The Difference Is You!
The other day I was mopping my floors. A very typical cleaning activity that I have practiced multiple times in my cleaning career. This time was a little different. It was at the end of an extended holiday break (2 weeks). Where I didn’t watch what I ate, other than watching it go into my mouth. I stopped my daily yoga routine. And I even stopped taking my dog on our normal morning walks around the neighborhood. All of this I did in the name of “the holidays”.
Back to the mundane activity of mopping, taking this reality into account. I noticed a funny feeling in my back about half way through the house. I couldn’t stand up straight. I stopped and slowly but surely and painfully, straightened myself back up. I shook it all off and then went back to mopping. Well, by the time I finished I could barely stand up straight. And if I turned just right I experienced a sharp, shooting pain up the entire right side of my back. Through the completion of a simple household chore, I had strained the muscles in my back.
It took over two weeks of massage, yoga, walking and intake control to get my back, back. Never before have I ever experienced such discomfort as the result of something so mundane. Not that I will ever stop mopping. But I am going to remember that even two weeks of skipping what I know makes me feel good – exercise, eating right – does have an impact.
But I have mopped floors all of my life and this has never happened? Even after taking an extended holiday break? Which is true. Yet, I have never been as old as I am now, mopping floors. I am older now than I have ever been in my entire life!
The difference wasn’t the activity of mopping or the inactivity of my holiday lifestyle. The difference was me. I now know that two weeks of inactivity and unregulated eating will have it’s affects on me. A perspective that I have never had to have in my life.
You can say the same thing about your faith journey as a follower of Jesus. Maybe, in the past, you were able to do things or not do things, and it wouldn’t affect your faith. Yet, now all of these things, mundane as they may seem, cause your faith to be crippled. The things that you are doing or that you aren’t doing, haven’t changed. You have changed. That’s the thing with pain. It reminds us of how we are changing and brings to the forefront the corrections that we need to make, in order to avoid the same pain in the future.
Maybe in the past you were able to maintain your faith simply by going to church every once in a while? But now you find yourself lost and seemingly alone in your faith, with little to no connection with a community? Maybe in the past you were able to maintain your faith on Sunday morning after a late-nighter on Saturday? But now you find that Sunday mornings aren’t as easy, after a late Saturday night? Maybe in the past you were able to maintain your faith simply by saying that you believe? But now you find that mere words of faith seem hollow and empty?
You are changing. And, when you get right down to it, if you truly think that as you change you can continue to do the same things and expect the same results, you are crazy. The things that bring you joy in this life have changed. The things that bring you pain in this life have changed. How you relate to the world has changed. The way the world relates to you has changed. Even how you relate to God has changed. Yet, how God relates to you will never change.
God will always meet you wherever you are. The trick is this: Do I possess enough self-awareness to realize where I am? Your faith isn’t the same as it was when you were younger. And your faith will not be the same when you are older. Not that God has or will ever change. But because you have changed and (spoiler alert) you will continue to change.
So, pay attention to the pain. Not only the back pain that can occur as the result of mopping the floors after a two-week holiday break from exercise and eating right. But also, the pain that comes as a result of a changing relationship with God, that isn’t supported by your behaviors.
You will never retire in your faith journey. You will simply grow and change in your relationship with God. Enjoy the memory of what has been. Immerse yourself into what is now. And look forward to what is to come.