Symptoms of Drift
I am a recovering pessimist who is slowly learning the language of hope and joy and gratitude. God has done such a drastic work in my heart that most days I can honestly say, "The joy of the Lord is my strength." But every once in awhile I have a day or two in which everything in my life seems bad. My marriage seems unhealthy, my body is a mess, my kids aren't on the right course, I have no friends, and on and on my list of disappointment grows...
Being a fairly logical person (on most occasions), I have come to recognize that on days when EVERYTHING in my life seems to be falling apart around me - it has to be a lie. It cannot be true that my life, which provides me with so much joy and fulfillment and purpose, could all of a sudden be ALL WRONG today.
And this is good. It is good to recognize the lie and to call it out. Our hearts are deceitful after all, and no one falls for my heart's deception more often than me...So, in times past, during these "down days" I have simply stayed low and tried not to make any major decisions. I tell myself that my emotions are lying to me about my life and that I'll most likely feel better in the morning. These deceptive emotions became trials to endure until God unwrapped them for me - revealing hidden gifts.
Recently God has been showing me a new way to view these feelings of discontent - He is showing me that they are gracious symptoms of a heart that is drifting too far from Him. When my eyes drift too far from God I lose my balance. When my thoughts drift too far I struggle with lust and greed and discontent. When my plans and dreams and hopes drift away from my Maker I can no longer make sense of my life. The symptoms of drift can leave us feeling sick and this is yet another kindness. Before I fall off the wagon and end up in a heap of sin, I first feel homesick. It is a gentle and gracious reminder and an invitation to draw near.
(Practically speaking this often means less Netflix and more scripture - less Facebook and more prayer.)
Today, I have been tempted to feel sorry for myself. I have been tempted to view my life through faulty lenses and arrive at faulty conclusions, but I see now that this blooming despair is something for which I can give thanks. These symptoms of drift are gentle, loving reminders that my life is hidden in Christ and to find it, I must first find Him.
His lovingkindness is always drawing us - in joy and now even in sorrow - I see His mercy. Isn't He good?
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.