Out of control

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I will instruct you and teach you about the direction you should go. I’ll advise you and keep my eye on you. ~Psalm 32:8 (CEB)

Life can be overwhelming. Ultimately the only thing I can control is my own life and what will happen to me. And even that is limited. The easiest thing would be to live in a guarded, safe, controlled way, to stop taking risks and to be ruled by my fears of “what might happen”. Turning inward is one way to respond to life’s uncertainties. The other is to acknowledge my lack of control and to reach up for God’s help.  Knowing that I cannot control my circumstances is important.

If life was stable, I’d never need God. Since it isn’t stable I reach out to God often. It can be difficult to be thankful for the unknowns in life. It is scary to think I have very limited control but these situations cause me to run to God. A spirit of fear can immobilize me and enforce my want of a more guarded and safe life where variables are more controlled. God does not want me to live this way. He wants me to be adventurous.

One Easter a few years ago, since we have no family in town my husband, son and I set out after church just to see what we could see. We had no real plan except to spend the day together. We got in the car and headed out over the Foothills Parkway. We stopped at every overlook and got out to see each view of the mountains. We stopped at a stream and threw rocks into the water. Then when we made it to the other side of the parkway we decided to turn left onto hwy 129 and head toward North Carolina. Still, no real plan, just not ready to head home we followed Hwy 129 through all its switches back and forth, over and around the mountains. We enjoyed the views and the beautiful day. After we crossed over the state line we were close to Fontana village and since my husband had worked there one summer while in college he thought it would be fun to look around. While we walked around we stumbled across an Easter egg hunt and my son was invited to join in.

We enjoyed exploring Fontana village. Again we found that we were not ready to call it a day. Since we would be passing Fontana dam our way back home, we thought we would check it out too. Before getting to the dam we stumbled upon Fontana Lake and took a few minutes to explore the boat dock there before continuing on to the dam. Slowly we meandered our way to the dam where we found that the views were glorious. We wandered around, walked over the dam and around the little visitor’s center.

It was a wonderful day. We had nowhere to rush off to, the weather was beautiful and we were not expecting certain things out of our day out. We just took it all as it came. I told my son who exclaimed what a great time he had had that we could never have planned that day. A day like that day just happens. A day like that cannot be controlled and still have the same enjoyment. It was the spirit of exploring that made that day special.

An adventurer never knows what treasures will be stumbled upon and those precious moments can never be planned. Although an adventure seems risky the rewards are always worthwhile. With God at my side, the risks of living are never too great and I often prize those things God has done when I live my life. With my eyes on God, I can have the confidence to step out on faith to see in the world what there is to see, one little treasure at a time.

Heavenly Father, grant to me this day an adventurous heart to bravely go out into the world a little out of control for You. Help me to store all the treasures I find deep in my heart to be pulled out and shared with others along the way. May I never be so self-controlled that I miss out on the joy You have in store for me. Watch closely over me and guide me in the way that I should go. I thank you for Your love. Amen.

Opposition

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For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Heb 4:15-12 (NRSV)

When I make the choice to be a follower of Christ, I will face opposition. The opposition may arise within me; it may arise among fellow Christians, or it may arise in the world around me. It may be subtle, blatant, mild, or severe. The question is not will it come but how to respond when I am faced with opposition.

The opposition from within myself comes from my commitment to a lifelong journey with the Holy Spirit as my navigator. Distress can arise from finding myself heading in a direction that I am not sure about. I find that I am not called to go to the places that I feel comfortable traveling. Sometimes I feel like the connection is lost while I am to wait or remain silent. Doing the right thing does not lend itself to easy directions. When the connection is clear I can find that the path I am to follow is not one I would have chosen.

When I turn to my Bible I find good news! I am not alone in my struggles. Reading about Gideon in the Bible shows me that it is possible to face the unknown, impossible odds, staggering opposition without fear and without defeat. Abraham was called to leave all that he knew for the promise of a better life. I can turn to the Bible for inspiration for my struggles but I can not expect to be instantly where Mary was in her witness. Neither can I think that there is something wrong with me because I struggle with internal or external opposition. It is in opposition that Jesus seeks to form me and grow me into the person he wants me to be. It is the process of moving from infant milk to adult food (Heb 5:13).

How am I to face opposition when it comes? Squarely, humbly, openly, and with all the faith I can muster. “…For Surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope (Jer. 29:10-11)

Heavenly Father, I thank You for the example of Christ and for the Holy Spirit that lives in me guiding me where I am to go. I know You hold my future and Your plans are for my good. Stay close as I go through these growing pains and bolster my heart to always do your will. Amen.

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