I turned over a new decade earlier this year, and something about that made me evaluate everything.
What have I done with my life? Is this what I mean to be doing with my life?
And in all the questions, I’ve landed on one picture. One that I keep singing about.
In bold below are phrases I’ve been singing in the prayer room, and below that are a few thoughts.
My life is like the smoke of the incense
It goes up, up, up, up, up
I can almost see it curling through the air
As it goes up, up, up, up, up
My life is the smoke.
We don’t get to keep our most satisfying successes, collecting them in our pockets with a sense of having made it. We don’t hang onto our lows that make it onto our “most embarrassing moments” list, turning them over in our minds, cringing for years to come.
No, they’re not ours at all. You see, they go up.
Up, up, up, up, up like the smoke of the incense.
It’s for Him.
This doesn’t mean it’s easy. Send it up and boom, it’s gone. No emotional struggle, no battle in the flesh. It just means that when a high or low moment gets its claws in us, we get to send it up again.
Another love offering. Another chance to humble ourselves under His hand.
When we send up our love, it’s often in the context of a struggle. Making no room for the flesh, choosing humility in secret, whispering I love You most to God when by all the world (or all the church) we are feeling actively misunderstood—this is our offering of love.
That no matter what, all that we do is for Him. And it goes up.
Not unlike the animal sacrifices performed by priests in the Old Testament. Hard work, sweat and effort, spotless offerings being consumed by flames. And all that’s left to show is smoke and fragrance.
That pretty well describes the goal of my life. The effort, the struggle, the choosing Him again and again: may it be smoke and fragrance.
It’s okay if all the world misunderstands you. It’s okay if the whole lot of your life seems overlooked. It’s okay because it can’t be touched or interpreted by man. This is far too holy for that.
All our love, effort, time, struggle: it’s for Him. And it goes up.
A beautiful smoke and fragrance.