If life is a river, Christ is my kayak but I’m in the rapids, tipping over.
Flowing water always takes the easiest path. So do I. So do I. Sometimes this means calm, serene, quiet drifting across a gently sloping lazy landscape… so pretty. Other times raging whitewater, steep inclines, big rocks, Niagara Falls even. And slowly I turn.
I’m in one of those latter sections on my life’s stream. So much is going on, inside and out. There’s the direction through this torrent I want to go, then there’s the current – God taking me his own way. In a word, change. Life is transitioning from peaceful to … something else. I have no idea what lies on the other side of this busy, fast-paced stretch. I just know I’m really being challenged to hang on right now, and I’m already soaked.
Where to start? Well, I like routine. Same same. For a long time, at least two years, I’ve been able to stick to it. Morning has been journaling, reading, and coffee, or dialysis. (Actually, AM quiet time has been consistent since recovery began in 2008.) Then there was always napping, as I recovered from various surgeries in 2015. Most nights were early to bed. Very predictable.
Unfortunately, my family’s financial ship was sinking. So recently, I began looking for some way, every way, to make extra. Work-from-home online gigs. Selling my stuff. Renegotiating the wireless and cable. Coupons.
I think there’s hope, though. I’ve started driving with Uber and Lyft in the mornings of non-dialysis days. I catch the going-to-work commuters or airport runs. I stay away from the drunken weekend nights. But this has overturned my typical day.
There’s been just as much turmoil spiritually and emotionally. My theme, James 1:8, swings on. Lord, help my unbelief. For the past year or so, I’ve been physically recovered enough to have energy but, without things to do, boredom and idleness and isolation have led to temptation. Old habits have stealthily slipped in. I question my qualifications for worship and words. And I ponder whether God or “reality” is a metaphor for the other. (This sounds complicated, but it’s really just continuing doubt caused by my own “logic.”)
What to do? What to think? Well, for starters, take my own advice. I’ve been through rough waters before – they (eventually) led me to faith. Now, I have to start over.
To navigate change, I need to accept and acknowledge God’s over-riding will on my plans. I can’t go where the river don’t flow. I need a new schedule. Rather than operating on whim, I have to prepare and get organized more than ever.
Prepare your work outside;
Get everything ready for yourself in the field,
And after that build your house.
Who builds a tower without first counting the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?
Spiritually, with my faith at a low ebb, I’m desperately repeating to myself James 4:13-15:
(Today, tomorrow we’ll go here and there, and do this and that…)
Yet you do not know [the least thing] about what may happen in your life tomorrow.
[What is secure in your life?]
Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and we will do this or that.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 are helping, too:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make straight your paths.
I pray for the ability to “be still and know” (Psalm 46:10). What I need is not to be prepared for the unexpected (if that could be so, it wouldn’t be unexpected.) I need to be prepared to encounter the unexpected, resting in the knowledge and acceptance that God has my good in mind. Relearn, relearn.
Plan, now do.
Commit, then complete.
Faith, with action.
Patient, yet urgent.
The urgency is the ominousness of James 4:17 – and this is the one thing I hope you, the reader, take away from this post.
So any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it
(ME: or knows what is wrong to do and still does it),
to him it is sin.
Here are a couple of songs that feel appropriate to me: