We bought our house almost exactly 5 years ago. At the time we were desperate to get out of our lease (thanks to an 18% increase…yuck!), and we were on a tight budget, so this little place really suited us well. Sure, we had to compromise on a few things we wanted, but there were some things that we really loved about this place, specifically the wood-burning fireplace.
Nichole and I both grew up with wood-burning fireplaces. We love the look, the sounds, the smells…Some people find them too messy, but there is just something about it that is comforting to us. Needless to say, we were ecstatic to try it out.
I excitedly bought some wood and proceeded to build a fire worthy of the cover of Fireplaces R Us magazine (ok maybe that’s not a thing, but I sure acted like it was). It was perfect!…in my head, at least. Logs neatly stacked, Aim 'n Flame in my hand, I lit the fire starter and watched the glorious flame grow...and then die. "This can’t be right!" I lit it again. The flame began to grow and then died.
Puzzled, I began the checklist in my head.
Flue open - Check
Wood dry - Check
Check outside, is there anything blocking the chimney? - Nope
What in the world?!
I tried and I tried, and I could not get that fire to stay lit. I bought fire logs. No go. I tried different types of wood from different stores. Nope. I did all sorts of things to get a fire going, and I couldn’t keep a fire lit to save my life! Defeated, and feeling my man card being revoked [insert “he didn’t go there” sigh here], we closed the flue, sealed up the front of the fireplace, and settled into our fireplace-less lives.
That is, until last year!
Determined to get my money’s worth out of this fireplace, we decided try to give it another shot…THREE YEARS after my devastating defeat!
This time I consulted with a good friend, and he gave me some clear direction. He told me to experiment. “Start with small pieces of wood until you have a nice bed of coals, and then add in the large logs. Move the grate around to make sure you have sufficient air flow on all sides of the fire.”
He gave me a bunch of other advice to which I responded, "I didn't realize there was that much to it!"
His response: “It’s just fire science, Bro”.
I couldn’t believe it. How could I miss something so basic?!
With a renewed sense of resolve, I picked up some wood at Lowe's, tried a few of the tactics that he gave me, and voila! We had a fire! Excited from the newfound success, we continued to experiment to make sure we had the formula down. We experimented with the grate position, played around with the way we stacked the wood, and eventually found that if we take steps “X, Y, Z” then the fire started and continued to burn every single time. Now, every time we try to start the fire we get the same result!
"So what?!" you say. Well, our struggle with building a fire in this fireplace is similar to the fire we have inside for the Lord!
Don’t close the browser just yet! Hear me out…
How many times have you felt defeated in your walk with God? You “TRY” to get into the Word, glorify God, and “be a Christian”. Then something doesn’t go right, you run into a rough time, and all of the sudden "it’s not working” for you. You feel like your walk is ineffective. Maybe you get to a point where you feel like studying doesn’t result in what you want. Or maybe it feels like you’re constantly battling with thoughts that you know you shouldn’t or struggle with bitterness and anger and don’t know how to get away from it.
So you stop, close up the flue, and put a cover over it. It’s still there…you’re still a Christian, you still love God, yet you’re not doing anything about it because you simply can’t keep the fire going.
You know, I could have had fires in this fireplace for the last three years had I just tried something different. It’s the same in our walk! We get defeated in our faith, and even though we're still saved, we can't seem to progress in our faith. So what can you do? My simple advice is this: Change what you’re doing!
Of course, there are many things we can do to draw closer to God, but I would encourage you to start simple and simply change something that you're doing!
Study in the evening instead of in the morning
Get away from the house and study
Go to a park and study
Read the Bible online
Read from a commentator along with the Bible
Listen to an audio Bible
Study in your Pantry
Pray in your Garage
Sometimes we just need a little CHANGE in how we're approaching God to help us break through and relight our fire for Him!
So as we begin 2019, I encourage you to take some time, think about the areas where you’re stale, and make a change! Shuffle the coals around, move the grate, increase the air circulation. Do something different to light that fire again!