I don't want to do this any more. Or maybe, I can't do this any more.
Have you ever thought such a thing? Have you ever just come to the end of what you're willing to endure, what you think you're capable of enduring? Life is one day after another after another and some days, it's just too much. You just think, I'm done. I quit. Whatever I do from here on out, it won't be this.
So many times, we want to just give up. We think our lives will be easier if we don't try so hard. It makes perfect sense in the logic of the world; if we're not exerting the effort, it can't possibly be so exhausting. But if we're being honest with ourselves, what we find is that this just isn't true; we're exhausted even after we've given up, even after we've committed ourselves to not trying so hard, to not doing it any more.
We drag ourselves along and plod right through, begrudgingly living our lives that seem to keep moving along with or without our express interest in it. Doing what has to be done because it has to be done, and resenting it all the way.
It's how we spiral ourselves downward into depression and anxiety, into distress and despair. And anyone who has been there knows what a tough funk that is to get out of. For many, it's impossible.
Psalm 51 presents us, then, with a paradox. It gives us the key to keep going. And that key is this: a willing spirit. A willing spirit, says the Psalmist, is sustaining.
Notice that it doesn't say a competent spirit or a capable spirit. Notice that it doesn't say a successful spirit or a spirit of achievement. Notice that it doesn't say a victorious spirit. It just says a willing spirit.
That means a spirit that is ready to embrace whatever God has for it and give it all it's got, whether what you've got today is a lot or a little.
We might compare it to a spirit of adventure.
It's a spirit that's willing to take the next step, that's willing to go on this journey with God without knowing how or where or why. It's a spirit that understands that the present thing is the thing, that all it has to do is what it's asked to do right now. It's a spirit that knows that today is not just one more day in a long series of days; today is the day. Life is now. This is it.
It's a hard switch to make in your mind, from counting your days to counting your opportunities, but that's what a willing spirit requires. A willing spirit recognizes that this is a moment with all of its chances, and it's ready to do what it takes to capitalize on them. For the glory of God. From the depths of rejoicing.
Being willing to move...again...is sustaining because the adventure is always new. The opportunity is always new. The excitement is always right there. It's another door being opened, another path branching off. It's another chance....for life. It puts you right on the edge of hope with every breath and lets you choose all over again to believe in something bigger than yourself. To believe in God and His goodness. To believe in the process and the journey and the grace for it.
Because you wouldn't do it if you didn't believe. A willing spirit believes; that's why it's willing. That's why it's hope.
And we know that hope sustains us because even in our darkest days, even in our darkest times, in those moments when we say that we don't want to do this any more or we can't do this any more, all it takes is a little inkling of hope and all of a sudden, we're in again. All of a sudden, we're ready. Give us one glimpse of something that's about to change, something that's about to be different, something that's about to be good, and we're ready. Let's roll.
A willing spirit holds onto that, all the time. It hangs on with all it's got. It's ready. Because it's hopeful.
Are you willing?
If you are, that in itself will be enough to get you through. The Psalmist says so.
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