I’ve recently experienced love from so many people and I wanted to list a few things that sustain me:
- Encouragement: When you’re not encouraged you begin to notice how much you take it for granted. I remember one summer when I experienced no encouragement at all and it was the first time I ever noticed it. For someone else to see your fruit of your labor, to see your work, to see that you even exist (you’ll understand this if you read Dostoevsky’s Notes From the Underground).
- Desire/Passion: I have a desire to discover the truth and to use that truth for whatever purpose it has in and of itself. This is not an arbitrary goal I have, I believe it’s a divinely instilled telos for my life. If you’re not passionate about something you’ll have no incentive and apathy will plague your mind and heart.
- Intellectual Substance: During times of doubt, confusion, despair, depression, and those times of apathy you have something to back up your faith. Sometimes I feel weak in my faith, yet my faith has a foundation for truth and reason. My intellectual endeavors have had practical implications on my life. The more I know God and discover who he is the greater our relationship with each other becomes. It’s the same with any other relationship with a friend our spouse, the more you know them the greater love you have for each other. God already knows me more than I know myself, I now have an eternity to discover more of him.
- Worship: Worship isn’t belittling yourself to make God seem bigger, it’s realizing your place in this universe and in the heart of God and then responding to that. I’d encourage you to have a realistic understanding of your rebellion against God, past and present, and then try to understand God’s relentless pursuit for you. Consider who you were before you were saved. God gave you the breath to blaspheme his very name, your eyes to see the things that have made him weep for you, the heart and mind to devise evil and carry out your evil. God gave you that breath to share knowledge of him to others, your eyes to see his works, and your heart and mind that you may respond to him with a renewed mind and repentant, passionate heart for him. Just think about how he overcame all of this to make you new (and his current pursuit to make you holier).
- Prayer: This is incredibly profound, yet it’s probably my weakest spiritual discipline. Try not communicating anything to a loved one for a while and see what that does to your relationship. Now apply that to your relationship to God. Profound…
- Teleology: If God didn’t exist then I would have no objection meaning, purpose, or value. I recently wrote a paper on teleology, consider my closing thoughts on the issue.
- Paradox: I don’t know what it is but the paradoxes and mysteries of life, as depressing, frustrating, and annoying as they can be, have become integrated in every day living for me. It’s my Romans 7 moments, my Solomon in Ecclesiastes moments, those moments where I’m reconciled by God after I chase after the wind. Vanity of vanities, all is vanity without God.
Don’t be upset because I didn’t say “Jesus” as any of the points. None of this would happen apart from the work of God. These are merely parts of an aggregate of God’s work. I hope this can initiate some reflection for you.