I was thinking the other day about how your life can go sort of stale on you. Things don’t appear different on the outside; there haven’t been any major changes; nothing dramatic has occurred, yet suddenly it feels a bit pointless and dry. It’s almost as if there isn’t anything to look forward to and your existence seems to have slowed down to a crawl. The more deeply I considered the emotions, the more curious I became. What is it that happens to a person that takes away the joy and adventure of living? What event or series of events have been at work behind the scenes stealing away precious life and vitality? What could have possibly been going on in a person’s thought life that led to these negative and hopeless conclusions? Then, I knew the answer. Life requires your participation!
The way you stop participating in life is when you stop moving forward. You don’t necessarily feel like you stopped, but if you are honest you know you no longer have anything you are pursuing. You aren’t on an exciting adventure full of discovery. You aren’t on a journey towards some worthwhile end. You have no grand plans for your exciting future life, but instead have settled in to mediocrity and silence. You’re going through the motions, living, but not really living. There was a time when you had a zest for living and carried a mind full of expectations and desires. But, something happened to you. Something worked you over and wore you down. Someone or a host of someones chipped away at your ambitions and goals. One by one, little by little, your mental plans were closed off and nullified. It wasn’t your age that did it to you, but maybe the considerations you entertained concerning your age. It wasn’t the circumstances of your life that took away your dreams as you had similar, if not worse circumstances, in your unknown and untraveled youth. What changed was your interpretation of your circumstances and what they meant in terms of your future life. Your lack of energy and exhaustion didn’t come about from extreme efforts, but instead lack of effort; lack of movement and ultimately a lack of participation in your own life. You stopped doing your part. Life requires your participation.
When you remove all of the covers, when you take off all the disguises, when you peel away all of the layers, a person’s arch nemesis in life is always fear. It is fear that enters in an impedes your forward progress. Doubt causes you to hesitate. Worry slows your progress forward and fear eventually freezes you in your tracks. Like the mighty roar of a lion, fear roars to stop your forward progress, rendering you helpless from the enemy’s pending attack. The name of the thief that stole your ideals is fear. The hunter that trapped you in a cage of mediocrity is fear. The robber that made off with your enthusiasm and zest for living is fear. Absent fear your mind is free to function at full speed, full of ideas and dreams and wishes, hopes and plans. What happened to you was not a function of aging or gaining wisdom concerning the world. What happened was in some capacity, in some imperceptible way, by repetition and habit, fear got to you. Fear tricked you into stopping your forward momentum. Fear pointed out why your plans could not work; how foolish you were for thinking them and how many obstacles existed to impede your progress towards them. But, it wasn’t fear’s lies that defeated you, it was your acceptance of those lies as evidenced by your lack of progress toward your plans. You, because of fear, stopped moving; stopped doing; stopped trying. Your dreams require your participation in their attainment.
Often people pray for God to take away their problems and troubles. They beg God to simply step in and remedy the situation for them. And while that sounds beautiful, further inspection reveals that is not how life works, indeed not how God works. God moves in people as they move. Waiting and praying and wishing won’t restore the life you have lost as a victim to fear. You have to move again. You have to take some steps. You have got to start moving forward. However it happened to you, it already happened. Bless God for helping you see what you need the most to see. Praise God for those times you got to recognize and understand it for yourself. What happened to you is common to all men. The acid test for your soul is to look back at your former dreams and goals, your plans, your enthusiasms for things, and note how you stopped pursuing them. You gave them up. It’s like the man that hates his job; complains about his job; is stressed out by his job, yet does nothing to change the situation. Sure he prays and pleads and waits and cries, yet does nothing to change the situation. What would he have God to do in his story? God will move when he moves and not a second earlier. If you are no longer looking for the things that have the most appeal to you, how could you ever find them? If you have given up on even trying something, how could you ever succeed at it? If you already know everything, what else is there for you to learn? The problem isn’t God or the world or the circumstances, the problem is you. Fear (look no further) has tricked you into halting your forward progress and life won’t return for you until you decide to move again. Life requires your participation.
Friends, the doldrums, the boredoms, the lackluster and mundane would overtake us all. However, we are only so because we have ceased our forward progress. We stopped moving and will remain abject and defeated until we take charge and move again. Get back in the game. Remember what you love the most and begin to pursue it again. Take a step then another step and then another. Don’t allow the liar fear to color your world drab gray any longer. Move ahead and see the beauty and vibrance that life is and once again see the God that called you and loves you. Make some moves and see it for yourself. Participate in your own life!
Just some good thoughts…