Was that just a spasm?


“God is not looking for spasms of passion, but for hearts of endurance.” …are thirteen words that are resounding in my mind since yesterday’s service at my home church Trinity, in Kelowna, B.C. These words originated with International Justice Mission Founder Gary Haugen, pertaining to the work of the IJM organization in third world countries, where they continue to save bond and sexual slaves from lives of despair and torment. IJM delivers hope in a big way.

Yesterday at church, we celebrated the accomplishments of a small team of middle school youth who raised $151,000.00 for IJM. My 14 year old son Malcolm was one of them. And each one of those kids, led by their youth leader Simon, model hearts of endurance to all of us. They set their goals way high, they ignored the impossible nature of it (even though some of us parents thought otherwise), and they worked at one task at a time, one yard maintenance job at at time, one sacrifice at a time, until they reached their goal. And because of their endurance, 151 slaves are now free. WOW!

The question begs to be asked… what kind of heart do I have? Even after all the excuses are set aside, after the exceptions are made, the justifications considered, whatever, is my heart enduring with the love of God? Am I living a life that puts his desires first? Well, am I?

Not easy to take that kind of look at yourself.

Turns out I need to make some adjustments to how I’m currently living out my faith. Turns out I’ve been growing weary of doing good and even giving up on some things. Turns out I’ve been guilty of spasms in some areas.

Creativity and passion and big picture thinking can be a problem sometimes. My husband and I often have conversations that involve dreaming about this thing and that thing and painting wonderful word pictures around certain topics. We expouse on  possibilities a lot… that’s how God made us. We like to envision things. It gets us excited, revved up, inspired. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it can be a problem if that’s all it is. It can be a problem if it’s all about starting things and not finishing them, or about giving up when the energy wains and the inspiration grows tired. That’s why the heart of endurance has to be there.

I believe that a heart of endurance comes from God himself. Only God can give me the sense of purpose and the deep inner conviction that allows me to continue to walk forward in the face of adversity, weariness, circumstances, lack. There’s just so much more at stake than how I feel.

So, I must take time out to look at the things I’ve been less than excited about lately. And find out why. And then, with God’s help, make the adjustments necessary to finish well what I have begun.

Still on the path,

Lesley-Anne

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4 thoughts on “Was that just a spasm?

  1. My question is – what if the Lord is interested in BOTH patience and endurance AND passion?

    The questions raised, while good questions, seem to illicit a negative response. And as a creative person, passion is an essential component of my nature and character. I believe God made me that way. And in my 53 years (so far) I have had to endure a great deal because of that fact.

    Peace and love
    Dave

  2. Thank you Dave for your response. I’m sorry if I have written in a way that makes passion and enthusiasm and creative energy appear to be less than what God requires. I agree with you wholeheartedly… God wants BOTH passion and endurance. And I affirm that God made you this way for a purpose.

    The key word to me was ‘spasm’, which provoked me to ask if my passion was simply a short-lived feeling with no staying power. I too am a creative thinker, and feel angst when I see a vision, or dream up ideas, and then run out of steam in realizing them. But, maybe that’s not our job, either? Each one is given something to add to the body, and maybe it’s more about being able to cast the vision to others who will take it across the finish line? At 46, I’m still not sure.

    Anyway, I appreciate your feedback and I’m happy to meet another creative soul.

    Walk on,

    Lesley-Anne

    • I was recently at a meeting – it was really a good one too. And there was a young woman who began to scream JEEEESSSSSSSSUUUUUSSSSSS at the top of her lungs – for a couple of minutes. Now I love the passion of that. I’m not sure what was going on inside her. I’m pretty sure Jesus heard her! I mean really, He isn’t deaf. But the cry of that heart, whatever it was about, was not to be ignored.

      I can’t help but wonder what it sounded like when David cried out to God with all his being. In going through the hard stuff, on a couple of occasions I had to release a gut wrenching cry! That’s the amazing thing about David. No matter what he was going through, he served it up to God with all he had. Whether in depression, isolation, feelings of abandonment, in repentance, in war, in lament, in family trouble – it was all there.

      I think it’s interesting that in our church music we have lots of nice “happy/clappy” things we sing, but rarely will you hear a song that says “God, are you deaf? Because if you don’t answer me soon I’m going to shrivel up and die.” As artists, its real to face and embrace every facet of life.

      Sometimes a spasm can be someone letting off steam on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Other times it can be the cry of a heart that is broken. Other times it can be a show to impress others of how spiritual you are. We look on appearances. The Lord looks on the heart.

      Peace
      Dave

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