Struggling for the Steadfast Spirit
I’m still praying, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” I’m still praying it, because I’ve yet to experience the renewal of a steadfast spirit. It’s been a week of monotony, details, sickness, sleeplessness, disappointment I’ve received, and disappointment I’ve doled out to others. I find disappointing others to be more exhausting than being disappointed.
Yet, if I lift my head out of the mud for a minute, I see God reaching down to sustain me. I’m reminded that I haven’t been praying for a joyous spirit, or an exuberant spirit, or an overflowing spirit; it’s a steadfast spirit I’m after. When I have no more care within me to give, when documenting one more check or responding to one more e-mail just may push me over the edge, when I intermittingly hear the baby’s cries through the husband’s NyQuil-induced snores, when the tears of I-just-cannot-continue-like-this threaten to spill over, I receive words of encouragement that sustain me…for one more day, or evening, or hour, or five more minutes.
Instead of dwelling on all that’s weighed me down recently, I remember…
A Facebook post from a “fringe student,” who admittedly doesn’t come around regularly, but who wanted to make sure I knew what a difference I’d made in her life—more of a difference than her irregular participation in the student ministry conveyed.
Keep going; It’s worth it.
An e-mail from the mother of a student in my small group letting me know that her daughter loves being in my small group, but specifically just loves a chance to be with me every week. Her daughter’s only complaint—I just wish I could get more time to talk with Angie individually.
You’re doing what you’re made to do; keep doing it.
A phone call from a former student at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, while we’re both wrapping up our small group plans for later that evening. After being a student in my group for years, he now leads a student small group at another church. In his preparations, he read about what small, genuine, Christian community looks like. He called to thank me for creating that kind of community in our old small group, and for embodying that kind of community in who I am. He asked that I hang up the phone knowing God has used me to bless his life.
There are more students like him who I intend for you to bless.
Finally, two high school students share Frostys and French fries with me sitting on a swing set on a beautiful afternoon, but we share more than snacks; we share secrets. They confide their biggest, deepest secrets in me; they entrust me with fragile information. This is true, honest, holy ground.
This is who you are and what you do. Persevere.