My hubby came home from the golf course yesterday and said it was one of his worst games ever. He plays golf for the exercise, fresh air, and refreshment from his work, and usually the ups and downs of golf do not bother him, but sometimes he is frustrated by a bad round. He knows that he can do better.
One of Satan’s lies is that ups and downs are not normal in life, whether in daily events, our golf score, or our emotional life. He has us hoping for ‘always normal’ but I say normal is only a setting on the clothes dryer.
Actually, stability is probably a bit of an illusion. Ups and downs even seem an important part of our existence because God uses them to help us learn to trust Him.
Chambers gets more specific. He says the purpose of the “ups” is to teach us how to live in the “downs.” He used this verse as his reference point:
While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them. (John 12:36)
When I was younger, my moods varied greatly with that physical cycle women have, but I remember realizing that God was using those horrid days of PMS to reveal my wrong attitudes that were hidden or suppressed in my better days. That is, when I was down, God showed me what I needed to deal with when I was up.
Chambers looks at it the opposite way. He says that when we “feel better than our best” we need to realize these times often reveal insights that we should live up to when we do not feel like it. While most of us want to live in that “high” all the time, this will not happen. Instead, the commonplace life should be lifted up to the standard revealed in that high hour. I like his perspective!
He also writes about the laziness that keeps people from acting as if they were on a high after they crash back to earth. I know that danger very well. If I charted it, I could say I’ve one week a month in which I feel like I could conquer anything. I make plans, set goals, and am excited to get things done. However, when that week is over, my incarnate laziness crawls in. I am disappointed in my failure to live up to my ambitions, but Chambers says I need to learn to live in the grey days according to what I saw on the mountain top.
At those low points, it is easiest to cave in and give up, but I should be more like a golfer. The reason a duffer and even a pro keeps going back is that one great shot he made in the last game. He knows he can do it, so he forgets about those double bogies and returns to the course determined to turn them into double eagles.
I need to be realistic; not every day will be “normal” nor will every day find me “up” and full of enthusiasm. Some days will require plugging away and being satisfied that God has shown me a greater standard. He wants me to make choices and take action in light of those ‘up’ days — and not allow laziness, or fatigue, or lack of zeal drive me into a hole.