One of the best things about being retired is the ability to pick and choose things I want to do. I admit that like most people, once in a while, I unfortunately say yes to too many things at once. In my defense, however, let me say that I am getting better at saying no – umm sometimes. The opportunities God is bringing me to share my gifts for His glory are various and multiple this fall. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. But sometimes I find myself feeling like the apostle Peter felt when he looked down at the water while walking on the waves to meet the Lord. Sometimes I cry out, “Lord, help, this is all too much.” Then I plunge into a mental bath of confusion by insisting I really thought this call or that call came from Jesus who was stretching out His hand and saying, “Come child, we’ve some work to do.”
One of those times came earlier this week. I was in a right panic. I have agreed to do several presentations in sacred dance and drama this fall as well as teach classes to little ones, do at least two adult workshops and continue writing a blog and two books. Yikes!!! The waves seemed to be getting higher and higher and I felt like I was sinking fast. I went out on the back porch and cried out, “Lord, help. I thought these were all things you wanted me to do. But I am getting in over my head. Did I get on the wrong boat here?” At times like these I am so grateful for good neighbors who do not immediately put up “for sale” signs or warning notices that read, “Beware. Real nutter in residence who occasionally goes off her onion.”
Then in my devotional book this morning was the story in Matthew 14:22-33. Goes something like this. Matthew and some of his peeps were out on the lake one night, fishing. The wind and waves got a little rougher than they expected. Jesus came walking on the rough water and Peter thought it would be a swell (no pun intended for you nautical types out there) idea to get out of the boat and hang out closer to the Lord. Jesus was all cool with that. Everything was fine as long as Matthew kept his eyes on Jesus. It was when he looked at what he had gotten himself into, he freaked out and started calling for Jesus to run interference. The Lord did indeed lend a hand and even calmed the rambunctious sea and wind. I can imagine Peter and the boys saying, “Dude! Really?”
Saying I identified with Peter at this juncture of devotional time would be an understatement. I have read this passage many times but today the Lord’s words struck me in a whole new way. “Oh ye of little faith. Why do you doubt me?” This did not feel like a rebuke to me. More it was a gentle reminder from the lover of my soul to return my focus to the source of everything, including my next breath.
After sitting with this scripture for a while, I realized that I did not take any of the previously mentioned tasks on without prayerful consideration. They are not all due at the same time. And I am not doing any of these things alone. I also acknowledged that I said no to several events for this fall in order to be a good steward of my time. It was like I could hear Him say, “Take a deep breath, daughter. I’ve got your back. And instead of looking with panic at the future, try looking with wonder at the past.” When we least expect it, He surprises and delights us like no one else can. So in His sweet, nurturing, fatherly love, He brought me the words of one of my favorite hymns.
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.”
When I took a few moments to look in His face and at all He has brought me through, I truly felt humbled. And when I considered the blessings, gifts and education He has given me, I could not help but feel thankful. I was hard pressed to find one time God has failed me, forgotten me, or left me on my own – there is not one time in 61 years. Quite a record huh?
The truth is that the opportunities in this time of my life are very exciting and I will get to live out God’s purpose for my life within many communities. I do know that living in the past or worrying about the future are not healthy mental activities. But I have come to see that sometimes by reviewing what God has done for me, I am empowered with gratitude and confidence to go forth with His awesome plans. I see where He has been and still is always right beside me, even when the waves seem to be rising.
Copyright September 2012
Lakewood, CO 80401