Friday, August 24, 2012

Running on Fumes

I've been a believer since I was a kid. I remember announcing to my third grade teacher that I had asked Jesus into my heart, so, generally, I say that's how long I've been a Christian. I wasn't baptized until my husband and I moved to Indianapolis seven years ago, though, so is that supposed to be the start date? I've never been clear as to what exact moment starts the clock, but I'm pretty sure the decision is the main thing.

So third grade it is. How long has it been? How old is a kid in third grade? It was in the spring, so I was probably nine years old. That means I've been a believer for—hmm, borrow from the three, subtract there—23 years.

Dude. I feel super old now. Not because I'm 32, but because I had to do long subtraction in my head. Do kids even do that anymore? This new math. Hmph.

So after 23 years of following Christ it took me until yesterday to realize a truth that I'm sure I've been living for a while now:

I'm coasting.

I'm running on fumes. I'm coasting. I'm Michael J. Fox on a skateboard behind a Jeep.

The most active part of my faith seems to be behind me somewhere, and I'm just doing the bare minimum to maintain my relationship with God. I'm trying to get by on what I've already done instead of trying to do anything new. I pray throughout the day, but study? Meditation?

Surely, you jest.

Granted, I have a lot going on right now. I'm still adjusting to having two kids and all that. But what was my excuse the year before that? And the years before that?

I'm not saying I've been a complete waste of space all this time. We all go through a period of growth followed by a plateau of sorts, then we go through another period of growth. Or sometimes we have a period of growth and then just ride the plateau. Indefinitely. Which is what it feels like I've been doing.

I'm not going to ditch God; he knows that. He's not going to ditch me; I know that. But should that ever be good enough? Should I ever settle for, "Well, as long as I don't become a worse person, do I really need to become a better person?"

Not according to Scripture. So here's the part where we see how much trouble I've gotten myself into:

Psalm 1 says that the person who meditates on the law day and night will be blessed and prosperous.

Hey, I want blessings and prosperity! That sounds good! What's next?

Colossians 1:9-10 encourages us to grow in "the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God."

Oh. I need to have spiritual wisdom and understanding. And I have to bear fruit (we all remember that poor fig tree, right?). And I have to keep increasing in knowledge. OK, this is sounding like work.

2 Peter 3:18 says I need to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

More knowledge. That comes from studying Scripture and actually spending quality time with God. Yep, definitely work. I probably don't even need to read that verse in Revelation about being lukewarm. I think I get the picture.

*sigh* So I apparently can't stay here and expect to ride this life out. I knew that, of course, but sometimes it's just so easy to rest on the laurels of the title "Christian." Like my pastor always says, you need to grow up in the faith, not just grow old in the faith.

So now I will attempt to refill my tank. Prayer. Study. Consistently, which is really the key. I have a game plan. Now I just need to put it into action.

Are you coasting? What do you do when you need to refill your spiritual tank?


  1. Rachel, what your feeling is what ALL Christians struggle with - or should! One thing that has helped me over the years is setting a regular time daily for prayer and study, even if that means the bathroom between taking care of kids. Another thing is having an accountability partner other than your spouse. This person can ask the hard questions, provide encouragement and be a shoulder to cry on.
    I'm praying for you! ME

  2. I have days where it feels like I'm coasting--days that get away from me, where from the moment my eyes open until I fall back onto the mattress I go non-stop. But even then, I make the effort to connect somehow with the Lord. His Word is my #1 priority. It's my breath, my umbilical cord to Him. The other thing I try to ALWAYS do is right when I wake up, I tell Him good morning and that I love Him. Cuz I do.

    I heart you, girl. Love your honest encouragement. :-)

  3. Hi Rachel! I found you on the facebook page of Indiana Women Bloggers. And now you really have me thinking and realizing I too am coasting and need to get to work. It was a splash of cold water in my face....lots to do,and it's vital I find the time!! Stop by my blog and facebook page sometime, I look forward to my visits here..=)

  4. You’re an engaging writer Rachel.

    In my opinion, the antithesis of spiritual laziness is godly zeal. Ultimately godly zeal hinges on a renewed mind. So the more believers set their minds on things above, the less likely it is that unhealthy things below will pull them down.

    God gives us healthy contexts in Christ that have the potential to top up the tank, but we need to recognise them and make sure they’re part of our weekly routine.

    I’ve been reading here and there in your blog. I really do hope you’re feeling a bit better after surgery.

    1. Thanks! The zeal sometimes feels hard to come by. I ask for it, and it goes in spurts, but I have a hard time maintaining it for long periods. Hence the blog! :)


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