From the label of a certain familiar protein drink:
How's that for a deep spiritual truth popping up in the unlikeliest of places?
It's a great motto, really - serving as both a reminder of our current predicament, while at the same time offering an incredibly practical solution to the classic question of "How then, shall we live?"
Shake well: Settling is natural.
Yes. Settling is natural. By natural we mean that it is the natural state of affairs. When things are left to themselves, settling occurs...
...in a protein drink...
...in a pond....
...and especially in our lives.
Oh, if only we believed that! If only we accepted fully and unequivocally that, if left unwatched and unguarded, the most natural thing in life is to settle. That unless we are actively doing something to prevent it, settling simply happens!
It's as unavoidable as the Law of Entropy, as cliche as the old admonition that "if you aren't growing, you're dying." (Believe it or not, as distasteful as cliches are to most of us, on occasion they turn out to actually be true.) To stand still is to stagnate. To do nothing is to lose ground. And what's even worse: even trying to maintain your last level of effort wont be enough.
Settling is natural.
There's another somewhat annoying cliche that says: "The Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint." Pretty safe bet you've heard that one. Not ever having been a world class sprinter OR any sort of a marathoner whatsoever, I can't really vouch for any of that. I know it is a terrible thing when that cliche is used as an excuse to tell young, exuberant Christians to "slow down", as if slackening one's pace in the Christian life will somehow make it easier to finish the Race in the same
way it might help a runner finish a marathon.
But that cliche aside, there is one truth that a recreational runner can vouch for: if you set out at a particular pace on the first lap, and do not progressively increase your effort on each successive
lap, you will, before too long, lose your original pace. It will feel the same to you. Only the stopwatch will alert you to what is actually happening.
That's the law of entropy in action: things tend to wind down...come undone...fall apart...settle.
If our assumption of the spiritual life was that it followed the same rules and natural tendencies, if we decided that the only positive sign of growth and health was not maintenance, but rather a steady program of ever-increasing effort...
...what would the honest analysis of your personal spiritual health be?
Settling is Natural.
Do you see some "settling" in your life at the moment? Are you settling for a life of busyness when you had really wanted to live a life of Purpose? Are you settling for "okay" relationships when you once believed that "amazing" relationships were the greatest pleasure in life? Are you settling for time alone with the Lord where you haven't the slightest expectation that He is actually going to meet you there? Are you settling for the kind of person you have become, so far below the Christ-likeness you originally set out to possess?
Settling is Natural.
Change things up a bit. Change them up a lot. Take a trip. Get out of Dodge. Get out of that negative relationship that's holding you down. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Get desperate. Get a "this has to change NOW" attitude. Re-evaluate your goals. Repent of the places you've been settling (it's a derogatory shot at God's character when we settle. It's saying that mediocrity is His plan for us.) to Confess your "settling" with a brother or sister who might just be crazy enough to join you in your desire to shake things up. Do something unpredictable,
unexpected. Go on a mission trip. Go on a spiritual retreat (we've got one, if you're interested!)
Yes, settling is natural.
That doesn't mean you have to put up with it.
Preview POST COMMENT
andrew 6 years ago
Very well written and so true. Thanks for the motivational words.