The owner of the store I work in is known for the amazing gift baskets she creates. When she wanted to teach me how to do them, I panicked. Feeling that I don’t have a flair for that sort of thing had me terrified to even attempt it. As she guided me through the creative process, I secretly hoped the day would never come when I would have to make one on my own.
Through her encouragement and belief in me, I slowly gained confidence. Then the fateful day came when it was necessary for me to create a basket completely on my own. The fact that I enjoyed picking out and arranging the items in the basket surprised me. After wrapping it and making a bow, I stood back and admired what I had created. I even took a picture of the finished product! The saying “I didn’t know what I could do until I did it” came to mind.
Thinking about this, I realize how many times I have been stopped in my tracks by something I thought I couldn’t do. Now I realize that just because it’s something I’ve never done before, doesn’t mean I can’t do it! When I stop and pray about the situation, Jesus guides me every step of the way. Through Him, I am able to accomplish far more than I ever thought possible. When those negative, “I can’t do it” thoughts enter my mind, I just need to think of the gift baskets and remember that all things are possible through Christ Jesus.
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26 (NIV)
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13 (NLT)
We were making the long drive from Calgary to Vancouver to visit friends and family. At one point I turned to Brian and said “Are we there yet”? He smiled and said “Sure”, knowing that we still had several hours ahead of us. We then joked about the fact that although we may not be “there” we were “here”.
Despite the joking, this was a good reminder to me that I need to make the most of where I am right now. Sometimes I get so focused on getting to where I think I should be, that I do not see what is surrounding me right now. There may be scenic routes that I miss by not paying attention. Not only do I miss out for myself, but opportunities to do things for others are surely lost as well.
Before I wake up in the morning, God has many wonderful things planned for my day. I need to start my day by praying and then trust God to lead me. When I do this, I remember that although I may not be where I thought I would be, I am exactly where I am supposed to be.
In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. Psalm 5:3 NIV
O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1 NKJV
As we drove through the mountains we passed several lakes. One was a bit choppy from the breeze coming through the valley. The wind had stirred up some waves and the occasional white cap. Most of the lakes were calm and a few were so smooth that everything on the shoreline was reflected in them, like a giant mirror.
Gazing at these lakes, I realized that they had some good lessons for me. One of the things they teach is that it is best to stay calm. I am not nearly as inviting when I let things stir me up. When calm, I have the opportunity to make positive ripples.
Some of the lakes are crystal clear and I can see to the bottom. This reminds me to look below the surface. Things are not always what they seem at first glance.
The smooth, glass-like water has more than one message for me. The first one is that I need to take time to reflect. Sometimes in my busy life, I forget to do this. Even more important is to remember that it is God who calms my choppy waters. The more I come to him in prayer, the smoother my life becomes. He alone can calm the wind and the waves that stir up my discontent. The more I come to him, the more peaceful I become. This is what will enable me to reflect him to others.
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. Mark 4:39 NIV
His Son is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact likeness of God’s being. He holds everything together through his powerful words. After he had cleansed people from their sins, he received the highest position, the one next to the Father in heaven. Hebrews 1:3 God’s Word Translation
Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. 1 Corinthians 13:12 New Living Translation