One morning recently, we had many more people than usual in the aqua fit class I attend. This meant that space was at a premium and care had to be taken not to bump the people around me. During one exercise, someone got too close to the edge of the pool and told me that she had just hit the wall. Saying that I’ve done that too, we changed our positions slightly so it wouldn’t happen again.
Hitting the wall has been more than a physical experience in my life. There have been times when, despite my best efforts, I can’t seem to move forward. Other times I have become tired or overwhelmed and don’t have the strength to move at all. In these circumstances I feel that I have hit the wall. Looking at the lesson learned in the pool, I wonder if my problem was that I just kept doing the same thing over and over hoping for different results. Maybe all that was needed was for me to change my position, to do something differently.
On my own I can easily reach the end of my limits. I get to the point where I can’t see any other options. Prayer and spending time with God puts things back into perspective. He enables me to see things in a new light and gives me the freedom to move forward again. When he guides me there is no wall to stand in my way.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV
It was a lovely spring day. The sun was shining and the warmer temperature had melted the snow. We set out for a walk, keeping in mind that the paths may still be wet and muddy.
As we walked and talked I stopped paying attention to the path and sometimes walked right through large puddles. I also discovered that when I focused on things off to the side of the path, I would find myself moving in the direction I was looking. When this happened it made it difficult to actually stay on the path.
My husband and I talked about this and realized that it was a mirror of our lives. It is very easy to get so caught up in things around us that we lose track of the path we should be following. This can take us through some uncomfortable situations until we find our way back.
Jesus has laid out a path that he wants me to follow. When I focus on where he wants me to be, I am not as easily distracted by things around me. I see the obstacles and hazards before they become a problem. My path may not seem as wide as the ones others around me are taking, but I know there will be many opportunities around each bend. This is the path that leads to fulfillment and life everlasting.
But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:14 NIV
We held our annual Easter Egg Hunt for the family yesterday. The grandkids were excited and couldn’t wait to get started. Once they had all arrived, granddad gave them some instructions and then counted to three so they could all head off at the same time. We heard many squeals of delight as they discovered the hidden treats. There were always adults nearby to give assistance to whatever child needed it. Everyone had a good time and memories were made.
The grandkids know that we always have treats for them in our pantry. It would have been so much easier to gather goodies from there than to search through the house for the unknown. There is something exciting about the hunt, though.
This reminded me of my life. Many times I have set out searching for something even though I didn’t know what it was I was searching for. When I saw others finding what they wanted, I grew frustrated. Where was the treasure I needed to be fulfilled? If I couldn’t find it on my own, was there someone nearby to point me in the right direction?
What I discovered was that it was there within my reach all along. I had been so focused on my search that I’d missed the treasure right before me. Jesus provided the answer to all of my needs. All had to do was to put my life in His hands and trust Him for the outcome. He has led me on bigger adventures than I could have planned for myself. His faithfulness is so great that I am excited to see what treasures each day will bring.
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22,23
A few days of warm temperatures had melted the heavy blanket of snow covering our back yard. What was waiting for us beneath that snow was not a pretty sight. There were leaves that had been left to decompose. We had planned on raking them but the snow hit before that happened. The grass was brown, soggy and completely unappealing. While waiting for it to dry out enough to do some clean up, we were hit by more snow. Soon everything was again covered under a pretty white blanket of snow that made it easy to forget the mess that lay underneath.
This is such a great analogy of what my life can be like. There are things in life that are not dealt with and slowly covered up and forgotten. As long as the pretty cover is on for all to see, the underlying mess can be ignored. The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” comes into play. I don’t want to remove the cover that makes me look good, but until I do, there can be no dealing with what is hidden underneath.
Jesus has offered each of us a chance to make our lives white as snow. By accepting his offer, it is not just the surface that is changed. We are cleansed from the inside as our sins are forgiven. There is no longer anything to hide or be ashamed of when others can see beneath the surface of our lives.
“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet,
I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. Isaiah 1:18 NLT
While talking with a friend recently, he told me that he was going to go and grab a coffee. Very quickly he corrected himself and changed that to grabbing a cup of coffee, saying that he had never actually managed to grab coffee. Laughing, I said that it would just slip through his fingers.
With this visual in mind, I started to think of things that I have let slip through my fingers. There have been many opportunities that I have let pass me by because I didn’t have the confidence to just go for them. It didn’t seem to me that I had the skills or abilities needed and I was afraid to fail.
A good friend challenged me on one of these opportunities saying “What if God wants to bless you through this?” That helped me to realize that on my own I may not be able to accomplish what I would like to, but with God guiding me, all things are possible. By letting opportunities slip through my fingers, I am refusing his gifts to me and missing out on the blessings that these gifts may bring. I have a little plaque with a quote from Roy Lessin that says: “God not only knows where He is taking you, but He also knows how to get you there.” If I respond when he calls and trust him to lead me, there is no limit to what he may accomplish through me.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
Traffic Circles or Round Abouts as they are also known, are meant to improve the flow of traffic. Knowing this doesn’t keep me from sometimes finding them quite intimidating. As you enter the circle, you yield to people on your left. If they are exiting the circle at the spot you are entering, you’re fine to go. It’s when they are heading around it and changing lanes that things become tricky. The ones with 3 lanes can get a little crazy. I need to not only consider where I am going, but also figure out where the others are going.
The plus side to this is that if I am uncertain as to my exit, I can just keep travelling around in a circle until I decide which route I want to take and am able to plan my moves safely.
Sometimes I feel that I am living my life as if I’m caught in a traffic circle. I go around and around the same things, uncertain as to which route to take. When I finally make a decision, I need to evaluate the timing. Is it safe to make that move now, or should I go around one more time, just to be sure? Staying in the circle may seem safe, but it is also frustrating. How can I move forward into a more purposeful life if I’m afraid to leave the safety of my familiar circle?
On my own, decisions like this can paralyse me. When I pray and put my life in the hands of Jesus, I know that he will guide me safely along the route he has chosen for me. It’s time to quit going around in circles and embrace the adventure that a life of following Jesus will bring.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
One of the joys of being a grandparent is playing games with my grandchildren. Some of the games that they have enjoyed the most involve hiding. It may be people hiding or it may be objects that have been hidden for someone else to find.
Recently I was spending time with a 5 year old. She had some small inflatable rings that we’d take turns hiding for the other to find. When it was my turn to find, she would lead me right to them and then be so happy for me when I found them! Even though I made my best effort to hide the rings in plain sight, it was not always easy for her to spot them. Discouragement set in quickly so I added another aspect to the game. Telling her she was cold, and then warm, warmer and hot as she neared the object made it much more fun.
Although this was a game that brought fun and laughter to a little girl, I did find a deeper meaning in it. When I play games and attempt to hide from God, my life becomes cold. It is only as I move closer to him that my life warms up again. When I read the Bible and hide those words deep in my heart, God warms my life enough that I can pass on that warmth to those around me.
I have hidden your word in my heart, that I may not sin against you. Psalm 119:11 NIV
In the changing area of most fitness facilities there are lockers. One locker is not better than another and yet I have my favourite. For over eight years now I have been using the same locker. One day last month I arrived to get ready for my class, only to see someone else putting her belongings in the locker I use. I froze, wondering what to do. There were lots of other lockers available that had the capability of holding my belongings. The fact that it was so difficult for me to choose another one came as quite a surprise.
This wasn’t a onetime occurrence. It seems this other person has laid claim to what I considered my locker. She often arrives earlier than I do so that has given me plenty of opportunity to be flexible when it comes to choosing another locker. I must admit though, that I will go back to my old one when I find it available.
Looking back on this, I see how it could relate to my life. I become so comfortable with “my stuff” and where it is stored that I don’t think about until I am forced to. Maybe what I am most uncomfortable with is change. Changes in my life are inevitable. Jesus is the one part of my life that is constant. He sees the secrets that are in my emotional locker and loves me anyway. It is only through his unchanging love for me that I can be truly set free.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8 God’s Word Translation