For 8 days we’ve been drinking from a fire-hose. We've absorbed a smorgasbord of cabbage and potatoes, lake-views, wonderful devotions about the Holy Spirit, colleagues’ stories, information and advice. We’ve spoken out words of encouragement, worship and praise, grief and lament. We’ve shared dreams and hopes and fears, processing together, with never enough time to go deep enough but with the promise of further conversation… which, by the time we all return to our full and varied lives, may be less practical than it feels at the moment.
And now, two days after our marathon 14-hour return trip in the car (including a 4-hour reason-less delay at the border which meant we didn’t arrive home until 4am), my brain feels fried and listless. Instead of feeling more full of the Holy Spirit, I feel less. I even teared up at the breakfast table this morning, and couldn’t tell you why...
After weeding a row of lettuce, setting up the kiddie pool for the first time this summer, and splashing around with my boys for a while, I did feel better… But I could also feel my emotions tied uncertainly to my shifting environment. Circumstantial joy is the most devious kind. It’s like trying to keep a wave on the sand. When a happy thing happens, your heart lifts. But immediately a kid starts whining, and you plummet again.
I started praying, almost unconsciously, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation…” I do know this, actually, even though I don’t live it. I know that my joy has to be anchored in the Rock of my Salvation, or it will slip and slide with every interruption, spilled drink, temper tantrum or unexpected delay. Even though I know this, it’s hard to live it out… and I have to go back to my post from two weeks ago: keep my stem in the Water.
I painted this picture this afternoon, while the boys were watercoloring.
Amateur, childish maybe… but it captures me as I want to be:
“a tree firmly planted by streams of water, that bears its fruit in season and its leaf does not wither”
My leaves wither every time I anchor my joy in the shifting waterless sand of what’s around me, in whether what’s happening moment by moment is pleasing to me or not.
Today I’m turning brown and shriveling at the edges.
Time to get my roots in the Water.
Something to ponder...
How do you rejuvenate when you feel dry and withered?