My favorite song is the band Jimmy Eat World’s 1998 single “For Me This is Heaven.” While it is 100% a secular song from a secular band, I found a new perspective on the lyrics while listening to it on the way to church this morning. One of the repeated lyrics of the chorus is the line “Can you still feel the butterflies?” When I was a teenager, I believed this song was about a breakup, about two people who are no longer feeling the spark of their relationship and deciding to go separate ways. As I have grown older, I have reinterpreted this song from the perspective of someone in a long-term relationship.
After a while, our relationships can become monotonous and stale as we fall into routines and the day-to-day grind of everyday life. Marriage counselors often suggest that couples try new things – go on a vacation together, send the kids to grandma’s, and have a real “date night” – something to get out of the routine and help reignite the spark. Most couples will acknowledge they are still very much in love, but they might feel bored from doing the same thing day in and day out. They long for that feeling of the honeymoon phase when everything was new and exciting, and they still felt the butterflies in their stomach when they were around their new partner.
I think the same thing can happen in our relationship with Christ. We are still solid in faith. We haven’t strayed or anything like that, but we are just bored with the routine. We say our prayers every night, go to church on Sunday, go to Sunday School, and maybe even participate in a Bible study, but it just starts to feel like routine after a while. We miss the fire that got us excited about God and started us on the path of becoming a Christian, and we need to find something to ignite that again.
For me, I have found that I feel that fire (or those butterflies) whenever I do something that I know is pleasing to the Lord. It is like the Holy Spirit inside of me says, “Yes! Great job! Keep that up!” This can come from many different places for different people. For some, it may be helping with the food pantry, even if it is only once a month that they can be there. For others, it might be a great retreat or conference, or a monthly guy’s night focused on Bible study and furthering our relationship with God. It might even be volunteering to help a Sunday School class, singing a solo with the choir, or visiting a homebound church member and just chatting for a while. Whatever it is, we often find that when we give blessings to others or do work in the name of Jesus, we end up receiving more than we put in. As Proverbs 11:25 says, “A generous person will be enriched, and one who gives water will get water” (NRSVUE). For me, those blessings are most often the rejuvenation of my spirit and my excitement about working for God. It makes walking in the doors every Sunday morning just that much more exciting, and it helps me get more out of a normal church service than I usually would.
So, if you find yourself just going through the motions of faith, stop and ask yourself, “Can I still feel the butterflies?”
In Christ’s Love,
Logan J. Smith