I have loved writing on this blog over the past few years, if for no other reason than the processing and clarity I have obtained in doing so, but also because I’ve received the most encouraging stories of what God has done in and through some of the readers! I never thought I would love writing as much as I do, but it’s become the medium in which I most love to communicate, and one in which I desire to pursue more seriously. So last week I decided I was going to set aside specific time each week and really make it a habit to write. Funny how just one week after making that commitment I cannot for the life of me seem to find words to put down! Does that ever happen to you? The moment you commit all of a sudden you are frozen?? Writing is one of those areas that comes so easily and naturally when I feel inspired but is ridiculous and insanely frustrating outside of inspiration…
This week, in more than one area, God is teaching me obedience beyond feeling; how to continue in the process throughout the ebbs and flows of emotion. Somehow I didn’t want to write because I didn’t “feel” like I had anything profound to say. Then I remembered, obedience doesn’t always have to end in heroics and movement forward doesn’t always come in leaps and bounds. In fact, just this morning I saw a tweet from my training center that said, “Elite performance is achieved by doing the right things correctly and consistently over a long time.” And while they were specifically speaking to the realm of athletics, I couldn’t help but think about how this principle underlies any endeavor you set out, or are called, to accomplish in life. Especially faith.
Elite performers are those people who are amazing at their craft. They are superior to the rest in terms of abilities or qualities. Yet more often than not elite sounds like an unattainable level that none of us laypeople will ever reach. But that is just not the case. Not if you are called. Not if you want it bad enough. Not if you are willing to work. And risk. And fail. And change. And adapt. And seek to learn from those who have been where you want to go. Now to be fair, most elites are naturally endowed with a portion of skill in their area of expertise, but very few are there without having done the necessary work to perfect that skill. As I am surrounded by some of the most elite track and field athletes in the world I have seen and can testify that they do the right things correctly and have been doing so, consistently, for years.
So why, when it comes to faith, do we think the principle is any different? We look at those “elite” Christians and think they are on some unattainable level that us “lay” Christians could never reach. Thinking of believers who seem superior in terms of abilities or qualities, I know a few people who come immediately to mind, and my first reaction is to think they have something I will never have. Yet the moment we put our faith in Christ the Bible says we, all of us, become a new creation; in essence we become (super)naturally endowed with the portion of skill needed in our new area of expertise. So the problem isn’t that we don’t have what it takes for thriving, effective, life-changing faith (I mean we have the Holy Spirit straight up living inside of us!), the problem actually lies in the fact we don’t do the necessary work to perfect that skill. Lest you think I’m somehow just taking worldly wisdom and applying it to our life in Christ, even Paul says in his letter to the Philippians that we need to work out our faith in fear and trembling. The Christian lives I look up to the most, the ones who are effectively spreading the Kingdom of God, are the ones who diligently pursue the Lord.
So what do we do? How do we become all that God has called us to be? We do the right things correctly and consistently over a long period of time. We have to be willing to work. And risk. And fail. And change. And adapt. And seek to learn from those who have been where we want to go.
And just like an athlete or a pursuit of writing.
It’s going to take commitment.
Commitment beyond feeling.