I’m really feeling my age these days. For someone who has vehemently asserted the power and authority of vintage saints, that admission stings. I don’t recall a time when the motivation/energy tank has been so utterly low. Being a Good Christian Girl means that duty drives you regardless of inspiration, but even that engine seems to have run out of fuel. You know you're in trouble when you don’t even care that you don’t even care. I need a serious reboot; nothing less than divine intervention.
When you’re young, you don’t think twice about the grandiose schemes you entertain or the concentrated energy and sacrifice it will demand to fulfill them. Youth plunges headlong, and damn the torpedoes. Somehow, it’ll all work out!. But with age comes experience. Take a few monumental crash-and-burns in ignorant exuberance, and you’ll think twice before the next big leap. Time teaches we are neither infallible nor indestructible; that there is cost involved in any major decision. Failure and disappointment make us jaded and cautious. One of the disconcerting aspects of getting older is feeling the plutonium core of desire that drives your ambition, ego, identity and reputation, waning. Once you lose that, who are you?
To grasp and navigate what’s ahead, Scripture pulls no punches.
Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, Before the difficult days come, And the years draw near when you say, “I have no pleasure in them”: While the sun and the light, The moon and the stars, Are not darkened, And the clouds do not return after the rain; In the day when the keepers of the house tremble, And the strong men bow down; When the grinders cease because they are few, And those that look through the windows grow dim; When the doors are shut in the streets, And the sound of grinding is low; When one rises up at the sound of a bird, And all the daughters of music are brought low. Also they are afraid of height, And of terrors in the way; When the almond tree blossoms, The grasshopper is a burden, And desire fails… Ecclesiastes 12:1-5
Grim, isn't it? Time causes the passionate drive of flesh to diminish, the soulish animus that sustains so much of what we do, to simply dissolve. We stop caring both about what people think and the worldly machine that once was our inflexible taskmaster. So, how do we keep the engine of purpose, focus and enthusiasm fired up as we grow older?
A riveting verse lately started me on an intense train of thought. If you want to find out whether the deepest yearnings and highest ambitions you hold are generated by flesh or Spirit, are temporal or eternal, lay them before the Lord.
Lord, all my desire is before You; And my sighing is not hidden from You. My heart pants, my strength fails me; As for the light of my eyes, it also has gone from me. Psalm 38:9-10
The ultimate test of value is found in releasing what you tightly grasp. Everything we lay down before Him goes through the fire of waiting, testing, jealousy and finally surrender. It comes out purified. It comes out, Peter tells us, pure gold (1 Peter 1:7). Not only our faith, but the driving forces of our most passionate hopes, dreams, talents and emotions are purged. Sometimes they utterly expire, only to be resurrected by the Lord Himself in the most unforeseen way. Dreams we lost in the fire can reappear at His command, very much alive.
No one understands burning, jealous desire like the Lord. It’s part of His essential nature, a fiery, essence of our natures. He bestowed it as a birthright, but most of us have yet to get the mastery of it. That dynamic, dangerous substance is the atomic fuel for our souls, which is why when we are out of touch with desire, we are very, very unhappy.
To exist passionately and have a clear vision of the purpose of your own existence is a precious gift. To delight in your work, creativity, craftsmanship or achievement is the fuel that keeps us going, so we can't let it go. I’m listening to the yearnings. Where is the passion? I’m thinking hard about what I really want, what I think the Lord wants for me. Refocus my heart, Lord, and recalibrate desire.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Psalm 51:10-12
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