Do you struggle like me? To have a heart on fire for SOMETHING? To feel you have purpose? Worth?
Has the fire in your lif been snuffed out?
Or is your heart on fire right now?
“Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.” So they took the bull given them and prepared it.
Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.
At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.” 1 Kings 18:25-29
I read these verses in December while going through Ann Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift devotional. In the minutes while I read it, I thought that this was such a crazy story…that things like this don’t happen anymore.
People don’t beg for fire like that these days.
You see, Elijah worshipped the God of the Bible while the prophets of Baal worshipped Baal. So he made a deal with them. Both sides would bring wood and a sacrifice, get it all ready and then call on their God to light the fire. Whoever’s fire got lit was the “winner”. They would know who the true God was.
Absurd and crazy isn’t it? Begging something invisible to light something on fire? That was what I thought at first too…until I realized that I do that everyday.
I don’t ask my gods to light an altar on fire but I sure do ask them to set my heart on fire…to give me purpose, a reason to live, worth, value. I beg for that kind of fire because I have struggled to find those things since I was a teenager.
I will tell you what my gods look like and maybe that will help you identify yours. FOR SURE, running. I was always marathon training and I would turn down any other function in order to not miss a single run. I would miss Summer’s events at school. I would avoid helping out with the kids on Saturdays so that I could get my long run in. If I had a bad run, I would be in a bad mood…until I had a good run. Running dictated my life. Until I got injured and couldn’t run for months. Now what?
I can only get that adrenaline fire so long as my body cooperates.
Another god is sleeping. This is strongly connected to my depression but I will often make this choice to avoid my true feelings and struggles. I convince myself that if I can just sleep a little longer, or take a nap, or go to bed at 6pm, I would wake up renewed, refreshed and on top of the problems burying me down today.
But that never lights my heart on fire…I’m refreshed a little more, but my heart still feels dark.
Or television. I would be so sad when Summer’s dad would come to get her on a Saturday that I would lay on the couch for 6 hours straight watching the same comedy show reruns. When Summer would come home, though, I wouldn’t feel rejuvenated like I thought I would.
Or my phone. Endless scrolling, endless news searches, endless online shopping that I pretend won’t end up in an actual purchase. My kids are asking me to play a game or watch something, and I shoo them away and wait for instagram to set my heart on fire.
Sure, the prophets looked insane dancing and making themselves bleed in order to get their gods to notice them. But I’m not so sure I don’t look any different.
Begging my new sports bra to satisfy me with that ‘new’ feeling…and when that doesn’t last, a new pair of leggings…and when that doesn’t last, some pointless knick knack for my mantle that serves no purpose whatsoever.
Or one more workout – really dancing myself crazy here believing feeling powerful and strong will set my heart on fire.
Or a bottle of wine. No, not a glass or two. A bottle. As quickly as possible to ignite that fire like gasoline.
Or that ‘like’ or ‘follow’ that validates that I have worth or value. That 53 people ‘liked’ my post so I’m 53 times more important today.
But tomorrow I start back at zero.
Tomorrow my fire is out.
Tomorrow I must start my begging and pleading all over again.
But gods didn’t light a fire for the prophets and my gods won’t light my heart on fire…both for the same reasons: they can’t. They don’t have what it takes.
But I’ve been discovering a new thing for the past 2 years. That learning how big God’s love is, is quite the spark. Spark after spark really, because the more you learn it, the bigger you realize it is.
And when you really grasp that that love won’t go anywhere…that even if your earthly road leads you to take your last breath, it’s actually your first breath in heaven…when you realize that God’s purpose and love can’t be snuffed out…well then the fire really starts raging.
Throw whatever you want in the fire, it will continue to burn because troubles here can’t suppress the burning bush of God.
Thoughts…what else do we beg to make us come to life? Children? Spouse? Career? Money? Vacations? Peace and quiet?