And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me - everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9
While cleaning up the house the other day, I came across something I forgot I even had - a guitar. As I pulled out the dusty case and strummed its out of tune strings, I remembered that Christmas morning at age 12 when I unwrapped it. Being an awkward middle schooler, I reasoned that learning to play the guitar would raise my social standing because after all, ladies love musicians.
So, day and night during winter break, I practiced and practiced. I played until my fingers bled. I learned a few chords. For a while, I poured all my energy and focus into that instrument. But, for whatever reason, my drive and motivation began to wane. Other things caught my attention. Life got in the way. Priorities shifted. And, as a result, the guitar rarely got picked up and my dream of becoming a rock star fizzled away.
Right now, the adrenaline rush we've experienced while trying to rebuild our community is chugging along. We are energized to be good neighbors, kind friends, and compassionate individuals. The "we're all in it together" mindset remains our focus. There is a freshness to our faith. We're praying fervently, serving relentlessly, and putting our beliefs into actions. We catch glimpses of God's grace, mercy and faithfulness everywhere we turn. We feel connected to each other and more willing to pursue God's heart.
We want to bottle these feelings, experiences, and emotions up. But, what happens when our area recovers and life goes back to normal? If we're not careful and attentive, new things can quickly become old things, especially the new thing God is doing within our heart, character, and community.
The clip many of us are running at right now is unsustainable. Not only will our heart give out, but we will miss out on what God is teaching us in these moments. They will get lost in the midst of the rush. And when "normal" returns we will revert back to our old ways out of pure exhaustion.
To counteract this, we've got to commit to stopping long enough to see and hear from God. Formation doesn't occur in a hurry. Rather than rush, we must rest and pay attention by carving out time to identify what is different - about ourselves, about others, about our community, and about our church.
And when we pinpoint these new things God is doing within us by articulating them, we then need to keep them continually before us. By being proactive in this way, we will ensure our faith gets lived out through a beautiful song seen through our words and actions, rather than kept in a dusty case in the corner.
What is the new thing God is doing inside your heart? How has your faith grown over the past few weeks?
How can you ensure that this "new thing" doesn't get lost once things go back to normal?
God, You are doing something new within me. May I slow down and pursue Your heart so that I might understand my own. Allow me to tune my ear to the whispers of Your truth. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.