“I’m not feeling it.”
I’ve said it a lot over the years. I’ve said it in a whispered prayer to God as I walk toward a podium to preach. I’ve said it at the gym more often than I want to admit. I’ve said it to people whom I love when I felt like our relationship was going sideways. Thirty years is a long time to serve in any career. A million and one times I said it and I meant it. Walmart greeter sounded better. You and I both know this statement always says more about me than the other things I mention here.
Maybe you’ve said it too. “I’m not feeling it.”
Please know that I love my job, my gym, Bill, (especially Bill) my friends and family too! I am incredibly grateful that God has placed me here. I'll be honest with you though, some days are just hard. Regardless of my personal feelings towards something, the show must and does go on.
The truth is, things that matter in this life rarely have anything to do with our feelings. The things that really matter, a life's work, a thriving marriage, a positive impact, a right relationship with God, we don't always feel like putting in the work and care to make these things happen. But if we truly want these things, we have to be obedient to our commitment. We have to be faithful to our calling and follow through regardless of how we may feel in the moment.
When it comes to the things that matter, I believe God is searching for men and women who will commit to their calling and learn to prevail over the spider-web like complexity of our feelings. When we feel like it, it's play. When we don't, it's work. Both play and work are important. It’s a sign of maturity that we even recognize their relevance in our lives. The rewards for consistency and for follow through far out weigh the difficulties and temptations we face. Trust me. More over, trust God!
The first word in our Advent sermon series is trust. There are actually seven different words for trust in the Old Testament. Trust includes seeking refuge with God, building confidence which provides the security we all crave and waiting with hope that will not disappoint us. The New Testament sums it all up in one word: faith. Faith shows up 254 times in the New Testament. It’s kind of a big deal.
Advent can be a season where we recalibrate our lives. Make room in the inn, so to speak. Maybe this year, you’re all excited about the holiday season! Things are going well. Praise God! Praise Him all season long. Go ahead and make people roll their eyes when you sing Christmas songs and dress in ugly Christmas sweaters or fun Christmas leggings. But, there are a number of you out there for whom Christmas is so hard you don’t really know how you’re going to make it. You. I’m writing to you. Advent is for you. There is a Light in the darkness. The darkness has not overcome it. So, prepare. Too often we ask for clarity when God is calling us to trust him.
“Yes, indeed—God is my salvation. I trust, I won’t be afraid. God—yes God!—is my strength and song, best of all, my salvation!” Isaiah 12:2