Hi everyone, Rob here.
Sometimes life just feels hard doesn’t it? There may be nothing too dramatic going on but life feels like a grind nonetheless. Our normal response is to suck it up, dig in and keep grinding until something changes. Sometimes there is a change and we get a little relief for a time. Often we just slowly lose the capacity to experience joy and peace and love. We flatline into emotional nothingness. We’re in survival mode. We’re ‘just getting through.’ It is not life in all its fullness. Far from it.
I’m in a little phase like that right now. My thesis writing has stalled, I never seem to get enough sleep, some issues have come up at work that require deep engagement, Kiley and I aren’t getting enough time together and you get the picture. Sound familiar? We’ve all experienced this in one form or another. Little things adding up and slowly sucking life from us. I can see the pattern and I don’t want to go down that road. I want to draw close to God, his love and grace, his strength and hope and I want to experience a life of joy, peace and fruitfulness. So what are the decisions that need to be made, the prayers that need to be said and the changes that need to be implemented?
The first thought that needs to be rejected is that life is out of control. We too often feel like we’re driving round a roundabout that has no exits. This is not the case. God always has a plan for life. He invites us to drive with fresh eyes looking for the road he wants us to go down. So we need to trust God and reject any notion that life is out of control because it’s not out of his control.
We also need to press into our identity as sons and daughters of God. When life feels tough the choices of the two sons of Jesus’ parable become tempting. We can run away and try and do life on our own or we could keep grinding, feeling like a resentful slave thinking that God owes us something because of our hard labour. We need to reject both of those choices and come to our Father as children who need help. He wants to help us find joy in the work of his kingdom. He can help us prioritise, delegate, see things with fresh eyes, inspire us into a creative choice, build up our confidence and most of all, reveal himself as trustworthy, good, kind, loving and on our side once again. When life’s a grind our Father invites us to sit with him for a while. It feels counter-intuitive. Our instinct is to work harder, but having ourselves restored as sons and daughters is the most important thing we can do. No one enjoys being around joyless people with no capacity for life.
On that note, I find for me in times like this that I need to make a deliberate effort to say yes to life-giving moments. On Saturday I was in Tauranga with family visiting from the UK. A big part of me wanted to stay home and avoid it. I said yes and experienced the satisfaction of climbing ‘the Mount – Mauao’ with my son Jake, playing cricket with him and others, taking in the beauty of the ocean, and following a mint 1965 Mustang as I left the beach!
The reality is that life isn’t a grind. It’s a gift, but we lose sight of that very easily as we respond to crises, obligations, expectations and demands. The Father calls us to new life and a new way of living as his sons and daughters. Life isn’t out of control, it’s in his control and he is good and kind. We are loved by our Father and he gives us life-giving moments to remind us of that fact. Say yes to him this week and may you know the freedom and the joy of life in Christ and his kingdom.