Last week I took all four children to the dentist. There were x-rays, fluoride, scraping, and flossing. There were a couple of new cavities. I also recall a tiny little lecture about the perils of thumb sucking.
Shiny golden coins were handed out and the kids got to get prizes rendered from brightly-colored machines. There were treats from mommy afterward because the children were quite brave.
The next day all four kids woke up armed with shiney new toothbrushes. Inspired to fight the plaque, they brushed their teeth (before breakfast), and flossed. I think someone even asked me where the mouthwash was.
This is a phenomenon I like to call “The day after the dentist”.
I’ve seen it before.
We all do it.
Something happens to remind us how important, valuable, or exciting something is, and we’re on fire!
But inevitably, even when we’re really gung-ho about something, after a while, the novelty wears off. The newness is gone and the inspiration dies.
It reminds me of cooking.
I love cooking.
As a new bride, I was determined to cook healthy, delicious meals every day! And I did, for a while. A few years even. Then, life got more complicated and busy, and before I realized it I was making 18 home-cooked meals a day (and countless snacks). I hated the very thought of setting foot in the kitchen! I realize now, that even the things we are passionate about, can get old when we’re asked to do them long-term.
It doesn’t really matter what gets us excited for change. We might hear a speech or sermon. We might get lost in a good article or blog. Maybe we watch a great television show or documentary that moves us in a special way. I’ve even gotten excited about something new after meeting a new friend.
And then we are inspired.
We start buying more organic groceries.
Some might begin to persue adoption or foster care.
We might swear off carbs for a while.
We could open the Bible more.
It could be a new habit of fasting.
We join a gym.
We clean out the pantry and burn all the high-fructose corn syrup.
But just like my dear children, we adults tend to forget the urgency with which we were once inspired. How quickly we forget the thing that mattered so much to us such a short time ago.
Inspiration gives way to convenience. Good intentions surrender to forgetfulness, laziness, and even resentment.
How quickly we tire of doing the things God asks us to do!
What can we do to keep the fire burning? How to keep ourselves inspired to do what’s right even after it’s not fun anymore?
How do I keep my kids flossing her teeth?
I believe the Bible has the answer.
Galatians 6:9 says,
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
If we do not give up.
That’s the tough part, right? The not giving up after the excitement fades. Reality seeps in, and we start to see how hard it really is to do the things God is asking us to do. We get tired of it. It’s not fun anymore.
But I encourage you to keep pressing on. Even in the things you gave up on long ago.
Dust off the Bible.
Return to church.
Stop eating ice cream.
Take a walk.
Turn off the T.V.
Open a book.
Floss your teeth.
Live every day like it’s the day after the dentist!
Only you know the things that you’ve given up on. Only the Holy Spirit can reveal to you why you gave up on them. Make Phil. 3:14 your anthem:
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Envision healthy teeth. Picture a deeper relationship with your Creator. Remember the importance of healthy meals shared around a family dinner table.
Think of the end result.
“Let us not become weary in doing good,for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
I’d love it if you’d share the things that you need to persevere in. I look forward to hearing all about them in the comments below!
Writing in answer to His call,