People ask me how my Christmas break was. My easy answer is, “I got to sleep in a lot.” That was one of the few positives I could think of. Now, nothing really major happened in those two weeks (except for not having a water heater or washer machine for 4 days)… so why was it so crappy? Short answer: because of my attitude!
Fruit of Death:
Apathetic: Having or showing little or no emotion; not interested or concerned; indifferent or unresponsive.
This pretty much explained my attitude for Christmas break. I didn’t care about hardly anything. I wasn’t motivated AT ALL. The problem with this attitude is it also left me feeling hopeless. I knew the enemy was attacking me, and I knew that he was stealing my joy and inhibiting me from blessing others, but the problem with apathy is the lack of caring… I didn’t have any strength or desire to try to fight. So how do you fight the enemy when you don’t even care that he’s attacking you?
I realized, in reflecting on 2012, that it was one of the most emotionally intense years I’ve ever had (and I’ve had A LOT). God had purposely removed me from intentional community (for a time) in to a deeper, more intimate season with Him. I was to rely on only Him this year (not Him through His body). The summary of this season for me was to cut all unhealthy dependencies I still had on people for my identity and get them only from the True source. The difficulty with this is it also meant that every “safe place” I had in people were stripped down, chewed up, burned in the fire, refined (pick any metaphor)… they all fit. By the end of the year, I was tired. On the other hand, I have never felt more intimate and close with the Lord, but I had stopped spending time with Him towards the end, so I was only aware of my tiredness. This obviously gave Satan’s minions the perfect opportunity to attack me with apathy. I hate giving credit to the enemy, but I have to say it was quite a clever move. Apathy is a close sister to depression, in which your mood is down, sad, hopeless, yet apathy goes a step further in adding the lack of desire to even TRY to do anything about it. It sucks!
I didn’t have one… remember, I didn’t care?!
Thankfully He ALWAYS has a plan. In going back to work and being back on my routine, I started listening to sermons again while getting ready for work. A few days back in to this I was listening to a sermon on Proverbs 18:21”Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life]”—Amplified. Basically, I might spend 5 minutes speaking life (the promises of God) while praying, but then the rest of my day I’m thinking and speaking negative things, which produces fruit of death, which then I speak about how that’s the fruit I’m bearing which then produces more fruit of death and it becomes a vicious cycle. The Lord brought conviction to me on this, so I decided to try and only speak Truth (even though I didn’t feel one shred of it) to see what would happen. Well, it only took ONE DAY for me to feel something other than apathy. The desire that came back to me was not to fight or even to change, but a desire to sit with God again. I desired so much to be in His presence… something that had left me in my apathy. I had joy in just having this desire back. So Wednesday morning I sat with Him. I didn’t say anything to Him and He didn’t say anything to me. We just sat together. An hour later I was at Simpson’s first chapel service of the semester. In singing worship songs to Him I felt something I had missed: my Lord’s heart, gratitude for Him, joy, repentance! We took communion. Before I could eat my juice soaked bread I cried tears of repentance, sorry that I had given so much time to the enemy’s kingdom and not His, sorry that I hadn’t cared about not building His kingdom, and extremely grateful at the same time that Jesus was NEVER apathetic… not even for a second. My mind rushed with possibilities of what life would be like had He been apathetic even for five minutes while He walked this earth… and I shuttered at those thoughts… which then brought me back to overwhelming gratitude.
Fruit of Life:
I feel free, full of joy, and full of hope for the future. I am once again excited to impact this world by bringing the kingdom of God to it. Even more astounding than this, I came home and cooked dinner!!! I enjoyed it too!!! (There should be many of you laughing at this right now).
Steps in a Nutshell:
1. I stopped speaking negative words and speaking the promises of God (even though I didn’t feel them).
2. The fruit of life started to spring up—with one desire.
3. I acted on this desire and God’s presence is what changed me even further.
4. This led to me feeling again—feeling repentance, gratitude and joy!
5. Now I’m back to bearing the fruit of life!
Thank you Jesus for knowing just what I need!