A Return to Form

by Andy Wood on June 1, 2016

in Allocating Your Resources, Five LV Laws, Insight, Life Currency, LV Cycle, Principle of Freedom

path(Fumes, Form, and Fashion, Part 2)

Something in the woods near his grandfather’s farm seems to call to Adam. Ever since he was a little boy and his dad took him hiking or hunting there, this is the place where Adam, now a father himself, returns.  It doesn’t happen nearly as often or nearly enough these days. After all, Adam has responsibilities and stresses, and there never seems to be enough time.

For Phillip, it means a return to old disciplines that kept him in good shape throughout his 20s.  Now pushing 40, the problem for Phillip isn’t knowing what to do. It’s finding the will to actually do it.

Jacob follows the trail of his biblical namesake.  Just as the Lord called the patriarch back to Bethel – a place where he had previously encountered the Lord – so also Jacob is sensing a stirring to return to a place of spiritual life and growth he has known in the past.

Each of these are examples of a powerful and important tool of renewal and restoration, regardless of who you are.  But this is particularly true of men.  It’s why you often hear football coaches talk about “going back to the fundamentals.”  The biblical language mentions things like “remembering the former days.”  Check this out:

Thus says the Lord,
“Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths,
Where the good way is, and walk in it;
And you will find rest for your souls… (Jeremiah 6:16).

Back to the Beginning

In the previous post I mentioned that if you’re running on fumes and need to find a place of renewal, the best place to start is where we got our start from the beginning and see where God created life in the first place.  There in the Genesis story of creation, you find three creation words.

When God created the universe, He spoke worlds into being. With creative force that manifested something literally out of nothing but an idea, His word brought life – and still does.

But when God created the first man, He did something completely different.  First, He used a model.  “Let us make mankind in our image,” He said (Genesis 1:26).  That was unlike anything else he did.

Second, he formed the man from the dust of the ground.

Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being… (Genesis 2:7).

Third, he gave Adam a purpose. Specifically, He gave him instructions to be fruitful and multiply, replenish the earth, eat from whatever trees or vines he pleased, but to avoid the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

All of this is what I call the process of forming, and it didn’t stop in Eden.  When a person today chooses to follow Christ, the Lord begins a process of re-forming the image of Christ in him (Galatians 4:19).  It’s a life-long process.

What Does This Have to Do With Renewal?

When God created Adam, He formed him in His image from the dust of the ground and gave him instructions.  This speaks of design, structure, and order. It speaks of doing, not just speaking.

And interestingly enough, when a man is under duress (and women to a lesser degree), he tends to return to a world of form.  To a place of doing, where things have structure and order to him.

Where life once made sense.

Where growth and development was real.

Where things were clearer and simpler.

Life in a broken world has a tendency to pull us away from that.  Sometimes we don’t know when we’re adding too much weight to our load.  Sometimes we forget, get too distracted, or think we’re too big, too old, too whatever to maintain the old disciplines or cleave to the old structures.

Hello fumes.

Happy Burnout to you… Happy burnout to you…

That’s when form comes calling. Sometimes it’s a gentle whisper. Sometimes it’s a desperate shout…  Go back!

Go back to the days when you were intentional about your personal growth.

Go back to the habits and disciplines that had you moving in a healthy direction.

Go back to the basics of your purpose – why are you here in the first place?

Go back to the place or attitude where you last (or first) encountered a God of life and power.

Go back to the place where you received the instructions, heard the call, or discovered a new mission.

Go back to the scenes and locations – physical or otherwise – where you last knew you were definitely on the right road.

This isn’t a call to try to resurrect or re-live your past. It is a call to reconnect to your form – your purpose.

How Long Has it Been?

Maybe it’s time to yank the cord and ask the driver of that bus you’re on to pull over and let you off.

Or maybe it’s time to get your fat butt out of the recliner – literally or figuratively – and do something.

Maybe it’s time to remember your old paths and reacquaint yourself with those forgotten, life-giving habits, places, and relationships.

Maybe it’s time to recognize the need your partner has – typically I’m speaking to wives here (hang on, your time is coming in the next post) – to circle back to doing things “Old School” or nourishing his soul roots in some forgotten places. That can be true for some women, but it is certainly true for most men.

Maybe it’s time to go back…

…to the place(s) where life makes sense…

…to the place(s) where you knew why you were here and were alive with purpose…

…to the place(s) where you knew what the next right thing to do was…

…to the place(s) where you were sure that there God was breathing life into you…

…and you were a living soul.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Martha Orlando June 1, 2016 at 4:23 pm

Gives me pause as I think about that old (and maybe not so true) adage – “You can’t go home again.” Hmm. Maybe you simply need to return to that place where you felt grounded and at peace in order to face the uncertain future. Wonderful thoughts, Andy, and I’m eagerly waiting for your installment regarding women.
Blessings!
Martha Orlando´s last blog post ..You Can Take The Pastor Out Of The Church, But . . .

Andy Wood June 1, 2016 at 7:36 pm

It would be interesting to see how you and Danny might compare in approaching this.

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