The sun arises, weaves its light through my window blinds, and I awaken.
I roll over, glance at the clock, and determine whether it’s time to climb out of bed or not. Once out of bed, my day commences. And it follows a certain routine. Shower, dress, eat breakfast, and sit down with that cup of hot tea to contemplate what order of the day there shall be.
Day after day. There’s a certain familiarity to a routine. To having a schedule to follow. Or not.
We breathe in and out without even being aware of the body’s need for oxygen. We consume food for the body’s nourishment and liquid refreshment for its thirst, often times not even remembering what we ate or drank.
We work. We play. We are awake. We are asleep. It happens each day. It’s called living. Or is it?
Oh, the days may vary. One may be filled with much busyness either at work, home, or away. One may be quiet and restful. One may unfold as planned; one may veer so far astray and awry that we find ourselves in distress.
But yet… we continue on. Putting one foot in front of the other. Doing what is necessary. Going through the motions. Living another day, another month, another year, another decade if we’re given that privilege.
Once again the weekly photo challenge prompts me to delve deeper. The theme is “motion” this week and I have several photos that could easily depict this concept. But I deliberately chose one that demonstrates motion as a blur. Because isn’t that how life sometimes feels? Like one big blur. Like each day just runs into the next and nothing about life feels extraordinary.
It’s just motion, going through the motions. Motion keeps us going. Motion keeps us moving forward, but sometimes it propels us backwards too. Motion is good, isn’t it?
I’m reminded of a certain television commercial for a medication that is supposed to help those stricken with arthritis. You know the one which says “a body in motion tends to stay in motion.” I’m certainly not a student of physics, but I do remember that Sir Isaac Newton detailed three laws of motion although I sure don’t claim to understand them.
Instead my thoughts today are that staying ‘in motion’ isn’t always a beneficial thing. You see, going through the motions each and every day just doesn’t seem to be really living, at least it appears that way to me.
And I find that I easily slip into that mode of operation…that going through the motions. In fact, I do it all the time and it causes me to become complacent, apathetic, and just downright bored. I do this in all aspects of my life, my work, my writing, and yes, even in my church.
Just going through the motions isn’t cutting it for me. I don’t want a life merely living one day after another without meaning to it. And for me, meaning and purpose and my very existence is tied up in one bundle – my walk with my Lord. My own personal journey of faith. But I find I’ve even been going through the motions there.
Pondering this while sorting through my photographs for this theme of motion, my mind kept returning to a song, The Motions, by Christian music artist Matthew West. His lyrics kept cycling through my thoughts over and over.
“This might hurt, it’s not safe, but I know that I’ve gotta make a change. I don’t care if I break. At least I’ll be feeling something.
‘Cause just okay is not enough. Help me fight through the nothingness of life.
I don’t wanna go through the motions. I don’t wanna go one more day. Without Your all consuming passion inside of me.
I don’t wanna spend my whole life asking, what if I had given everything instead of going through the motions?”
If you’ve never heard the song, you can listen and see West’s story by clicking here:
I imagine there is a plethora of self-help kind of messages, both in printed form via books and on the internet, about not settling for a life of going through the motions.
No doubt those life coach gurus tell us to not settle for the mundane, the same old same old. Instead I’m sure they urge us to grab life by the collar and go for the gusto. You only have so much limited time in your day, in your life, so go out and try something new. Take up hang-gliding! Shake things up! Live your best life now!
But for me, my guidebook for life isn’t found in some positive living mantra. My guidebook is God’s Holy Word. And my Bible says this: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” ~ Ephesians 5:14-17
Wake up! That’s what my Bible tells me. Wake up from this coma-like trance of life you’ve fallen into…this going through the motions of living.
And I must be careful not to focus on me, my self-centered way of living, which is foolish and accomplishes nothing for the Kingdom of God. Asking for God’s wisdom and guidance in how to live a life of meaning, my daily task is to accept the opportunities that I am given to make a difference in another’s life. A real difference. A difference between life eternal by accepting the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ or a death everlasting by rejecting Him.
How I live my life speaks volumes to others. It’s not just about my words, it’s about my actions. And if I’m just living a life going through the motions, how can I witness about my faith to those around me? I can’t.
I might as well just stand still. And be motionless.
I don’t want to go through the motions. I don’t want to go one more day without passion for my Savior.
“Too many sit at the banquet table of the gospel of Jesus Christ and merely nibble at the feast placed before them. They go through the motions – attending their meetings perhaps, glancing at scriptures, repeating familiar prayers – but their hearts are far away.” ~ Joseph Wirthlin