For the last two months, I’ve been regularly going to cryotherapy and have been super-pleased with the results. True to form, I have continued to research and learn more about the process and (surprise surprise) it has me thinking in analogies again. Why am I bringing up cryotherapy in a musing where I usually speak about more spiritual matters? Well, as an admitted science-nerd, I can acknowledge that I LOVE learning new things and totally geek-out when I am able to begin making connections that I was not making previously. So, imagine the incredible amplification of my geek-dom when I began connecting concepts of thermal energy in science with spiritual heart-space!
So, here goes: I have had some interactions with a few individuals lately where I have left the interaction feeling…off…like something was not right but there wasn’t any huge statement or action that I could point to and say “It was that.” It was bizarre because after each of these interactions, the only word that really came to mind when I was thinking of the off-ness, was “Cold.” (Science geek-out warning!) If you think way, way back to middle schools science classes, you may remember a little bit about energy…but specifically thermal energy…things like cold not being a real thing…it’s really just the absence of heat. Or how energy is not created or destroyed (much like matter) but can change forms (First Law of Thermodynamics.) Or how heat energy always travels from areas of higher concentration to areas of lower concentration (Second Law of Thermodynamics) which ultimately results in an evening-out of heat energy between the two or more objects unless they are separated. (Think about leaving a mug of hot coffee on the kitchen counter and forgetting about it. When you return in a couple of hours, the coffee, the mug, the countertop, and the air in the room are all the same temperature…which just aggravates you more because now you are caffeine-deprived and the coffee is cold!)
With that information in mind, now think about the interactions that I have had where I could only describe the other person’s contribution as “cold.” I now know why it bothered me and felt off! During the conversations, I was excited and animated and…invested. I was passionate about the topic…so much so that I was willing to personally sacrifice energy and finances and time. In each instance, the other person *should* have been similarly jazzed but just wasn’t. I didn’t see any investment from them, didn’t perceive any passion in them, and in each instance, I definitely did not see them sacrificing any time, thought, finances, etc to the situation. Now, like I said before, there was no statement or action that was antagonistic…but I now get why it bothered me: My excitement and investment was high and theirs was low to non-existent…so in the course of the interaction, some of my heat, for lack of a better analogy, was leached out of me and that is why I was vexed.
Why the heck am I talking about thermodynamics and cold conversations? Well, I guess it’s because it was spiritual in nature. The topic being discussed in each instance was seemingly a topic that both participants should have been invested in because both have been called to a place of service or ministry. But in each instance, there was a lack of desire to put out any energy or effort for others…which, if I’m not mistaken, is the antithesis of service or ministry because it creates a posture of only receiving (keep think heat analogy.)
So, here are my conclusions about personal interactions using thermodynamics as an analogy:
We are all capable of leaching someone else’s energy, passion, and excitement and we should be careful about doing that indiscriminately because I think that makes us responsible for diminishing those resources.
If we are jazzed about something and have a “calling” concerning it, we are capable of sharing some of that energy and excitement with others.
If we find ourselves to be passion-vampires, it might be time to consider a change because it is no longer service or ministry if we are the constant takers. Revelation 3 says “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” **Note: the water described here had many health benefits when hot (because hot water has more energy and can consequently hold more minerals in it.) If the water was cold, it was at least refreshing, even if it wasn’t medically beneficial. Luke-warm water had neither quality.**
Matthew 7:6 says “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” So, I think it is important, as mission-sharers, to pay attention to where we donate our “heat.” If the other person never gets warmer…then we may need to move elsewhere for a time so as to not become drained of warmth and thus rendered ineffective.
It is important to remember who our heat-source is. John 15 says “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
Ok, if you have made it this far, I’m truly impressed…you are patient and able to follow the ramblings of an enthusiastic nerd. Here is the time where I flip the tables on you: How are you doing with this? What are you passionate about? What are you doing to pursue that passion? How are you connecting to others and ultimately serving them through your passion? If you aren’t, what changes could you make in that area? If this is foreign to you, what types of things in life sound fun and energizing to you? How can you regularly incorporate that into your life? Do you have passion vampires in your life? How could you draw some healthy boundaries where they are concerned? Finally, are you connected with your heat-source? If you aren’t, losing all of your own heat is inevitable, exhausting, and frustrating…so in what ways is God calling you to connect with him?
My prayer today is that we would be attentive and encouraging to others as they pursue God and that we would learn to better appreciate and support passions and skills that might be different from our own so as to not dampen the efforts of people who are on mission with us. Also, I am praying that we would be discerning of when and how to use our gifts and passions in our pursuit of serving the Lord. Much love friends.