Energy Part II
Where do get our energy? Where do we get our spiritual energy?
Last time I wrote about how Holy Dissatisfaction is used by God to energize us on a daily basis.
Holy dissatisfaction is a powerful source of energy; it burns fast and hot. It’s the equivalent of a sugar cookie or candy bar. Dissatisfaction over injustices, trouble and unresolved problems can jump-startme in the morning, but it doesn’t have the staying power to get me through the day, much less the year.
There is a second — even better — source of energy that God uses to motivate his people: Gratitude. Gratitude is the protein of the spiritual life. It satisfies and provides long lasting energy. I want to get more of this into my spiritual diet!
Simply keeping my eyes open and letting God guide my day-to-day observations is a great way to stay open to the life giving power of gratitude. Just last Saturday, for example, one of my kids graduated from college in Grand Rapids, MI. I’m super thankful (and not just for the end of tuition!). Graduation day was a perfect, blue-sky spring day: flowers exploding everywhere, birds singing for fare. I took a long walk around a lake in the early morning quiet. I saw a number of old friends at the ceremony itself (including my mom’s lifelong best friend who told me some great old stories). I witnessed my kid receiving her college diploma! My extended family went to a fantastic restaurant to celebrate after the graduation ceremony (always grateful when others make food) and then walked around town and ordered ice cream. I talked to an 88-year-old man from Mississippi who told me about life in the South in the 1930s.
This was all just one day of life! My heart was almost too full to go to sleep that night.
If we are sensitive to it, there is enough in just one day of living on this broken, beautiful planet to keep us grateful and motivated for an entire season. Spiritual practices like “giving thanks in prayer” prior to a meal or prayer-journaling help keep our observational powers keen and our grateful energy high.
God also has given us memory as a way to grow in gratitude. It is often difficult to see how God is working in real time. We can usually perceive God’s presence and power more clearly after some years have passed. We gain the perspective to connect the dots and realize, “God was working all along!” On this Memorial Day weekend, it would be a fitting exercise to remember the people that have been God’s hands and feet in your life. God used people to nurture us, teach us, protect us, guide us, guard us, provoke us, discipline us, release us, forgive us, stay with us, love us… So, take time to remember them and be grateful.
Then, drop a note. Make a phone call. Send a text…
And here’s one final, amazing thing: even if we should lose our memories, God remembers us. The one who created us for eternity will also hold us for eternity. In the end, it’s God’s remembering of his own mercies, and his remembering of you and me that will save the day.
I wish you a blessed Memorial holiday.
Peace, Pastor Gregg