Potential energy

This week has been an adventure.  Paul has been out of town and so in an effort to not go completely crazy, we have been trying new places for school.  Tuesday, we set up shop at Starbucks again.  It worked, but not as well as the first time we were there.  The handle on the back of the car lost its spring as I was loading it up with all our binders and supplies.  So I was unable to open the rear door and unable to toss in the stroller, so Judah didn’t have a comfortable seat at Starbucks. And therefore, our time was cut short in an effort to keep him happy.

Yesterday, we went to my Mom and Dad’s house.  It was great.  This new environment was the perfect setting to motivate and be productive.  Although, I wonder if the quality of the girls’ work suffered in an effort to hurry up and be free to play.  However, the kids got to have some good Grammy and Grandpa time.  Spending more time with family is a goal of our family rehab and it was wonderful to see it actually happen.  Gideon had a chance to just play while the girls worked.  Fresh toys and fresh faces can work miracles. Grandpa, a retired physics professor, even taught science in the afternoon.  Thanks, Grandpa!

Today we have ventured out to The Jumpy Place.  For any parent of a young child, you have to check out The Jumpy Place.  (This is not a paid advertisement–it’s a public service announcement.)  Free-wifi, a room full of jumpy houses, free coffee, a huge carpeted surface for a baby to roll around on, and a new and exciting excer-saucer–you couldn’t ask for much more than that.  There is enough here to keep a whole den of raccoons busy!  When you bring your own snacks and/or lunch, you’re set!  And today, there is hardly anybody here.  The girls zoomed through their first 4 folders, just to get to recess time.  Again, quality of their work may have suffered in the pursuit of freedom to go jump.

I tried to keep some of the work exciting by creating some worksheets for the girls that could only be completed here.  They each had a “follow the directions” sheet in one of their folders.  The directions included simple things, like write your name on the top of the page, as well as some review from the week, like math word problems, and language arts questions.  I included some funny things too, like: climb to the top of the slide and shout, “I have the greatest Mom in the world!”

One of the review questions referred back to our science class yesterday with Grandpa.  We learned about “work” and that it is defined as something with weight or mass, moving in a direction.  We also talked about different forms of energy that “work” for us.  Grandpa did lots of cool scientific demonstrations involving many different kinds of energy.  We discussed the difference between stored, or potential energy, and kinetic energy–all very fascinating stuff. On the review paper today, they had to remember at least three different kinds of energy.

As I sit here at the Jumpy Place, I can observe all kinds of energy.  From Judah, kicking his legs to rotate from toy to toy in the excer-saucer to the constantly blowing fans filling the 7 huge jumpy houses in this warehouse, energy is being exerted everywhere.  Electric energy is pumping in this place to keep the moon-walks filled, the lights glowing, and (would you believe it) the message chairs for the parents undulating.  (This place is a stay-at-home-mom’s paradise!)  To consider the striving to live in a “green”, environmentally friendly, and renewable resource responsible environment while sitting here listening to all that energy being zapped up is kind of funny.  The constant hum of the fans is hypnotizing and relaxing, which makes me think about my own energy levels slowly depleting as I type.  I wish I would have had a healthier breakfast so I could pump as much energy through my tired brain and body as this place pumps into it’s oversized balloon pirate ship. It seems as though I don’t have much potential energy…or kinetic for that matter. However, there is a stored energy inside of me–apart from the sugar from this morning’s syrupy french toast burning away.

The apostle Paul asks the Corinthians, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?”  Think for a moment about what that means.  God’s Spirit dwells in you…in me.  I don’t feel very energetic right now as these fans lull me to sleep.  But that’s a lot of potential power stored up in my body.  God’s Spirit.  Think of all that His Spirit has done.  His Spirit was present when He spoke the earth into motion…when he put it to “work.”  That’s a heavy thing–the world–to move in a direction.  He set the Earth spinning…and it’s still spinning.  He expanded the sky from the sea…and the universe is still expanding.  That’s quite some powerful energy.

His Spirit is still at “work”.  He (the Spirit) is working on my weighty heart. He has been moving through mass for all of history.  He is moving, breathing, stirring, sometimes even spinning.  He is doing something. He is working.  Romans 8:2 says, “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”  Those are action words–“set you free”.  And to think what that verse means.  All the guilt and all the shame that accompanies the law of sin and death is set free.  Brokenness and regret are the kinds of things that can trap a heart and chain it to the floor.  Those are the kinds of things that can swallow up joy and livelihood into a bottomless pit of despair.  There are people who live their whole existence on this ever-spinning planet stuck in one place because of sin, guilt, and shame.

But, there is a Spirit that releases us from that condemnation through Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection.  And He lives in us.  That is a potential that most Christians have, that they don’t even realize.  In our society we are constantly trying to uncover our own potential in life.  We take personality tests, we climb the ladder of success, we deprive ourselves of chocolate cake and work out, all to reach our “potential.”  We can strive really hard to get to a “freedom” that doesn’t compare to the freedom Jesus offers.  Much like the girls, we settle for mediocre quality work in the pursuit of a rubberized jumpy house paradise.  The satisfaction we gain in reaching our own potential, neglecting the potential energy of the Holy Spirit inside of us, is a lack-luster prize.  Nothing compares to the freedom produced when that stored energy of the Spirit inside us releases us from the bondages of sin.  That freedom breaks the chains that disable even the most talented being.  Romans 8:6 says, “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”

We are also used to having to pay a hefty price to have “work” done.  Whether it’s tree-trimming, car repair, or dental work, it comes with a price.  We don’t know how to receive good quality work for free.  It just can’t be so.  If something comes free, it’s either shoddy, cheap, or comes with fine print–not the love and freedom of Jesus, nor the gift of His Holy Spirit.  He has given them to us for free.  There is nothing for us to pay.  And this high quality and quantity of spiritual freedom is not shoddy, cheap, or has hidden fine print.  This gift can have such workmanship and yet be so “inexpensive” to us because it’s high value was paid for by Jesus, in the one-time, all-inclusive payment of his life on the cross.  1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says this about the gift of the Holy Spirit within us and the price that was paid by Jesus, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?  You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.  So glorify God in your body.”

The potential energy that lies within us is not our potential to do amazing things.  Our potential lies in the fact that the powerful force of the Holy Spirit lives in us and is at “work” within us.  Our potential comes not from trying hard or doing better.  It isn’t found when we get the right academic degree or the highest paying job for our personal skill set.  Our potential, our purpose, is to glorify God with our entirety.  When we walk as people freed from the imprisonment of sin and shame, we glorify God and his purpose, his power, his potential.  When we are focused on the Spirit within us, we turn from the fleshy selfishness that keeps us looking inward at our own potential good or value.  We are then freed to see the potential of Christ’s saving love and mercy in the lives of others.  We see with eyes of the Spirit how God, himself, died for those around us who are stuck with the world revolving around them.  We become workers ourselves, with the energy and force of the Holy Spirit transferred from our hearts to our bodies, electrifyingly running through our veins and out our fingertips as we lovingly serve.  The stored energy in our souls becomes acting, working, and kinetic.  Because this same power source that keeps spinning the earth into motion, is the source of our joy and livelihood, we never fade or run out, or meet our potential.  The possibilities are endless, the weight of what can be moved unstoppable.  No more settling for air-filled jumpy place dreams that will inevitably deflate and ware holes.  The quality of the “work” in us can be amazing when it’s done in the Spirit and in the Lord’s timing.  We have no need to rush through anything for the freedom to jump–a freedom that just doesn’t compare to what potential there is in us with the Holy Spirit.  We can have unlimited supply of high quality, high quantity, completely free, and completely satisfying potential energy of the Spirit…and it’s environmentally friendly. 🙂


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