The vastness of the ocean is truly astounding, and it's something that has intrigued man since creation. Through the ages we've tried to tame it, and though we've mastered ocean travel and pioneered underwater exploration to quite impressive degrees, the seas will never be tamed. But even...
My grandmother was a strong, independent woman with even stronger opinions. She never shied away from a debate or filtered her words to hide her true thoughts or feelings. Her love for her family was even stronger and she showed it through acts of service. Respect for elders was paramount even...
It was happening again. I am never quite sure what is the triggering factor. It may be lack of sleep, a stressful situation or boredom. Whatever it is, it is real and can be life shattering. It is a call from the depths of my soul whispering that something isn’t quite right. What is...
I occasionally serve on our church worship team. Part of the process for me includes practicing the selected songs, printing out the lyrics and finding a possible part to sing. On one recent week that I was to serve I went to the website to begin working on the music. I was pleasantly surprised...
Sometimes in life our courses are shifted in directions we did not anticipate. We plan and plan and plan, but no matter how mapped out our route may be, we undoubtedly hit a few bumps along the way, and oftentimes get set off the course entirely. I call these unplanned moments in life...
Typically, when a man and a woman get married, there are only two lives that are being joined together in holy matrimony. It is a challenging and daunting task to weave two separate lives intimately into one, but it is rewarding as a couple begins to learn and grow together. The Bible says...
Depression. Do you have it? I do. It’s spreading like a virus in our society. It is no respecter of person, or position, title, gender, income, or opinion. It takes hold of a person and darkens their eyes so they can’t see anything but despair. Sometimes it’s circumstantial...
My husband is retiring from the military after 32 years of active duty service. This is a big step for both of us. He hasn’t had to apply for a job since he was in high school. And since we’ve been married, he has always known what he was going to do and when he would get promotions...
After the holidays, I’m finding our home is filled with stuff. There are piles of new things and the boxes they came in. On top of that, we also have a little baby girl arriving soon. There's so much to get and so much to do! This leads to my wife and I planning how we will get rid of the...
Comfort is a great thing. No one wants to sit on an uncomfortable couch, we all want our home to be a comfortable place, and no one wants to wear an itchy sweater. Everyone wants to be comfortable. Comfort means being relaxed, being more yourself, and feeling secure. Comfort is perfectly fine...
The vastness of the ocean is truly astounding, and it's something that has intrigued man since creation. Through the ages we've tried to tame it, and though we've mastered ocean travel and pioneered underwater exploration to quite impressive degrees, the seas will never be tamed.
But even though we haven’t been able to observe every inch of these great waters, just inches below the surface lies a vast array of easily observable phenomenon that take place every day. The oceans contain countless species, from tiny plankton weighing a fraction of an ounce, to gigantic whales weighing multiple tons. There are all manner of unique and amazing creatures that fascinate us. Given this vastness, and the dangers presented therein, it's a wonder how a single fish can survive a normal lifespan. As with all creatures, there are a variety of defense mechanisms that God gave fish in order for them to survive, and there's one in particular that's both impressive, and highly effective - the school.
Why Do Fish Swim in Schools?
It's well known that a group of fish is called a 'school', but not often do we stop and consider what exactly the fish are doing. If you've ever been to a public aquarium, you've probably seen a display or two that houses a lot of the same type of fish. These fish are almost always swimming together in schools, and in most cases, this is quite the spectacle to observe. But, why do they swim that way?
At a basic level, there are several major benefits to fish swimming together in such a way. First off, just like when geese fly in a 'V' to make it easier on them by reducing wind resistance, fish conserve energy by riding on the slipstreams created by other fish. Another important benefit of the school is that it protects the fish from predators. There have been research studies that have investigated how fish swim in such close coordination in schools, and without getting into the technical details of their findings, fish have something in their genetic makeup that allows them to be electronically ‘connected’ in close proximity. Some varieties fish swim in a more closely coordinated fashion than others, but many fish still swim in a school during some portion of their lives.
What We Can Learn from the Fish
So, what's the point of all of this? Well, there's a lot that we can learn from fish. According to a study published by the journal “Current Biology”, there have been questions raised about the possibility of whether the 'schooling' behavior of fish can be linked to the behaviors of humans and how we tend to group together. While the studies seem to be inconclusive in that regard, it’s obvious that we, like many animals, naturally gravitate towards groups. Unlike fish, however, since we are considered the "apex predator" of the world, we don't normally need to group for survival. Maybe we did a long time ago, or today in more remote parts of the world, but generally we can survive alone if we had to.
So, why then do we group? Without getting into the social semantics of it, the basic understanding is that we group because we desire social interaction to function normally and live more comfortably. We can also accomplish a whole lot more when we work together.
But, how does this relate to faith and living as a Christian? If we keep it simple and think about it as we see with fish and schooling, it actually makes a lot of sense.
First off, one of the primary reasons that fish school is to be safer from predators. We know that the Bible addresses this specifically, as Satan, the Great Deceiver, is always working to isolate us so we are more vulnerable. The only time we see in the Bible that Satan physically came himself and tempted Jesus was when Jesus was alone in the desert fasting.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. (Matthew 4:1-2, ESV)
Not only was Jesus alone, but he was also very hungry. The devil came to him when he was most isolated and most vulnerable. He does the same with us. He knows that when we are alone and cut off, especially from other believers, that we are more easily influenced. Just like predators of the ocean try to do, by splitting the fish up so they can single out some of them, the devil is always circling looking for his opportunity to make us vulnerable and strike. He's always trying to divide us, because he knows we are stronger together. We must take great care to not let that happen...
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:1-2, ESV)
We have to look out for each other and share our burdens. The Bible tells us that we must! The more connected we are, the safer we are, and the more resistant to the enemy's attacks. Anyone who's ever been part of a small group will tell you that through sharing their struggles with close friends, they were better able to weather the storms in their lives. At the Church at Severn Run, we call these Connect Groups. We also have a phrase that goes along with those that says, "Life is Better Connected!" This is something we truly believe because it’s evident that not only are we stronger spiritually, but we can also accomplish a whole lot more together than we ever could on our own.
Working Together to Accomplish More
Which brings us back to the other reason humans group together. Some of the studies show that early people grouped together, not just for protection, but also because they realized that they could accomplish a whole lot more as a group working together towards the same goals. And this is still true today, and in fact one of the pillars of most of our lives. Many of us work for organizations in the pursuit of some sort of overarching business goals.
If we go back to look at the example of fish in schools, we see that same thing play out in the slipstream effect. Fish conserve their energy by swimming together. Naturally, this means that they can swim longer and require less food for energy. And the more energy they conserve, the more likely they are to survive if they get cut off later from the school, such as when predators attack.
I’m sure I don’t need to continue to explain all the correlations between these things and how we as Christians should stick together. The problem with humans is that, even though we often know what we should do, we’re stubborn and like to blaze our own paths. And don’t take this the wrong way, we shouldn’t always just “go with the flow”, but that’s implicating that we’re following all the other ‘fish’ of the world. You have to make sure you’re surrounding yourself with the right people. Fish swim in schools with like fish. If you surround yourself with like people who also want to live following Jesus, then working together and protecting each other in that endeavor will naturally occur. And that is something we definitely NEED to do.
I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose. (1 Corinthians 1:10, NLT)
It’s not always going to be easy, and at times you might find yourself alone and cut off from the school. Sometimes we drift off on our own, and sometimes life takes us in different directions. The good thing is, there are always other fish around, and the school you just left is not the only one in the sea. And if all else fails, you may even need to start your own school. But most likely you will be able to find a group, even if it’s small, and jump right in. Others will then be drawn to this group and it will likely grow.
Whether you’re a fish or a Christian, hopefully it’s obvious that there are some major benefits to being connected with like-minded individuals. Betting that you’re the latter, it’s probably safe to say that nature is one reflection of God’s intention in our lives, and fish are just one of many examples of that. There are countless other cases in creation of how working together can provide safety and strength, and we are no different.
Whenever we are alone, we can only rely on our own strengths and weaknesses, which don’t always complement each other, and usually our strength will eventually give out. But together in a group, we can cover each other’s weaknesses and continue to strengthen each other so that we are always better able to face the storms that will inevitably come.
Wherever you are in your journey, and wherever your travels take you, try to always keep connected with other believers, because life really is better connected.
My grandmother was a strong, independent woman with even stronger opinions. She never shied away from a debate or filtered her words to hide her true thoughts or feelings. Her love for her family was even stronger and she showed it through acts of service. Respect for elders was paramount even if undeserved or misguided.
When she and my grandfather visited the Christmas after I became a believer, I tried to share my testimony with her and encourage her to put her faith in Jesus, too. She responded very sternly, “I need Jesus? I certainly never talked to my parents the way you do! Maybe you need an extra dose of Him, but I am just fine.” Her words cut deep but gave me pause as a new believer. My actions needed to reflect my new-found faith.
She would go to church with us when she was in town, also attending events at the Christian school we attended. But, she never wanted to discuss religion or politics with us, always changing the subject or leaving the room.
In 1995, when my grandfather’s Parkinson’s had advanced, she allowed our pastor and his wife to come for a visit and pray with them. But, she was very adamant that no one speak to my grandfather about his relationship with Jesus or eternity. It weighed heavily on my mother’s heart as she wanted assurance that my grandfather would be in heaven, so she spoke to my grandmother about it often and my grandmother felt like she was being pestered about it.
One afternoon, my mother took my grandmother shopping and I stayed with my grandfather. My mother asked me to speak to my grandfather. As soon as they were gone, I asked him if anyone had ever shared the plan of salvation with him and he said, “You love me enough to tell me about Jesus and heaven?” Of course, I did!
In talking with him, I learned that as a young man working for a beer distributor in Baltimore, MD, a Methodist preacher introduced him to Jesus, but he had gotten away from having a close relationship with Him. I knew from our conversation that he was a believer and would spend eternity in heaven. He seemed at peace and told my mother and grandmother as soon as they got home. My grandmother was not happy that her request had been ignored. In fact, she did not speak to me about it until after my grandfather passed away 6 months later.
When my grandfather died, our church gathered around to comfort our family, especially my grandmother. They held the wake in the fellowship hall, catering the food and taking care of everything. With just a few visitors left at the gathering, my grandmother came to me and said, “You know that conversation you had with Pop? I would like to know more about Jesus and heaven, too.”
It was such a sweet blessing to see her relationship with Jesus grow. She started to attend church faithfully, joined a Bible study and gave of her resources to building funds and missions. And even though she was afraid of the water since she never learned to swim, she got baptized in the inground swimming pool in my parents’ backyard. She remained outspoken and opinionated and starting defending her faith, engaging in living debates when our pastor and his wife would visit her during weekly visitation. She even brought her cousin to church and was instrumental in her decision to rededicate her life to the Lord.
In the fall of 2006, when the doctors told her that the cancer had spread too much for treatment, she moved in with my parents. She was 82. I was a stay at home mom at the time and was able to care for her as my parents worked. In those last few weeks that I spent time with her she spoke of being able to see my grandfather soon and other relatives gone before her, especially her sisters. But, she was a bit anxious about the ‘between’ part of dying, the part between the last breath and seeing Jesus’ face. She would ask me to sit with her and hand her hand while I read the verses in Psalms that she had highlighted. They spoke of peace and not being afraid. She said she did not fear death but feared the unknown of how and when.
It was a pleasure to stand with my family as she peacefully took her last breath and slipped into eternity with the assurance of seeing Jesus and my grandfather. Jesus had changed her destiny without taking away her tenacious spirit. She was still independent, strong, opinionated and at times stubborn, but now she left a legacy of faith and trust for her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She is a true example that when you find Jesus is not nearly as important as finding him and letting Him change your life.
It was happening again. I am never quite sure what is the triggering factor. It may be lack of sleep, a stressful situation or boredom. Whatever it is, it is real and can be life shattering. It is a call from the depths of my soul whispering that something isn’t quite right.
What is calling is a desire, a temptation, for just a small step. A step that my mind says will not hurt anyone. The lie grows. I am convinced. I will stop later. There will be no negative consequences. The temptation becomes more appealing. I peer into the abyss. I step off the edge. I regret what I have done, greatly and deeply.
This is not a new phenomenon for me. I have lived on the rollercoaster of sin - repentance - forgiveness for my entire life. It has nearly destroyed me. The pattern became so prevalent, so unstoppable, it lead to constant anxiety and a dread of life. My rock bottom was when I realized I had to tell someone about that temptation, about the sins. If I did though, it meant I had to face the fears of shame, possible scorn and rejections. More so, it meant I would have to find an avenue of change.
As frightful and painful as the step toward redemption was, the consequences were far more damaging and far reaching than I realized at the time. Until I looked back, I didn’t see the trail of failings I was leaving behind. I couldn’t look back until I was able to stop being solely focused on the present.
I find comfort in knowing that many of God’s “greats” have been caught in the same rollercoaster of sin - repentance - forgiveness. One of those “greats” being King David.
David was anointed as King of Israel when he was teenager but it would be 25 years of preparation before he would finally rule all of Israel. These years were filled with many challenges yet David relentlessly pursued God, even when he failed. Even as King he fell into sin and he fell hard.
One infamous story is found in 2 Samual 11. It is likely one of the most widely known stories of David and sin. Mention to just about anyone the names David and Bathsheba and instantaneously their mind goes to adultery and murder. But that’s only the 30,000 foot view. David’s temptation began long before he strolled onto that roof top and allowed his eyes to gaze upon the beautiful woman next door.
Have you ever thought about how many wives and concubines David already had? We may not know exactly but we know it was many. David had a lust for woman that was the first “small thing” that had drawn him into this precarious situation.
We read in Genesis that God created a partner for man. This was a woman. As time went on, polygamy however became a commonly accepted practice of the day. We also read in Deuteronomy 17:17 that the standards for a king were different. A king was not to take many wives for himself. Why not? We are told because they will turn his heart away from the Lord. In other words they will be a distraction.
Distractions often become a vice we use to fill our soul. Only God can truly fill our soul. With many woman in David’s life, temptation now had a foothold and literally the story went downhill from there. You can find all the messy details in 2 Samuel 11:1-27.
What happened to David is not dissimilar to what happens to us. Just a small opening, a crack in the “everyone’s doing it” door that soon leads to another larger door. From there a bigger door, until we’ve gone through an opening the size of a barn door.
When this happens, there is hope, redemption and an opportunity to change. That was the case with David. This is the case for me. It can be for you too.
Today I have found that those big balls of messiness I had once travelled down unchecked no longer have the same appeal. I am able to recognize early on when the lies begin, who the source is and who I should turn too.
We know David was one of God’s greatest kings and a man after God’s own heart. These are great and wonderful qualities. This is not what makes him my “great” in the linage of Jesus.
I love the story of David because I can relate so fully to his failures and sins. It is his redemption and forgiveness that strengthens my heart and brings me to a place where I know I too can be forgiven.
God loved David relentlessly. David knew this and was drawn into temptation anyway. When he finally and fully acknowledged what he had done, he held himself accountable for his action and asked for and received forgiveness. I am like David.
Even with forgiveness there were consequences for David and there were for me too. But even so God stayed with David through it all. He has been with me every day, every minute. He will do the same for you.
Are you hearing the call of temptation or have you already responded to it and desperately want to get out of the stronghold? God is waiting and willing to forgive and bring change to your life.
Go to God.
Acknowledge your sin.
Stay with God.
Like he was for King David, God is there for you. Never forget that it was through David, one of God’s “greats” that Jesus was born into this world even though David was a sinner - just like you and just like me.
God redeemed David.
He redeemed me.
He can redeem you too.
I occasionally serve on our church worship team. Part of the process for me includes practicing the selected songs, printing out the lyrics and finding a possible part to sing. On one recent week that I was to serve I went to the website to begin working on the music.
I was pleasantly surprised to discover a song I’d not heard for a very long time had been selected. It’s a beautiful song sung by Jenn Johnson. It’s message is sweet and the words are poetic. Phrases like, “Let me be filled with kindness and compassion for the one, the one for whom you love and gave your Son. For humanity increase my love.”
As I listen to and digested these words, singing them in my car as I drove home or during my lunch break, I thought, that’s it - this will indeed be my prayer for 2019. I was excited. I had been trying to find a theme for the year to focus on. This theme was so fitting for the times we are living in when love is often based on appearances. We judge need and people by how they look, where they live, the words they say, and the job they have or don’t have. I asked God to increase my love for humanity.
When I arrived at rehearsal for worship team later that week, I discovered that the song was no longer on the schedule. I was a little sad as I thought about those stirring lyrics that would not be sung that week. The congregation would not hear, “Help me to love with open arms, like you do. A love that erases all the lines and sees the truth. So that when they look into my eyes, they would see you. Even in just a smile, they would feel the Father’s love.”
Those thought quickly fled and I moved on. I figured a better, or more fitting song for the week had been chosen.
The rehearsal moved forward. A time of devotion and prayer starts us off. This particular week one of our worship leaders shared with the group something with which she had recently been challenged. She wanted to challenge us as well. It was quite simple actually yet it had the potential to be life changing. She simply asked, “If you had no fear, what would you do in 2019?”
She looked around at the faces in the group and repeated the question. I hoped she’d not planned for volunteers to share as my mind was blank. I egotistically thought to myself, “There’s not anything I am not doing because of fear.”
I was so very wrong and God was about to make that very clear to me.
I decided to continue to sing “For the One” even though it was off the schedule. It was going to be my 2019 theme after all and I loved the words, “Oh how he loves us from the homeless, to the famous and in between. You formed us, you made us carefully, ‘cause in the end we are all your children.” That would be how I’d live my life. It didn’t occur to me yet how much I needed to change.
During my lunch break the following day, I was humming these words as I drove to a shopping area near my work. As I approached a major intersection to make a left hand turn, there he was. He stepped off the curb and began walking amongst the cars as they waited for a green light to complete their turn. He held a sign, a sign such as we have all seen—usually made from a tossed piece of cardboard. As I glanced at him, not wanting him to see me looking, I saw the typical words:
- God Bless
An old recording from my past played once again, “Don’t give them money, they just want to buy drugs or alcohol. It’s better not to give them anything if you don’t have food to give.” I had once heard this from a director of a homeless shelter. It had been my mantra every time I saw a panhandler. I kept my eyes focused forward and drove past.
He had a slight limp and was dressed in ill-fitting clothing. I noticed he worn a winter hat and his sign dropped to his side as he walked back toward the intersection to wait for the next group of cars. He appeared to have not been very successful in his collection attempt.
As I drove through the stoplight, making my turn, some of the words I had been humming popped into my head. “Oh how he loves us, from the homeless to the famous and in between. Let me be filled with kindness and compassion for the one, the one...the one for whom you love and gave your son.”
I was stunned. What had I just done? I began to make excuses:
- It is too late now.
- He probably doesn’t even have a baby.
- He might even have a job.
- Maybe his next stop is the liquor store.
How wrong these thoughts were, and that and there was something completely wrong with this picture.
What was wrong was me.
Later that day, as I drove home from work, the image of the man and his sign came back to me and wouldn’t let go. That’s when it all came together. That was my fear and it would keep me from loving humanity like God does. I was so unkind and lacking compassion. How could I love those lyrics, commit to loving like God, and yet do nothing when I saw the man and his sign?
As tears welded up in my eyes, a list of fears poured into my mind. I was afraid of:
- Looking foolish.
- Being taken advantage of.
- What others would say.
- What they use the money for.
All very real and very ridiculous. Was the man today really looking for food or a fix? Did he have a baby? Was he sincere or guilting with “God bless”?
One might think God had finally gotten his point across to me. He was not quite finished.
In the church lobby the following Sunday he brought to my attention all the serving opportunities coming up for Winter Relief. I couldn’t miss the large display of information pamphlets. I took one home. I will be volunteering.
Again God was still not finished with me. On the following Monday, as I did my morning Bible reading, I landed on Matthew 25:45. Here Jesus is speaking in parables to the crowd and explaining what it will be like when we are before the king at the final judgment. Talking about himself he said “...‘ I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’”
I had refused to help. I had refused to help Jesus. How does 2019 change starting out like this?
I change by taking action. Feeling my fear and doing it anyway. Seeing Jesus in the eyes of everyone. It changes when I stop judging the worthiness of those in need.
Maybe these are your fears, maybe not. Whatever your situation, I challenge you too - what would you do in 2019 if you had no fear? Maybe you think fears are no problem like I did at that night at worship team rehearsal. Think about it, pray about it and see what God shows you. He just might have a plan to change you in ways you didn’t even realize needed changing.
Sometimes in life our courses are shifted in directions we did not anticipate. We plan and plan and plan, but no matter how mapped out our route may be, we undoubtedly hit a few bumps along the way, and oftentimes get set off the course entirely. I call these unplanned moments in life “U-Turns”, “Side Roads”, and “Traffic Circles”. It may seem like we’re lost in these moments, but I’d like to suggest a different perspective.
If you take the first letter of each of those words you get UTSRTC. That likely makes no sense to you right now, but I’ll explain how it can be looked at from a different perspective a little bit later to find a hidden meaning. But before we get there, let’s break down each of these moments, and explain what it looks like in our lives.
Sometimes on the road of life, it feels like we start going backwards, or at least like we’re going back to somewhere we’ve already been. Sometimes it feels like we've got a point that we just can't get past, and no matter how hard we try, we keep getting stuck there. Sometimes we’re on our way at full speed, and then life throws a wrench in our plans, bringing us to a screeching halt, seemingly making us lose all of the progress we’ve just made. Other times it’s like a point that we reach over and over, but something (or maybe someone) keeps pulling us back. Or, maybe it’s a decision that we keep coming to, and we struggle to make the choice that moves us past where we keep stopping. Whatever it is, it can be difficult to figure out how to get past these points in our lives.
I call these moments “U-turns”.
When we’re out on our way to a particular destination, sometimes we find ourselves making what feel like “wrong turns”, and it may feel like we’re driving off the beaten path, so to speak. Many times in life it seems as if, even if we’re still moving towards our end destination, we’re either not quite sure where we are, or we’re worried because it feels like our arrival time keeps getting pushed back. Things just seem to not be going according to plans, and we get irritated because the paths we mapped out are not where we currently are. We plan and plan and plan, but it always seems like we hit detours, often times sending us off into the unknown and uncontrollable. These “detours” can be really frustrating, especially when it feels like we’re now headed in the totally wrong direction.
I call these moments “side roads”.
With the U-Turns and Side Roads, even though they can be confusing, and we might feel lost, at least we still feel like we’re still moving. However, there are other times in life where we just feel like we’re stuck in an endless loop, never really knowing when we’re going to get out and get going, and sometimes so dizzy from the circling that it feels like we could get sent in a million different directions. Sometimes we've been going around so long, it seems like we'll never get out and get back on track. And even if we did, we've lost sight of which way to go. Maybe these times have been caused by something out of our control, while other times our inability to choose a path has us running in circles trying to figure out which way to go. Another thing that tends to happen in these moments is that we spend so much of our time looking out, trying to figure out which exit to take, that we take our eyes off what's “inside”. We’re so busy looking out, that we never stop and look in.
I call these moments “traffic circles”.
Lost? Or Just Redirected?
Now that we’ve defined these three moments in life when our plans change, we have to decide how we’re going to view them, and then what we’re going to do about it when it happens. For a large majority of people, we like control. We like the feeling that we’re in charge, and when we can’t control something, we typically have one of two responses: fight or flight.
So, when these situations come up, how do you normally respond? Do you spend all your time and effort focused on fighting back, or “road-raging” so to speak? Do you find that when you get stuck, you start blaming other people, situations, and sometimes even God? This is an easy tendency for us. When we lose control, we try to shift the blame away from ourselves. The problem is, we’ve been behind the wheel the whole time, and we’re the only ones to blame. We have no reason to get upset about where we end up based on the choices we’ve made. Granted, things don’t always go as we planned, but we’ve still had to react to our circumstances, and ultimately we make our own decisions. If we’ve been in the driver’s seat, then only we are to blame. Not only can these responses make our situations worse, but often this leads us to hurt those around us. We blame them, or let out our frustration on them, and our “passengers” – those going along life with us, who were never in control of the wheel – they take the brunt of our frustration merely because of proximity.
Other times as a result of uncomfortable situations we try to flee. We don’t know where we are, so we panic and make rash decisions. We make hasty choices in an effort to just get out and go anywhere but where we currently are. The problem is, this usually leads us to get even more lost. It also usually causes us to ignore those around us, which can be just as hurtful as getting angry with them. Usually those closest to us are just trying to help guide us along, and we either ignore them completely because we are so worried about where we’re going, or we don’t take their advice and make our own irrational decisions. And as we get more lost, we get more and more stressed out, sometimes to the point of losing total control and ending up in a wreck on the side of the road, or so lost we feel hopeless of ever getting back on track.
Choosing Your Path
So, what choice are you going to make the next time you find yourself in one of these kinds of situations? Are you going to panic and flee? Are you going to get angry and blame others? Or, are you going to try a third option?
This third option I’m talking about brings us back to the letters in the beginning: UTSRTC. I told you there was a hidden meaning there. Have you figured it out yet?
If you rearrange the letters, one possible combination ends up being TRUST C, or as I see it, TRUST Christ. If you can learn to not react as you normally would and instead trust Him, then things will turn out a lot better for you. All you have to do is give Jesus the wheel (aka, the control)!
If you’ve ever been a passenger along for a ride, when you’re not the one looking at the map or worried about directions, then for the most part, no matter which way you go, you generally trust that it’s right. It can be the when we trust Jesus. While it may seem scary to give the wheel up, once you relax and realize that he will take you exactly where he wants you to go, then you’ll realize that there’s nothing at all to worry about. However, there’s still some effort on our part, and it’s not as simple as just giving up and letting whatever happens, happen, saying that it is “God’s will”. We still have to hold the wheel. But, like a GPS, if we ask him to, Jesus will be with us every step of the way guiding us to our destinations in life. We still have to step on the gas, and we still have to turn the wheel, but when we are guided by his direction, then we know that every move is taking us exactly along the path that God has planned out for us. We may not always understand where we are going or why, but if we trust, then we know we are always headed in the right direction.
For many of us, control is everything. I know that in my own life, this is completely true. I’ve had to trust God that he knows where I’m supposed to go, and what I’m supposed to do. Giving up control of the wheel hasn’t been easy, and oftentimes I take it back and think that I have a better way. But I have learned that there’s a certain peace in not having all the answers. There’s a relative calmness in knowing that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be, even though the unknown is always all around me. It’s hard to listen, especially when the world is buzzing and telling me where it thinks I should go. But if I quiet myself and listen, the still, small voice of Jesus is there, guiding me ever onward towards the destinations that he has placed in my path. I don’t have to know where all the stops are, I just have to know that Jesus is moving me onward on my journey, stopping where he wants me to stop, driving past where he wants me to drive past, and meeting people along the way I never would have ever planned to on my own.
If you trust Jesus and let him guide you, your life will happen exactly as it should, and you will be ever more attentive to the beautiful destinations of a perfectly planned journey.
So let go of the control, open your eyes, and breathe in every moment. I promise, it will be worth it!