what i've learned along the way
Habituation vs. Exhilaration
Published on April 1, 2007 By lobsterhunter In Misc
Have you ever bought a new watch? When you first slip it on your wrist, you are keenly aware of its presence. The band rubs against your skin, and you find yourself glancing down, inspecting the clock more frequently than usual. Your thoughts habitually turn toward this new accessory and you might even show it off to your friends.

After a couple of days, the novelty starts to wear off, and although you are still aware of the new watch, it doesn’t consume your thoughts. Weeks pass, and before you know it, you slip your watch on without even noticing it’s there. It starts to fit so comfortably, you don’t recognize its presence anymore.

Habitation has begun . . .

This interesting psychological fact was brought to my attention during my weekly Sunday night Bible study. The speaker discussed the issue of finding God in the ordinary and posed questions about our interaction with an invisible Creator. Bruce asked us to reflect on how our relationship with God has changed over the years, and he led us back to the place when we first became believers. Most of the folks in my class remembered being intensely passionate about their new found faith, and the consensus was that in the beginning, there was a naïve, excitement that accompanied their decision to accept Christ.

It is during times like these that we experience spiritual highs that make us feel like we can conquer the world. Somehow we escape the realities of existence for a short season, and in many ways this time prepares us for what is to come. This “on fire” feeling pushes us deeper into a more intimate relationship with God, and we seem to be fully aware of His presence in our lives.

Over the course of time this intensity begins to fade, and our love for the Lord starts to wax and wane. The demands of the world erode our enthusiasm, and before we know it, God seems distant. It’s not that we’ve stopped loving Him . . . It’s just that we’ve begun to grow more comfortable in our relationship.

Most biblical scholars would be quick to point out that it’s not God who has moved . . . It’s us. We lose our focus, and we allow that sense of exhilaration to be robbed from us. But what if this is just the natural progression of love? Don’t all relationships ebb and flow?

For the first time in my life, I am in a committed relationship that is still in the early stages of development. The thrill of a budding romance has exceeded my expectations, and I’m thoroughly enjoying each step of the journey. I’ve found myself inquiring about other people’s stories, and most folks are more than willing to share their experiences. All the couples who tell me about meeting their special someone often feel the need to warn me . . . “Tenille, this season will pass you know. These butterfly feelings don’t last forever . . .”

Truth be told, I get a little irritated with the constant reminder that love is evolutionary. I am a realist, and I know they’re speaking from the voices of experience, but sometimes truth stinks! I want the sense of anticipation I currently feel to last a lifetime, but what if it doesn’t? Will I be okay with this?

I guess the ultimate question is, “Can I accept the changing nature of love?” Perhaps the answer lies somewhere between the two extremes.

on Apr 02, 2007
I enjoyed your thoughts here.

I've been a Christian for many years now and I know about the ebb and flow of love both in the physical and the spiritual. It's all about focus. I have to say, the more I stay in God's word and study the more excited I become. The more sermons I hear the more on fire I become. The more I desire to stay in the light of the spirit the bouncier my step is.

Love doesn't have to wax and wane becoming just a comfortable love with no punch. It can be much more than that as long as we keep our focus. The world does have a great pull at us, but we must resist it. When we do, it forces us to turn to him and by doing so his spirit washes over us again and again filling us with the peace and joy that only he can provide.

As for physical relationships....I have to honestly say I'm more in love with my husband of 25 years than ever. I went thru that period of mundane married existence in the middle years burdened with kids, jobs, schooling etc. Again, the focus has to be there or you do get pulled away. keep the focus, and you'll be ok.

on Apr 02, 2007

Truth is, everybody's right.  It does wear off...a little too quickly if you ask me. *shrugs*

I have nothing insightful to add.  I can only say that love stays.  Maybe I'll blog about it laters.