By E. M. Gregory
“In bad times and good, I have never lost my sense of Zest for life”
Christmas 2017 has come and gone. It’s January 4, 2018—four days into the New Year. After reviewing my list of goals for this year, I am feeling apathetic. My goals look like the everyday to-do list. Sure, there are things on the list that are enjoyable—like take a craft class and schedule two long weekend trips, but even these enjoyable things, are not making my heart thump any faster.
As a child, I was jump-out-of-my skin excited for the first day of school. There were so many new things to look forward to: New Rainbow Bright inspired clothes and saddle shoes; New My Little Pony backpack and lunch bag; New friends; New enthusiastic teachers; New sides of the playground. I always looked forward to the first days of school—even throughout my college years.
The only days more thrilling than the first days of school were the holidays. Memories of parading around my neighborhood in a princess posse with my pumpkin bucket for Halloween treats, hunting high and low for my Easter basket, as well as losing the war with my eyelids in hopes of seeing Santa every Christmas Eve, are still etched in my heart.
New should evoke a sense of excitement, right? Maybe the excitement won’t be that of a child waiting for Santa, but am I naïve to believe that there should still be some enthusiasm for a New Year? Or, is 36 years old about the time when the thrill really is gone?
I have checked myself…I don’t believe I am depressed. I don’t dread the New Year. I don’t feel sad or angry. No extreme highs. No extreme lows.
Rather, I am experiencing days, weeks, months, and years rolling into the next. It is all happening too fast! I am even losing track of my age! When the kids at the tutoring center ask me how old I am, I often find myself doing the math.
No. I am not going senile! But, I would like to feel a sense of wonder again. I don’t want to live solely to complete my daily to-do lists. My type A personality will ensure the lists get done. Rather, I want to feel excitement for at least some of the days ahead.
I am on a quest for zest this year.
First, I wanted to make sure this was a godly desire, so I asked the Lord.
A scripture came to my heart, “If you are lukewarm, I will spew you out of my mouth” (Revelations 3:16).
Yikes! I hadn’t thought about how my lack of enthusiasm for life could be connected to my possible lack of enthusiasm for the Lord. I know deep in my heart that I love the Lord; I just don’t feel joyous excitement about him. I took this scripture as a sign that the Lord wants me to have zest for him.
A few moments later, another scripture came. “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor serving the Lord” (Romans 12:11).
Alright. I might be doing a good job completing my to-do lists; but apparently, it matters with what state of mind and heart I do them. Zeal and fervor are both words that are synonymous with the words passion, excitement, and enthusiasm. Zest is having GREAT passion, excitement, and enthusiasm.
Oh boy! Maybe I am setting the bar too high with wanting to have zest? Perhaps, I should settle on a healthy goal of simply achieving some enthusiasm in this new year.
I prayed, “Lord what should I do?”
I heard in my heart, “Whatever you do, do it wholeheartedly as something done for the Lord” (Colossians 3:23).
Oh, what a relief. I was wondering if God wanted me to make some earth shattering changes. Nope. I was sent a reminder: whatever I chose to do each day—whether that’s clean my house, wash and fold clothes, mail out cards, help students raise their ACT scores, or even visit with a friend over a hot cup of tea—it’s about my heart attitude.
These scriptures confirmed that I have a lukewarm heart; I am unenthusiastic about God, my relationships, and my daily life activities. My word for the year was right on point. I need zest!
In hopes to begin my quest for zest, I did more research. I discovered zest is also about approaching life as an adventure and remaining motivated even in challenging situations or tasks. This understanding helped me enhance my goals. I created a vision board, so I can picture how I want life to feel—colorful, vibrant, and energizing. Instead of a to-DO list; I created a to-BE picture. I want to be filled with purpose and joy, so I can dance like King David!
Of course, real and lasting zest can’t be achieved with only a vision board. I know I need God to work in my heart. Knowing zest is biblical is enough motivation for me.
I invite you to join me in my quest for zest. Wouldn’t we rather be jump-out-of-our skin excited for God and life, than to be lukewarm and spewed out of God’s mouth?