Monday, April 28, 2014

Staying Up when the Storms Come

Confession time:  I am not a very good gymnast.  Shocking I know.... I can't do a cartwheel, swing on the uneven bars, spin on the rings, or, leap over the horse thingy and do flips as I soar gracefully over.  But you know what I can do, walk on a balance beam.

The trick to walking successfully over a balance beam is really quite simple, and somewhat non-intuitive.  Don't look down at your feet, keep your head level and look forward.  I am sure that there is some sort of neurological reason for it, but I don't like doing research, so.....just trust me...SCIENCE!  But it does make sense, when you hyper focus on the ground you are more likely to lose your sense of directive balance.  Looking at your destination is more sure-fire recipe for success. 

Life illustration moment.......You can't allow yourself to lose your forward looking focus and momentum.  We have such a tendency to become consumed by the finite moments we get ourselves into.  Tunnel vision sets in and all we can sense and know seems to be the mud we are currently standing in.  Success in life is deeply rooted in a "tomorrow" vision.  When we live only stuck in the moment of our current condition(YOLO anyone...??) we make terrible choices and get even more stuck. 

Instead, when we have a vision that takes us out of where we are right now and sees where we are heading, it becomes infinitely easier to keep moving and not get lost in the moment.  Life is full of this.  And we are so prone to forgetting the future and being consumed by the present. 

Don't misread me.  Life isn't just a destination, we do need to embrace the immediacy of each day, but we can't become controlled by today.  What is happening to you, and, in your life, right now, is NOT THE END. 

What is your future focus?

In Matthew 14 we have this beautiful story of the disciples going ahead of Jesus on a boat.  Soon a strong wind buffets the boat with waves and Jesus walks out on the water to join them.  At first the disciples are a bit disconcerted assuming they are seeing a ghost.  Jesus says, "Nope, just me fellas(my paraphrase) and Peter says let me come out to you.

Peter wants to experience the power of Jesus.  He doesn't want to just sit in the boat and observe, he wants to leap right into the miraculous.  How often we content ourselves to sitting on the boat and accepting the mundane and boring life when the miraculous is right on the other side of the bow?!?! 

And he does it!

At first.....

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

He lost his focus on the destination, saw the problems, and he sank. 

There are two places you and I often find ourselves in;  1) To afraid to run to Jesus because we only see the "danger" in getting out of the boat.  2)  We lose our courage not long after starting off and we find ourselves sometimes in a more difficult place then we were before.

You are not made to sit in the boat.  Jesus is out there, calling you to join him.  Get up.  Get going.

Don't lose focus and courage once you start.  We start with good intentions, and that is when things can get frightening.  We are out of our comfort zone, it is scarier than we thought it was.  Too often we start off in a good way, but we don't follow through.  Sell out and run to Christ.

The great thing about Grace though is that even when we lose our footing Jesus doesn't give up on us.

 "Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him"

How encouraging.  How beautiful.  How true to my own heart.  So many times I set out with great intentions, and forget who I am looking towards.  Soon I find myself in over my head and drowning.  When I call out for help there isn't a lecture, or a thoughtful discussion on my mistakes.  IMMEDIATELY Jesus reaches out His hand and catches me. 

Walk with courage towards Christ, and know that when you fall prey to the storms in your life, you are not alone.  You will be lifted back up and you can begin again.

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