A few weeks ago, at a birthday bar-b-que on a sticky Texas evening, I had an experience that made my spirit feel like it bumped into an electric fence.
Do you know the feeling I’m talking about? That sudden quickening of your excitement when something reminds you how real God is, or how truly near He is to us?
The specific experience was reconnecting with an old friend; when we were in University together, we used to meet up for coffee each week. Over froth and crème we’d gush about our most recent revelation of God, or lament over some presently unanswered questions.
Maybe it was just the synergy of two hungry hearts, but something about her company always made me that much more convinced, and that much more excited, that there IS a God who is personal, and He IS worth seeking out, and we WILL find Him when we choose to engage in seeking!
I was shocked to discover that even with a few years and a lot of big life events smushed between now and then, her company at this twilight bar-b-que easily encouraged me to spend time in God’s presence, just the same as it used to. We didn’t even talk much about our personal relationships with God. But when I came away from spending time with her, something in me wanted to go home, shut the door, and just BE with God.
I forgot that that feeling of encouragement could come so easily, through something so specific as a conversation with a particular someone. I crave that encouragement in my life right now, as I’m going through a season where spending time with God is more out of discipline and habit than it is out of longing. So I began to sniff around for other things that elicited a similar heart-response from me:
Autobiographies of missionaries, or spending one-on-one time with people who ask God a lot of practical questions; creative projects that cause me to reflect; podcasts from preachers who tell a lot of life stories and laugh often; having breakfast at the café down the street with my bible and a notebook for company… As I looked with intention, I realized there were a number of things that helped me catch a better glimpse of God, and find myself hungrier afterwards.
Consider these things
If your love for God is a flame, then we can consider these things – whatever it is that wakes your spirit up a bit – as lighter fluid. There are some seasons of life where the kindling comes consistently and the fire roars, and you don’t need to work for the flame to keep burning. But for the times when the fire has quieted down to a few faithful embers, I’m learning that it’s okay to toss a little flammable help into the center.
I can also patiently wait for the wind to pick up and for the kindling to come, because eventually, it will… But I can feel that I’m building something perseverant in myself by to lean forward and stoke the flames myself, taking some initiative with things like a splash of lighter fluid, an insightful podcast on a long walk.
There will be quieter seasons, and that is not wrong. We don’t need to chase away the quiet with our best efforts to “stay excited.” But I believe there is inherent value in practicing continuing to lean in and look for whatever it is that reminds my spirit that God is as REAL as He is!
God promises that when we seek Him, we will find Him. I want to be intentional with seeking Him – ‘really’ seeking Him – even in the seasons where the in-and-outs of every day living feel more real and relevant than the presence and sovereignty of God.
I want to build in myself the muscle-memory to reach for the lighter fluid, not because it’s about having big, emotionally-driven flames, but because I want to love God so much that I’m always – even when it’s down to embers for a bit – doing my part to care for the fire.
Mayce’s other articles can be found at: https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mayce-fischer.html
Mayce Fischer is a Press Service International young writer from the USA currently based in Brisbane, Queensland. Mayce is now taking a rest from writing.