I'm on day 13 of The Whole 30 diet, which is designed to eliminate sugar, gluten, dairy and alcohol from your diet. In other words, all of the things that are enjoyable and awesome.
I know I may have mentioned this in a previous devo, but I'm suffering and need to share.
The instruction manual for this diet states the following about the phase of the diet I am happen to be inhabiting at the moment: "This is the part of the program where our brains are desperate to drive us back to the comfort of the foods we used to reward ourselves with."
I know this is true because I was watching a Taco Bell commercial last night and I had this vision of sitting down with a 12-pack of those tacos with the Doritos shell and eating every... single... one.
At this point, I am doing this diet because I have to make some changes in my life. I am not feeling joy about it. There is no happiness here. I am told that it gets better, but right this second, I am putting one foot in front of the other on this one.
This morning I started reflecting on how often we apply that same kind of template to our spiritual lives, and our relationship with God. The results are no better than my current feelings of drudgery about my diet.
You see, when our life of faith becomes motivated by guilt, obligation or a resigned sense of duty, it's easy to lose any sense of joy in it.
Fredrick Buechner once wrote that a Christian who slips into this way of living and being in the world is the kind of person whose "...goodness has become cheerless and finicky, a technique for working on his own guilts, a gift with no love in it which neither deceives nor benefits any for long."
If you are feeling like you're stuck in a bit of a rut when it comes to your faith, I want you to receive this blessing:
May you find ways to experience the joy of your salvation today and every day. May you discover a new sense of purpose when it comes to your life of faith that isn't grounded in a deflating sense of obligation.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.