By Degrees

This pre-Christmas, stream-of-consciousness reflection was originally posted on Bold Cup of Coffee

We hopped from pool to pool, basking in the warmth as we plunged in to escape the cold air. These hot springs, a good pastime for a winter's night, held a lesson for me too. The first pool we entered had a sign telling us the water was 40 degrees. Lured by the nearby milk pool, we switched to its mere 39 degrees and immediately felt a difference. The next pool, at 37.4 felt practically frigid. Now this story isn't about the science of how we adjust to contrasts, nor is it the oft-repeated parable of the frog in boiling water, though on further reflection, maybe it is one and the same


How can what we perceive to be the slightest alteration make such a difference? Faith and fervency, and maybe the little things are really the big things. Now my mind was stirring; something was bubbling up from within. How often do I slack, let things down by a few degrees, stop feeding the flames of my faith? Is the change imperceptible to others? Or maybe just to myself? Certainly my Lord is aware. 

And where does it end? The complacency that struck down a certain hand as it reached out to steady the Holy? The complaining and grumbling of a nation afforded a personalized guidance written across the sky? 

And here my words betray a life seeped in bible stories, referencing my own wisdom or putting another nail in the coffin?

And there are two words I've seen that I can't get out of my head because of how wrong they are together, because of how well they might describe me: Professional Christian

Is this a stage of deconstruction or a wake up call? Who do I want to be? I don't know, but I do know that if I don't have God I have nothing. He IS my life. And yet I'm living low and lukewarm, somehow lazy and busy at the same time. 
Is this a journal entry or something to be shared and why can't it be both? And I want to write more and I want my life to be right, and I want to shine bright as long as I can hide the light. Where does it go and how does it end? 

By degrees. 

We warm and we cool and we live and move and have our being, and some days we wake up and give it all to him, and some days it's enough that we just wake up. Some days we're just going through the motions and some days divine glory breaks in and it is beautiful. Christmas is coming and my heart is once again darkness in need of light. And I thank God that he shows up in ways I don't expect, to remind me that he is God and I am not. For those looking for a conqueror he sends an infant. And so I ask God to send me not what I want but what I need.  Now or tomorrow or by degrees.