Walking on Water.... and soaked! (chapter)
Most days are't too difficult to get through. Grab my coffee, jump in the car and off to the studio to teach some classes with the music up and sun shining! A dozen thoughts race through my head as I drive to work:
"What's on my list to get at Trader Joe's again?" "Was today or was tomorrow Tiffany's birthday? Or was YESTERDAY Tiff's Birthday?!? Oh shoooot.... better text her at the next light." "Hmmm, I wonder who's going to be in my first class?" "Did my sister get my call from yesterday?" "Ooooh, I wonder If I have time to go to Starbucks between classes!" "I finished that release and sent it off, right? Pretty sure I did, let me just check real quick...Oh Good. Two press releases done and two more to write today! Yay!" (and Im surprised I drive in straight line with all my ADD thoughts too!:)
It's the days I am going, going, going, where I do not have to worry too much about the election, where I'll be spending my next birthday, or how I am just getting through life? After all, life overall is pretty good! Life is fun and I genuinely enjoy my family really think my friends are all the best. (no seriously, you think you have amazing friends? We might have to agree to disagree as my friends simply are dynamite!;) And now that we're into summertime I have rooftop and patios to look forward to, afternoons of workouts at Red Rocks Amphitheater, Concerts and SUP sessions, even Grillin' out by the pool, and a few trips and adventures to go on.
So the crazy part is when I am faced with reality again and again, and my dreams start to interrupt my daily thought life; and my ability to "just get by" doesn't seem to be cutting it anymore.
I love so many aspects of my life, and I count my blessings every single day.
The fact that I have not managed to go bankrupt, or develop an addiction of some sort; or live with continual unhealthy patterns and thought life that ruin relationships is a testament to only Jesus' work in my life and how genuinely thankful I am for His grace!!! However, when you tend to be wired as a dreamer and a visionary, like I am, just the daily work grind, come home, have dinner, maybe watch some shows on TV, and go to bed; becomes mind-numbing and tiresome.
For YEARS I have had dream after dream of ways to change the world, and have gotten to help incredible causes and organizations and people, who are on their way! I have become a champion of causes and whole-heartedly believe in, and am passionate about, dozens of incredible things going on out there to fight against human trafficking, race for the cure, find a solution, end poverty, provide hope and justice for those in harmful situation, and on the list goes... I truly believe the world is a better place because of people who had a dream to change the world, and didn't just quit when things became too challenging!
Its because of those who didn't quit and have paved the way for so many others to do great and noble things, that I continue forward knowing that stepping into a calling is a lot more challenging when you're IN the day to day than it appears when you hear the stories that make you want to rise to your feet in a standing ovation of applause.
And when I fall into bed exhausted from the 'race' and yearn for a solution or an answer I cannot help but ask the questions that my heart continues to shout: What am I doing wrong? What am I not doing? Am I saying Yes to the right thing? Am I saying Yes to too much? Or did I miss saying yes? Thoughts spin and my mind cannot keep up.
In an all out desperate cry, I seek the Lord and dive into his word for comfort. Not to avoid my problems, but to "cast every care" on him. Just as he's shown me time and time again He's got me. He'll take care of the details, I beg him to step in once again.
The challenging part is where I've heard the incredible stories of delivery and redemption! Now don't get me wrong here; I never want to stop hearing the way God works miracles in lives of those around me and those I love. I've LOVE getting to celebrate people's victories! The engagement of a couple that waited almost their entire adulthood of being single parents after terrible first marriages, to finally meet their match was a dream come true (not just for them)!! The story of the guy who was focusing on getting sober, while needing work in a last-resort attempt to find work made a phone call to a church leader who just so happened to have just had a conversation with another friend looking for company help - and it was an exact fit of a job!! (What a God story!). And just the other day; after a death diagnosis of two years or less from an advance stage of cancer, the health report came back clear and Cancer FREE!!! These are the miracle stories I love to hear and the redemption stories I still celebrate and praise our God for working in unbelievable ways day in and day out.
I too have gotten to see and experience mini miracles right before my very eyes. So its always a challenge and sometimes feels like a crisis of faith when you yourself seem to be going through the THICK of it. You desperately long for an answer. You somehow let yourself be convinced that those miracle and God-stories were just 'for them' and somehow you missed yours. You've taken a BIG risk and you even thought you were on the path God was leading. You were focusing on what seemed to be His will and stepped out, to suddenly feel like you're sinking! You feel like Peter walking on water, yet you're soaked! You've stepped outside of the boat. Your eyes are on Christ, but somehow you see the waves out of the corner of your eye starting to swell and you get distracted. The water starts to rise above your ankles. You're distracted now and the waves are only getting bigger and bigger. The swell is coming. Will God come through this time? We allow worry to take over.
And even despite knowing catchy sayings like "Worry is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do but gets you nowhere!" It's hard not to give into the temptation of worry.
What if you really didn't hear him correctly?. . .
This is when I have to take my thoughts and worries captive by looking back at the story and reminding myself of what really happened! Often times you did hear rightly. Its just the hundreds of doubts and voices that come in after that cause you to doubt what you heard. But even for Peter, he HEARD Jesus bid him to come. The beautiful thing about this story is that he was in the midst of walking on water when he started to get spooked. Did you see that? He was in the middle, like doin' it! He was WALKING on WATER! HE was in the middle of his leap of faith. He risked BIG because he felt directed by the Lord. He was ALL IN because he heard Jesus beckon him.
And the even greater part of the story was that in his human condition, as he took his eyes off Jesus and started to sink; he calls out and it was THEN that he was rescued!! It says "When he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me! Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt? And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down” (Mt 14:30-32)
When you think about where you're at; are you living comfortably from within the boat using everyone else's experience with Jesus as your account? Or perhaps you're still on shore wondering if you're going to attempt to get to the other side, but it seems....scary? For some of you; you might be in the water and walking the adventurous trek towards Jesus. The wind has picked up and the storm is blowing. You feel the pressure coming in from all sides as you journey towards him....
And then for others of you; you've already taken that risk and might still be in the water, but you've started sinking....You're soaked! And now you're terrified.
Here's your chance. CALL to HIM and see him rescue!
How many times have we experienced Jesus rescue in the middle of a storm? The waves are so large we don't know if we can handle them crashing and we cry out. Jesus is right there, IN the storm and in the rescue. Its through this story where I am reminded just how quickly Jesus comes to rescue his friend. Its beautiful really. But the interesting thing is, it isn't once they're in the boat and safe that Jesus rescues him. It's when Peter is risking his life, living in the adventure of the extraordinary that He gets soaked! But it's also here where Peter learns to keep his eyes on Jesus! How many of the other disciples can even begin to say they've experienced Jesus like Peter did?
My life has been filled with risk! Some great risks. Some not so great. Some of my most incredible experiences have been from risks that dramatically shaped and impacted my life; and some I look back and I probably would have thought about a little more before jumping all in - But that's the thing! I would rather be like David in the Psalms crying out to the Lord that it feels like things aren't in my favor, or that my enemies are pursuing me than to sit at home and just have a sweet view of what a lot of others are radically doing to change the world. I would rather make it to the other side drenched and having FULLY risked than to have partially tested the water with my toe to decide the temp first, if worth it.
When I think about risk, and the days I question if I heard God clearly(which feels like more often than not), I continue to put one foot in front of the other and pray that God will direct me otherwise If I should be going a different route. And while I do question a lot, on the days I really need to be encouraged or hear from God, I DO cry out! And it's here where I am rescued or assured. It is in these places where I am reminded of dozens of HIS promises throughout His word. And its these times I get the choice to choose TRUST verses fear or worry. I get to choose to believe He is orchestrating things I cannot fathom behind the scenes and because he is a good father; I get to choose to believe his word is true. I get to choose that while we are not promised all things to be good; when it says in God's word that "He works all things together for good; for those who love him and are called according to his purpose"(Rom 8:28) I can choose to believe this and trust this as truth.
We are told he knows the plans the Lord has for us, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jer 29:11) And like Peter; when we're distracted by our problems and focused on how big they are, we are not getting to see how BIG our God is!
There are so many references to worry in the bible; I am continuously taken back.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (Phil4:6)
That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life...Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? (Mt 6:25-27)
Don’t worry about the wicked or envy those who do wrong. For like grass, they soon fade away. Like spring flowers, they soon wither. Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun. Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry... (Psalm 37)
And so I ask you today: where are you at today? Are you feeling a bit wobbly?
Perhaps you've stepped out of that boat and you're on the adventure of your life, and something like a wave was sent to soak you? You've been knocked off balance, but you're grasping for anything you can to establish your step....
Reach out for Him!
Perhaps Jesus was more like a coach for Peter in this moment of Peter freaking out when he was starting to sink while walking on water. Instead of a rebuke from the Lord, Jesus caught Peter, then as a good coach would do, wrapped his arm around him and whispered to him "what happened out there? You had it and were going for it! Why did you not trust?"
While I'd like to say we'll all get to watch reruns of the awesome and epic journeys of the disciples once we get to heave (like we watch FRIENDS on late night television here;) I'm pretty sure we'll be enjoying an outright party and in full worship of God that we really won't care to know the exact
"ins and outs" of how Peter's "water walking" went down. But I will tell you one thing; Im reminded how often I need to reaffirm my faith through TRUSTING Jesus and his plan and knowing it will all workout because he's a GOOD GOD and He has our best interest in mind when I read this story!
If you're in need of some affirmation wherever you're at and your steps feel a bit wobbly, or you happen to be falling into bed in complete exhaustion because, well, simply said: your race has been challenging; then let these passages reignite your trust that He's got you!!!! And I pray you feel his arms wrap around you and comfort you to know: He is For you! And God is gloriously at work behind the scenes in ways you cannot fathom! The best part is you get to know He sees the end before we're even there;
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. Prov16:3
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Psalm 143:8
He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber. Ps121:3
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Ps145:18
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:19
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 1Jn5:14
And so with our eyes fixed on Him we can trust he will direct our steps and keep us afloat in the journey... even when we're walking on water ;)