The undesirable life...

Joshua 24:15
But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."

I'm 33 years old. There are days when I feel like I'm just starting to understand what it is to be a man. For many years, I've allowed my life to be governed by doing what feels right. This, I'm learning, is quite different from doing what is right. Infatuation and adrenaline and optimism have taken me as far as they can. They are not very durable vehicles of truth. They break down easily and leave you stranded roadside. They carry you through initial seasons of life in your twenties. But infatuation can only carry a marriage for so long. Adrenaline can only transport you around in a job for so long. Optimism is impotent to weather the unfortunate realities of living in a ransacked world. Convenience won't cut it. Emotions, for what they are worth, struggle to anchor/center you to make it to the end of life as a survivor, let alone a victor. Too many years of my life have been spent serving the taskmaster of "going with my gut". Being that I'm gutted almost everyday by something I witness or someone I encounter, my guts aren't what they used to be...they are insufficient to buoy me in storms of life. Guttin' it ain't cuttin' it like it did in my twenties. I don't know how to convey these thoughts with any more pathos than that.

This verse...this Joshua verse...really means something to me now. The funny thing about truth is that it will wait around for you as long as it takes for you acknowledge it as such. It doesn't force itself upon you. Truth doesn't have to jockey for position or legitimacy. It knows what it is. It's secure about its timeless value and changeless nature. Truth is relaxed. It flexes without changing and manuevers without moving. I love that.

This particular verse has waited around a while for me to revisit it and revalue it. And I do. "If serving the Lord seems undesirable to you..." Man, I love that. This is what happens in your thirties (allow me to make a blanket statement for the purpose of a point)...things that used to be desirable and loaded with feeling and passion and youthful optimism and emotions and gut-level living...don't float so easily upon these choppy waters. You feel your boat leaking and your heart sinking in that sea. Philisophical, Theoretical, Hypothetical...these things start to fade and REALISTIC starts to force itself upon you, like it or not. The alledged life is now being called into question and the apparent life is asking you to give an account. What is desirable is fine and good, but what happens when they start to disagree with what is right? Hugh? What do you do when you don't feel it like you used to? What do you do when you're not "in love" with her or him or it and them or there or that? What do you do when you're not in the mood, when you've lost that "loving feeling"? That's what Joshua is interacting with here in his faith community. What if living for God, and the cultural norms He's inviting us to comply with, starts to become undesirable to you...what do you do then?

He talks about freeing ourselves from the things our forefathers did, believed, felt and knew to be the "code of ethics", the "modes of operation"...he talks about seperating from the things that are held in high regard in the "land in which you're living" that pressure you to conform and comply. And man do we have "role models" from our forefathers and from our current culture that are leading us down cul-de-sacs of futility as it relates to "doing life".

"But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord." When feelings fade. When the rush is flushed. When the pep has lost its step. When the joy becomes coy. Joshua says this is what will happen. Not I might, not I should, not I'll try. I Will.

And it's a me thing. It's not a you thing. It's not comparing myself to what someone else is doing and measuring myself against the life of another. It's hearing God tell me what me is the best me. It's God directing me to make decisions regarding my household, my kids, my values, my boundaries, my discipline, my living room. It does little good to use other households as a benchmark to determine familial success. I will always and easily find the bottom feeders and gauge my personal take on normal using abnormal data to bring gladdening, yet deceptive relief.

Going after God has to be measured with "You and Your family" doing what's right regardless of the patterns of forefathers or the trends of "nowfathers". God will father us past the desireables to the Truth. When desire diminishes, I must set my sails to catch the wind of truth...truth that stands apart from will power and instinct and sensitivity and fads...truth that is relaxed and, as such, relaxing.

I want my house to serve God. With and without desire. With and without applause. With and without popularity. With and without government. With and without national support. With and without the amenities of America. With and without the church. With and without friendship. With and without our version of Christianity. With and without anything that you could think of. I'm not saying with "or" without. I'm saying with and without. I just don't want my commitment to lead my family to be dependent on that which is fallible, undependable. I want my commitment to be tethered to truth...to Truth Himself. He's the same yesterday, today and forever. And the older I get, the more that means to me.

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