I heard a beautiful salvation story this evening, told over a few pieces of $1 cheese slices from my favorite Ronzio's location. She shared her heart with a sparkling conviction, her blue eyes brimming as she explained the waterfall of joy that welled up in her heart when she realized her need. I sat there rapt as we talked about Thailand and family and YWAM and church.
Rewind an hour or two. I get off a long day at work, weary of talking to angry parents and making awkward dorm visits. I clutched a heavy tiredness as I headed to the quad to play frisbee with our Intervarsity chapter as part of our new student outreach. I showed up out of obligation, and glanced at my watch in between pathetic frisbee tosses, and made small talk like I was trying too hard.
Last semester I was approached about joining the leadership team for my school's Intervarsity chapter, and without a second thought I filled out an application. It is the hand of God that has me here where I am, and I want to be working where He is working. But now that the fall is beginning and the rubber has to meet the road, I am finding myself timid and dulled by the sense of obligation that motivates me to show up. And an empty motivation it is.
My brain knows what's good for me, knows what I ought to be attending to and where I ought to be investing my life. Watered by ambition, it flourishes in the idealism of a productive life, one that loves and serves with abandon. It trusts and believes that the strength and love and joy that He pours into me is enough to overflow into others, and turn back into praise to Him.
By contrast my heart is weak and brittle. Besieged by apathy, it longs after the things my brain knows to be foolishness. With a sullen sense of defeat it contents itself with curling up in the silence of frivolous and solitary pursuits. It grows achy and feels helpless at the realization of its anemia, and to fight its own coldness it grows numb.
My brain wants to want faithfulness, love, righteousness, but my heart is too helpless to fight to desire these things.
But then there is the beauty of the story shared with me. The reminder that showing up to play frisbee and meet people is not an obligation but a privilege. And that the joy that poured from her eager face is the joy that could pour from my softened heart. Oh Father, so high above me, so close within me. So much like Lilith, strong in her rebellion and broken in her repentance, I cannot open my hand on my own. Unite my heart to fear Your name.