I made it. Eight weeks of Checkpoints have come and gone, and all I can think is how I need to go through the book again. I’m more cognizant of the parts of life the book covered, and how God works in those areas. Because of the scripture memorizations, I focus more on studying what I read, and not just simply reading. Overall, I’d say my enthusiam for God has grown incrementally.
If it’s one thing I’ve learned over the last two months, it’s that daily changes lead to life changes. Focusing on one aspect can affect another; almost like steps. We have to care enough to put the energy into making the change however. When we stop caring, that’s when apathy sets in. We become more focused on what WE feel needs to change versus what God desires to change in us. We focus on the external, i.e., how we look, where we live, the car we drive, whereas God focuses on the internal. The only true change comes from God anyway, so allow Him to work.
As has been pointed out more than once while going on this journey through Checkpoints, day one of each week is foundational. Week 8 is only slightly different. Apathy feeds into self-centeredness, yet apathy can itself be fed by self-centeredness. Pride is another aspect of self-centeredness. As stated about apathy, the focus on self gets in the way of doing God’s will. We’re no earthly or spiritually good to God when we can’t get out of our own way. No matter how it manifests itself (pride, or depression) being self-centered puts us closer to being like the enemy than it does Christ. Jesus came to serve, and if He’s our example, then we should do the same. That will take our sight off of us, and put it where it needs to be; on Him.
To experience the full joy that enthusiasm can bring, we have to be comfortable in our own skin. Insecurity robs us of that joy. When we aren’t secure within ourselves, we really are unsure of our Identity. If our identity is to be found in Christ, and we’re not sure of it, then are we really trusting Christ? Insecurity within ourselves will manifest itself in other areas of our life. We won’t be confident around others, nor will we actively take hold of the promises of God, because we shall always question Him. As Paul stated in 2 Timothy 1:7, “God didn’t give us a Spirit of fear…”, and ultimately that is what insecurity is; fear. We must allow Christ to strengthen us by seeking Him, and studying His word. Not only will we find renewed strength, but we’ll find ourselves as well.
Insecurity isn’t the only thing that will rob us of our enthusiasm for God. Having feelings of burnout will, also. Another name for it is exhaustion, or fatigue. Burnout is what happens when we push past our internal limits consistently. If we don’t take the time to rest, our body can betray us, and we won’t have energy to do what brings us joy. Even Jesus drew away from everything and everyone except God, so He could rest and let His spirit be refreshed. Think about that. Even the supernatural being that is Christ needed refreshing. We must listen to our bodies and rest when it tells us to.
If we push past burnout, as some of us are apt to do, we’ll fall into a state of depression. Feelings of hopelessness, despair, and thoughts of giving up all accompany depression. Rest isn’t the only thing we’ll need if we reach this stage. Focus, direction, and support will all be needed. In these times, it’s vitally important to have the Word “hidden in our heart”. We’ll also need to ensure our mental and physical wellness is tended to. Depression is not something fallen into easily, nor is it something we get out of easily. However, if we take the time to figure out what caused it, and how to combat it, it can be overcome.