing lessons, but I did take music lessons growing up and got a few tips from my teachers, and they encouraged me to project more, and helped me improve my vocals. Well, ever since I've been writing songs, and playing them with instruments and singing away. Until one day recently, I woke up, I went to the piano, try to sing one of my songs, and oddly I become quite aware of my lack of breath. And so I start to practice breathing more, and then I begin to not be able to breathe, and then my voice seems to disintegrate. To top it off my Mom notices and this makes it all the worse, as I'm trying my hardest to be able to sing, more than ever before, and yet it sounded like I was just squeaking out the lyrics.

 Horrid days...The panic strikes. Of course this isn't 'all' that presided my sudden lose of vocal'ity. First was the fact that I'm going to get a CD recorded of my songs in January. I was rather excited and anxious about it, because I have waited for this for a very long time. I've been wanting to do it for years. So this adds to the horror of my sudden 'reason for panic'.
Fact number two, is before I suddenly became aware of what I thought to be 'shallow breathing' I felt passionless spiritually. I suppose my 'reason' for singing wasn't exactly grounded in what it had before. Yet after all my preparation for this time in my life, when I could actually get a CD recorded of my songs; how could it be that suddenly my passion isn't as strong? ...As I type this I shiver inside. (this may have something to do with the weather ) but really I don't feel all that cold.

Perhaps it is because I'm opening the hatch on some truths that personally need to penetrate my life ... Because really; In this life we have to fight for what we 'have' in order to keep it, and we have to be willing to step out in bravery to receive and accomplish what it is that we haven't attained. At this moment I think of Pilgrim's Progress. I haven't read the book in years. But perhaps now would not be a bad time to pick it up. Right now, if I could easily sketch it, I would draw the picture of a man fighting to protect what He has, and daring forward to attain what He does not. When I think of the title of the book I just mentioned, "Pilgrim's... 'Progress'" It reminds me that life is process; of growth, of learning, of fighting...It helps for me to think of my name before 'progress' as the title of my story. In reality, we all live a story much like that of Pilgrim's Progress inside our souls

. We all have a choice when we are tried or face obstacles, either to: 1. Panic: Give Up, believe that life is just too hard, or that we will never succeed 2. Face it: Keep moving forward, take the opportunity to learn, and believe that we can 'progress'!

"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you".... ~ 1 Peter 4:12

Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. ~ 1 Peter 5:8,9

This is really in the spiritual sense...I believe though that in life most all of our 'passionlessness', 'doubt' is spiritually connected. Satan doesn't want us to succeed, or be vessels for the Lord's work. He does not want us to be passionate about Christ and the Gospel. Not only does He not want us to be 'on fire' for our God, but he wants us to give up on life. Our fleshes are pretty weak. We give up quickly. At the first sign of hardship, we sit down and pout. We want the finished product, we want the finish line, we want the easy way up and out. Physically, Mentally, Spiritually we can be pretty weak.

We need to do all things unto the glory of God. If we give our all, in no matter what we do, we are an example to others of someone who 'doesn't slack' and for some reason even non-christans and most all mankind has this respect for those who no matter the odds, 'go hard' and 'accomplish the goal'. I'm sure you've also heard it said "The harder the goal, the more rewarding the triumph"....Sometimes I see myself in the place Pilgrim was when he laid on the dungeon floor in the Giant's castle. Hopeless; because I fail to believe that I can make it out and make it to my destination. I don't really think this so much in the big picture of reaching the Kingdom, but in terms of accomplishing somewhat smaller goals, in various areas, some of which are particularly God centered, others of which are work for others, and even things I must pull through in doing for my own good. But you know, all along I have the key to opening the giant's dungeon door.

Whenever I lay there motionless on the floor of the cell that (either the work of Satan has formed, or a dungeon I have made for myself), I have the key all along. God gave it to me at the cross. And there are sometimes, I must admit, that we can't do things or accomplish things, even if we are re lit with the courage or the 'passion'. Some things can only be accomplished by surrendering to God, and calling out on Him to be our rescue.

He gives power to those who are tired and worn out; he offers strength to the weak. Even youth will become exhausted, and young men will give up. "But those who wait on the Lord, He will renew their strength. They will fly high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. ~ Isaiah 40: 30-31

There are times when we are without passion, and we can't seem to make ourselves 'feel' anything. Whether mentally, physically, spiritually, or all of the above. There are times when our hearts feel cold, and our desire to move ahead dead. There are some obstacles that we are tired of dealing with, there are those times when all we hope for is the end, but don't know how to get to the destination. We need to not only keep our eyes on the goal, our hearts a fire with love and passion for that which is beyond the finish line, but we must learn how to 'run the race', 'progress', 'learn', 'grow'.

Sometimes our eyes can be so set on having what's ahead that we do not learn how to embrace the opportunities for growth. We do not have open hearts towards learning, only obtaining, completing, or accomplishing. The true prize, is what we have learned in life. What really makes up our prize is not that we ran an easy race, without hindrances, but that we learned how to be victorious through, and over the hurdles. We must cultivate a passion and a patience, for learning. There is no 'success', if there is no 'growth'.

 We cannot expect to be perfect, or all knowing, in anything we do, whether in physical ways, knowledge, or in the way of the spiritual without refining, or without taking those hindrances ( learning opportunities) and not only enduring them, but taking the step into learning from them. You may be thinking; I can't do this on my own, I just don't always have the stamina, or the passion. And you are right. There are times when this comes down to 'You' and your choice, whether or not you will take the oportunities around, or sit and pout and wish things were completed by the blink of an eye. If you choose the second of the two, You will one day realize that you never get anywhere by sitting and wishing, only by putting a foot in front of the other.

 And then there is that second synario; where you've tried but you just can't seem to conjur the motivation to move ahead. And no matter what you may be facing, I would encourage you by saying the best you can do is to 1. Remember what it is that you desire 2. Rekindle or let your desire and/or (love) for it be re lit 3. Ask the Lord to give you the stamina/strength you need to do what you need to do and to glory Him with it. But I realize that in my life so far, that the best things I can do are those which God motivates in me. I realize that on my own things are harder to accomplish, even if they are goals that aren't exactly that of ministry, or Christ-centeredness. Of course I want to have a balance in that I want to give my all in everything I do. But most importantly, I have discovered that God's motivation, and the passion that comes from a relationship with Him is the most fulfilling and most meaningful. I am of little worth without Him.

 So, If you and I can make the right choice to: 1. Not to give up, Face whatever it is that blocks the way. Keep moving forward, take the chance to Learn, and believe that wecan progress; if we do this in the things for ourselves, we will do ourselves a big favor, if we do this in our spiritual walk we will not only do ourselves a favor, we make it possible for the Lord to continue to use us and bless others through us.

So when passions grow dim, and when your heart seems cold; when the choice stands before you; Choose the way of the Victorious. Don't give up, Keep the Fiath, Don't be lazy, Keep your mind open to learning, and Keep Christ first...You will go far this way.

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