My six-month hiatus/break/fast from writing is over and I am feeling good, refreshed and ENTHUSIASTIC! It is indeed true that the greatest work God does is not what He does through us but IN us. No matter how big, great and God-glorifying our plans are, God will always be more interested in how we deal with the mundane and challenging moments in between.
In this season, I am learning that there is nothing more essential to achieving anything, than a joyful, enthusiastic and steadfast heart.
To be very honest with you, writing about this is a lot easier than living it out. I think I speak for all of us when I say that the gaps, delays and stopovers between where we are and where we want to be can sometimes be a source of discouragement and apathy. With never ending to-do lists, a big workload and pressure coming from all directions, sometimes joy can seem more like a distant figure than a constant companion.
So, what are we supposed to do if and when we are lacking in the enthusiasm department? When we are simply going through the motions… when we see no growth… when we feel as though we are living but not really alive – how and where are we supposed to refill our joy tanks?
Well, I read somewhere that the word enthusiasm comes from the Greek words en theos – which, when translated, means in God.
Interesting, huh? I think that says a lot.
The only way for us to remain enthusiastic – keen, eager, passionate, zealous, fervent – despite delays, disappointments and dead ends is to get in God. If we want to remain joyful, steadfast and enthusiastic in all circumstances, then we need to get in Him – get His Word in our lives – day by day, again and again and again. Even when (and especially when) we don’t feel like it.
I am learning that when we choose to surrender to God day by day, we gain a sense of enthusiasm that cannot easily be blown away by life’s storms. When we choose to believe that God is working... that He is faithful to come through... that He always has His best in mind for us... then by His grace we can navigate through difficult seasons and mundane moments with great joy and hope.
Joy is not in another place, but this place… not for another hour, but this hour! No, you can never know for sure when God might speak. When your prayers might be answered. When new opportunities might arise. But you can rejoice in Him, irregardless.
Psalm 118:24 says ‘This is the very day God acted—let’s celebrate and be festive!” The same God who is with you in your mountaintop moments is the same God who walks with you through the valleys and deserts in between. You don’t have to save your happy dance for the big moments in life. You don’t have to wait until the blessing has arrived to feel joyful and enthusiastic. When you get in God – when you let His promises saturate your life – again and again and again, you will always have something to rejoice about.
So, if you are feeling down, disheartened and defeated, be bold enough to get in God - now! You will find that the more you choose to go to Him, the more enthusiasm (...and joy and passion) He will deposit into your heart. Not just any kind of enthusiasm either… but enthusiasm of the eternal kind.
Purposeless? For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11.
Scared? Don't panic. I'm with you. There's no need to fear for I'm your God. I'll give you strength. I'll help you. I'll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you. Isaiah 41:10.
Defeated? Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end— Because I am GOD, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior.... That’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you. Isaiah 43:1-4.
Lonely? Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you. Deutoronomy 31:6.
Guilty? God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out, his merciful love couldn’t have dried up. They’re created new every morning. How great your faithfulness! Lamentations 3:22.
Restless? People with their minds set on you, you keep completely whole, steady on their feet, because they keep at it and don’t quit. Depend on God and keep at it because in the Lord God you have a sure thing. Isaiah 26:3.