It was dark out. Of course, being in the woods with no house lights or street lights only made it feel darker.
Our only source of light was the bonfire, snap, crackling away in front of us.
There were only a few of us, a very small group to begin with, but made even smaller when individuals slowly began to move on.
It was a leadership retreat for high schoolers and young adults. When we first began the nighttime trek, we were instructed to maintain absolute silence.
We were led from one station to the next, given soft instructions, before entering into silence once again.
This particular station had me a bit stumped.
We were brought to a fire and instructed to stare into the flames; we could only move on when we learned something from it.
Our group stood there in silence, the fire crackling and the sounds of nature creating a peaceful backdrop.
Slowly, one-by-one, the group began to dwindle in numbers as they received a word and moved on to the next station.
And there I was, still standing there.
There were a few other people with me, staring into the flames and thinking hard.
And I remember thinking, what in the world am I supposed to learn from this?
As I thought this and rooted around in my head for some sort of inspiration, I noticed something happen in the fire pit.
Although the fire was consuming all the logs at the top of the pit, some of the logs buried underneath them hadn’t caught flame yet.
And while I was watching these logs, a log covered in fire shifted and came to rest on the unlit ones. And when that happened, the flame spread and began to consume the other logs buried.
And it made me think of 2 Timothy 1:6 where Paul tells Timothy this: “I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.”
Another version says, “Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.”
I thought of this because oh so often we wait for someone else to come tend to our fires instead of fanning our fire back into flames.
What do I mean by that?
When Paul was telling Timothy to stir up the gift of God, he was telling him to encourage himself, work on it himself.
And that’s a message we all need to hear.
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard, and admittedly thought, “I just can’t wait until youth camp. Then I’ll be close to God again.”
Or maybe you’ve thought, “I can’t wait until our church’s revival or guest speaker to come. Then I’ll get excited about God again.”
You see, I think a lot of us keep waiting for big moments like church revivals, conferences, youth camp, and all this other stuff to rekindle our fire, but we forget that WE can stir our own selves up.
Watching the logs catch on fire without the poking and prompting of human hands showed me that we don’t have to wait for the big time speaker to lay hands on us, or any of these big moments.
All of that stuff is great, and we should get excited about it and grow from it. But we can’t let those moments be the only time we grow.
We can stir our own selves up. We can fan our flames again.
So I encourage you today: stop waiting for the next big moment, and make that moment happen today.
Play some worship music and usher in His presence. Crack open the Bible and begin to read His Word. Listen to a sermon and learn. Pray and talk with God.
Stir YOURSELF up today.
Maddisen Sauls is the smile and voice behind the Everyday Joy blog as well as the author of the Word of the Week posts and the editor of by leaps and bounds. Throughout her life, Maddisen has worked as a reporter for small town newspapers, a School Age and Preschool teacher, and has acquired her ministerial license.
An avid book reader and lover of the written word, Maddisen is passionate about using her favorite medium to reach the lost and the hurting, and to offer encouragement and hope to those struggling through life.
Following her battle with depression, Maddisen has made it her mission to help other people through this journey and to bring joy to the lives of the people around her.
You can find Maddisen on Instagram @maddisen.paige