What if it's like driving a boat?

One of our favorite places in the world is my in-law’s cabin on a lake. We love to go there to swim, boat, and escape from the pressures of everyday life.

There is so much I love to do while I’m there, but there’s one thing I despise: I don’t like to drive the speedboat.

I like riding in the speed boat. I enjoy watching my kids ski or tube behind it. But, I flat out refuse to drive it. When I get behind the wheel, my heart thumps, my hands sweat, and my gut gets twisted in anxiety.

For some, driving a boat is easier than driving a car. There is wide open space in front of you. You don’t have to worry about staying in your lane or turning the right way. You simply watch for other boats, stay mindful of your speed, and go where you want to go… Which is exactly what I can’t handle. 

What if I don’t know where I want to go? What if I choose wrong? What if I direct the boat into danger? Why can’t someone just make lanes I can follow so I don’t mess this entire thing up???

So, my husband drives the boat, and I watch, missing out on what could be a grand adventure.

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There are many metaphors that could be used to describe God’s will. I used to think about it like a GPS. We drive, and God tells us where to go. If we go the wrong way, God reroutes us. There is a precise destination at the end that God will not fail to take us to.  Not only that, there is a best route to get there, and if we miss a turn, the drive is going to be much more frustrating.

There’s comfort in that idea. We are behind the wheel, but our lives are not ours to direct. It is simply our responsibility to follow wherever God tells us to go.

But what if God’s will is more like driving a boat? 

What if God is sitting next to us, sunglasses on, with a mischievous smile spread across His face. What if God is asking us that most dangerous of questions… Where do you want to go? 

Owning our desires is dangerous. What if I chose wrong? What if the risks are too high? What if I mess the whole thing up?

But what if that’s the grand adventure God is inviting you into? A life with God beside us, laughing in the wind, riding by our side in the spirit of possibility and wonder. Ready to help if we crash into a rock, but letting us step into the energy of forging out own way.

The wide open water is ahead of you. Where do you want to go?

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Deliver Me

out of the goodness of Your Love, deliver me. - Psalm 109:21

“My God, whom I praise,

Do not remain silent,

Sovereign Lord,

Help me for your name’s sake;

Out of the goodness of Your Love, deliver me.

For I am poor and needy,

And my heart is wounded within me.” – Psalm 109:1, 21-22

 

When fear constructs a wall across my path,

When it feels like the only way through

Is to run into something that will crumble my body to the ground,

Out of the goodness of Your Love, deliver me.

 

When the wounds of unresolved hurt drip bitterness into my heart,

When my blood has been infected to

Boil in the presence of certain people,

Out of the goodness of Your Love, deliver me.

 

When anger blindfolds me,

When I can no longer see goodness in who people are

Or what they are doing in your world,

Out of the goodness of Your Love, deliver me.

 

When jealousy smolders around me,

When its heat turns to a fire that burns my feet,

And pushes me to run towards the wrong pool for relief,

Out of the goodness of Your Love, deliver me.

 

When stress and busyness fill my arms

With a load beyond my abilities to carry,

When I feel like I will collapse under the weight of it all,

Out of the goodness of Your Love, deliver me.

 

When loneliness is my only companion,

When my moans seem to echo in the silence,

Do not remain distant, oh God.

Out of the goodness of Your Love, deliver me.

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Psalm 109, like many psalms, has some ugly language. Angry that I can not remember saying out loud about another person, like hoping his children become wandering beggars.

Yet even here, there is beauty.

For the psalmists seem to have an unrestrained relationship with their God. One that gives them freedom to vent about anything, and trust that it will be okay. That God will not abandon them, but save them. Either from their enemies, or from themselves, and the bitterness that has built up in their hearts.

I am still learning to pray with that kind of confidence.

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This post is part of #PsalmsJourney, a series reflecting on the Psalms one at a time, in order. Learn more about it here. If you'd like to join me, put a link to your own post in the comments.

The Pantry Door

We have a pantry in our kitchen to the right of the refrigerator. It's a tall cabinet door with pull out shelves tucked away inside, filled with cereal, tea, crackers, and granola bars.

Almost every time I walk through the kitchen, the pantry door is open. It drives me crazy.

I exhale with a growl as I shut the door and script persuasive speeches in my imagination. I think of my husband and kids sitting at the table, while I demonstrate just how simple it is to shut that door and make the kitchen look less like a messy locker room.

Inevitably, the speeches don't come to fruition, as life moves quickly from that moment into the hustle of packing school lunches or eating dinner or figuring out what snack it's appropriate to give a starving child five minutes before his bedtime.

Until, serendipitously, the perfect moment finally appeared. I prepared homemade granola bars to replace the store bought ones my kids usually eat for breakfast. Bars kept on the bottom shelf of that pantry. My husband innocently said, "We will just have to make sure to close the pantry door so the dog doesn't eat them."

This was my moment. I looked at him sitting sweetly in his chair, and pontificated all the reasons he and the kids needed to do a better job of that. I moaned about how annoyed I felt whenever I came into the room and found the door hanging open.

He replied, "It's you who does it."

What!?! How dare he! Before I could launch into a perfectly crafted diatribe about my innocence, he just told me to turn around.

I did, and saw the pantry door, which I had left open after putting the granola bars away.

As embarrassed as I felt, I was also certain it was a fluke.

Until he gently pointed it out to me again at lunch, and then at dinner, and the next day, and...

It was me! It was me all along!

I thought about all the time and energy I had wasted feeling annoyed, getting frustrated, and planning my speeches, when all along, the only thing I needed to focus on was shutting the pantry door.

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It's obvious, but still worth saying because sometimes we think we are alone in our feelings: life can be stressful.

I wonder how much of that stress is brought on by our own thoughts. We spin things around and around in our minds and get consumed with judgment about the actions of others and plan all the things we will do and say when we finally get the chance.

Sometimes we just need to shut the pantry door, take a breath, and get on with making breakfast.

Grace, my friends. For you, for me, for all of us.

Sometimes we just need to shut the pantry door, take a breath, and get on with making breakfast.
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