March 28th, 10:46pm Pacific Standard Time
It's late here in California and even later back home. I'll go to bed tonight to the muted crashing of waves and the dim light of the moon on our bedroom window, but not just yet. Right now I'd rather write.
I left for California yesterday for the week, to enjoy a favorite place with a close friend from college. I didn't sleep well on Monday night in anticipation of my early Tuesday morning flight to Los Angeles. I landed at LAX around 10am yesterday before Courtney, who was en route from Denver, and I made the drive to Santa Barbara. We're staking ground here for a couple of days before heading down to Costa Mesa. I know perfection doesn't exist on this earth, but I think the coast of California has to come pretty close.
In the process of preparing for vacation-- for the beach, for fresh sushi, for great conversation with a close friend, for early morning runs, for drives up the 101, for simply being out of my routine-- I thought about the way I felt as I packed my carry-on. I was eager, anxious, and down right giddy for the much-needed time away. I was anticipating slow mornings and late nights in a beautiful place, one that almost resembled another planet. I simply couldn't wait for the change of pace.
Sometimes my mind goes off in directions I can't predict. My brain has a mind of it's own (is that a thing?). Tonight I had one of those moments. I began to wonder if, at every point in my life, I felt as excited as I did preparing for this vacation out West. "Good stress" I believe they call it, the kind that propels you forward into life. It doesn't sound half-bad in theory, but I know it would become old news after awhile. The human body wasn't made to live in a constant state of anticipation. More than anything, 26 years experience on this earth tells me I should know better than to expect consistent excitement and joy at every turn, and I'm totally okay with it.
Yet more often than not, I feel as if I should live in a constant state of excitement about my relationship with God.
I wonder when this feeble heart of mine will run out of steam to keep pursuing Him.
I'm sitting here at the edge of our bed at "The Bungalow" as our airbnb is properly named. Just big enough for two. There's a skylight straight above us, exposing the bustling palm leaves and remnants of wildlife unknown. There are fruit trees of all kinds just outside our place-- oranges, lemons, avocados, nectarines-- and it's revealing what a foreign concept it is to me, to have fresh food within my reach. It really does feel like a different planet here.
In the same way, there are so many times when I feel as if God is on a different planet as well. It's hard to feel excitement about a relationship when distance seems to overshadow the good. And although I know He's always present, I don't always feel the desire to be with Him.
Within the past few weeks, I haven't always felt close to God or sparked by His love. Some days I was totally on fire for Him. But in either case, it's been a daily choice to draw near to Him, even when my feelings for Him weren't there. It was in that push, in the moments when I didn't feel excited about Him, that my love for Him grew in a new way.
It's a romantic thing in our world to talk about passion, and although I fully believe there is a place for it, I've come to see covenant love as the most romantic thing of all. We see that with God, who loves us no matter how greatly we mess up or how far we drift away from Him. It's a really, really beautiful concept, but even more beautiful when I'm questioning the very thing I often write about on this blog. That His love is stronger than my apathy.
This season for me means more listening. It means not pretending or hiding behind what I believe I should say as a Christian. It means not basing my belief and love for God simply on how I'm feeling. A season of quiet emotion isn't any less significant than when I'm completely on fire for Him. That is so sweet.
This is a short note, as the title indicates, but it holds a lot of weight for me lately. It's funny how it took a trip 2000 miles from home to awaken it in me, to be able to bring my entire self before the Lord, lack of excitement and all. Covenant love, what a gift!