I found an old favorite wristwatch. It has long stopped working, and I never got around to replacing the battery. I finally pried it open and saw how easy it actually was to replace the battery. So I did it. I found the right kind of battery in my grocery store about $3, and with some jiggling, I got the watch working again.
I wore it once and the next day, the wrist straps broke. They were too old and too unused that when I wrapped them around my wrist, they gave up. They had cracks inside that couldn’t support being bent around in different directions. Now, I have a working watch with no straps.
There was a season in my life where I felt like that wristwatch. Technically, I wasn’t broken. I only had an old battery that needed replacing. But it never got replaced, so I sat inside the drawer unused. I have the right parts, but I wasn’t telling time.
Sometimes we have old batteries that have run out or is close to running out of juice. Because of exhaustion, stress, or other situations, we are no longer producing value.
Then we get new batteries. We overcome whatever challenges we faced. We are rejuvenated. We shake off the stress. We overcome burn out. New life blows into our hearts and spirits. We’re ready to take on the world with a renewed passion and purpose.
But then our straps break.
I couldn’t figure out why it was that my renewed passion for life wasn’t fitting in with my life. It was as if I’m ready for more, but something was off. Something wasn’t right. Something didn’t fit. Something was still broken.
It was my wrist straps. My watch was functioning, but the straps could no longer hold it.
The wrist straps are like wineskins.
“And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins” Mark 2:22, NIV.
When we grow, we can’t go back to the way things were. I put a new battery in the old watch, but the watch was old so something about it still broke. In this case, the wrist straps.
I grew from having gone through burn out. I was different spiritually, mentally, and emotionally (actually, I was even different physically). I tried to jump back into my life before I started burning out, but it was no longer possible. That’s why something felt so off, like something didn’t fit. It was me. I no longer fit into my old wineskin because I was like new wine. I was a new person and I couldn’t go back to the ways of my old life.
Church people like to pray and ask God to remind them of and help them move back to their first love. At first, that’s what I prayed too, because I remembered what that first love was like. Do you remember yours? Do you remember what it was like when you first started following Jesus as your Savior?
Remember the passion? The fire? Remember the dedication you showed in prayer and reading the Bible? Remember how excited you were to fellowship with the body of believers?
That’s all good and well, but we’re supposed to grow spiritually. We’re supposed to move on. Moving on doesn’t mean you lose the passion, fire, dedication, and excitement. Moving on means those things change. A different kind of passion and fire. A deeper dedication. A new form of excitement.
It was around the time I started this blog that I stopped praying for my first love and started to ask God for a new wineskin. I dare you to pray for your new wineskin. There is freedom in it.
Personally, it helped me let go of the guilt that I wasn’t as passionate, on fire, dedicate, or excited as I was before. Instead, I realized that my passion, fire, dedication, and excitement were different. They ran deeper. They may not be as obvious, but they were steadier. I have a new wineskin and it gives me the freedom to grow into the person God created me to be.