life

When You Live Like the Dead: How to Embrace Life, Part 2

(Yesterday I shared with you that sometimes I struggle with feeling numb on the inside, like I’m not really living life. You can find the first part here; today I share part 2. Let me encourage you to really read the verses I’ve included. Don’t gloss over them–let the soul-satisfying words of Scripture saturate your heart.)

I hum the song to myself, tears stinging my eyes as I put my baby girl back to sleep. Why don’t You hear me? Why don’t You answer me?

Tired of the trite answers and empty routines, my soul cries out for something more. I want to LIVE! I whisper heavenward, the tears streaming down my face. Please tell me there’s something more to the Christian life than this soul-deadening numbness, this Christian mundane.

I pick up my Bible and thumb to the familiar passage:

1 Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters;
and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.
3 Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live.

~Isaiah 55:1-3

Photo courtesy of Carsten Linke

My heart resonates with the invitation, and I take it gladly.

I’ve known that the calling is to a Person, not a lifestyle, but over the course of many weeks and months of living in this counterfeit world, I’ve lost sight of Jesus. Life had become a series of things to do instead of a walk with my Beloved. And that kind of life has joy-quenching consequences.

Gingerly stepping into His presence, I allow His light to fill me, His song to pulse through me. I soak in His goodness, mercy, and love as He invites me to forsake my unfruitful ways and return to Him (Isaiah 55:7). I repent of my wayward ways and celebrate His promise of a great harvest for the Word sown in my heart (v. 10-11). And then this–this glorious thought:

12 You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown,
for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.”

~ Isaiah 55:12-13

Photo courtesy of Jessi

Joy. Peace. Songs. Clapping. Dancing.

My deadened soul awakens to this promise of life. Why have I allowed this cloud of sadness to envelop me when here the King of Life promises a life abundant:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

~ John 10:10

The thief has done enough damage already. No more. I come to the Fountain of Life, parched for a drink that will satisfy forever:

Whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.

~ John 4:1-14

Eternal life. What a glorious thought! Jesus laid down His life willingly so that I may have life eternally and abundantly. And instead I busy myself with this and that, filling the days with half-hearted attempts to counterfeit the promise of my Savior. As C. S. Lewis so aptly put:

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses

Jesus calls out to the crowds two millennia ago and to your heart and mine today:

37 “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.

~John 7:37-39

life

Photo courtesy of Kevin Dooley

God is not a God of the dead, but the God of the living (Luke 20:38). The living. He calls me and all those who are tired of the same old rat race to come to Him for something radically different, fulfilling, life-altering. Jesus died so that I might live. And not just today, but live a life of overflowing joy and abundant goodness forever. What a thought! “Christ in us, the hope of glory,” Paul exclaims in Colossians 1:27. Glory! Hallelujah!

As I hum and rock my baby to sleep, I wonder: Am I living that abundant life right now? If it cost Jesus His own precious life, ought I not treasure it and pursue it, guard it and celebrate it? Why yes, soul. Yes!

And what might that look like in the day-to-day? For each of us it might look slightly different.

For me, abundant life today means

  • being present in the moment and allowing the Holy Spirit to overflow into all the nooks and crevices of my life.
  • putting down the smart phone when I nurse my daughter and wandering at her little hands, eyelashes, nose, and ears.
  • soaking up the sun, admiring the blue sky, and looking–really looking–at the changing colors of the leaves.
  • lighting the red Crisp Apple candle and letting its fragrance warm the house.
  • writing my friend that note of encouragement–and actually putting it in the mail this time.
  • practicing thanksgiving in the hard, the ugly, the discouraging; though the sorrow may last for the night His joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).
  • allowing that song of joy to escape my lips as I wash the dishes and sweep the floors.

This isn’t a list of things to do. No. That would kill the joy. This is the spontaneous overflowing of a joyful and grateful heart that was given new life!

Why live like the dead? Rejoice in the gift of life today and eternally, life abundantly. Bless the Savior for His miraculous gift of new life and be a blessing to others as well.

What about you? Do you ever find yourself caught in the ho-hum of the mundane? How do you return to the Fountain of Life and embrace joy? What does life eternal and abundant look like in your day-to-day?