Life Lessons from the Heartbeat

Most of you recognize this. It’s a heartbeat. What you might not know is that this is the pattern our lives go through too. I want to look at 4 parts of this pattern to encourage you to keep looking up no matter what season of your life you’re in right now.

The Flatline

In this phase nothing’s happening and the heart is getting ready for another heartbeat. On the surface it looks like nothing’s going on, but the body is gearing up for the next peak. This is life between heartbeats. It’s the season where it feels like nothing’s happening. You go to church, go to school, go to work, day in and day out with nothing extraordinary to report. You hear stories of people going on missions trips to Africa and revivals break out, your friends are planting churches and hundreds of people are getting saved at a time, but the most exciting thing that happens to you is the season finale of your favorite show. What sucks about this period is that it’s not that you’re failing at what you’re doing–you just don’t have the drive to do what you’re doing anymore. Things that used to pump you up aren’t as thrilling now. You used to be able to press in and seek God, but after months or years of silence on God’s end, you’re starting to lose that tenacity you once had and you think to yourself, “What’s the point?” But the night is darkest before the dawn and the heart is stillest before the next beat.

The Rise

After a season of flatness comes the first rise. This might come gradually and speed up with a series of promotions or suddenly when the love of your life proposes out of nowhere. This is where everything in your life seems to be going your way. You’re acing classes, you’re paying off loans, your book’s getting published and it feels like anyone you talk to either gets saved or gets blasted with the love of God when you pray.

The Drop

Unfortunately, no matter how surreal the spiritual high gets and no matter how closely you’re walking with God, what goes up must come down. This part of the heartbeat is called the refractory period and it’s the point where’ it’s physiologically impossible to have another heartbeat. This is the period of your life where it seems like it’s impossible to succeed. Everything is falling apart and if anything can go wrong, it does go wrong. You’re failing classes, you’re getting sick every day, the bills aren’t getting paid, your car’s getting repossessed and no matter how many Bible studies you lead or sermons you preach, no one seems to care and you might as well be preaching to a wall. Then, just when you think things can’t get any worse, they do and you hit rock bottom.

This is where most of us give up and stop moving. Since everything we do fails, it makes sense to just quit. Unfortunately, the only way up is down because the only way out is to fail as much as possible as quickly as possible. Kind of like Moses going back to Pharaoh for 10 straight plagues, knowing he’s not going to change his mind, when we’re in this season, we’ve got to press in past our failures, knowing that at some point we can’t fail anymore. Most of us, however, are just too scared to keep failing. But the only way to stop being afraid of failure is to fail so much that you’re used to it. Because when you’re no longer afraid of failing, that’s when your breakthrough will come and you’ll hit the next rise.

The Rise Part 2

After a hurricane comes a rainbow. Or, for a manlier analogy, after every Bane comes a Batman—after hitting rock bottom, eventually you’ll rise again. After getting knocked out of the NBA payoffs 5 straight times, Jordan finally won. After going almost completely deaf, Beethoven wrote his ninth symphony. And after getting rejected a dozen times, J.K. Rowling finally published Harry Potter. What goes up must come down, but what goes down must also rise again.

God promises that everything will work out for the good of those who love Him. So the lesson I hope you’ll learn here is that no matter what season you’re in and no matter how hard life gets, things will always get better.

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