If Life Is A River… I’m In The Rapids

If Life Is A River… I’m In The Rapids

waterfallIf 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.

IMG_3764Where 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.

whitewaterUnfortunately, 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.

cronstruction sitePrepare your work outside;
Get everything ready for yourself in the field,
And after that build your house.
(Proverbs 24:27)

Who builds a tower without first counting the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?
(Luke 14:28)

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.”
(AMP translation)

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.

img_3666Plan, 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:

When I Don’t Know What To Do (Tommy Walker) (YouTube, with lyrics)
Please buy the digital download from my affiliate link:
When I Don’t Know What To Do

Creed (Third Day) (YouTube)
Please buy the digital download from my affiliate link:
Creed (Live in Portland, ME)

“Let It Play” No More

Hey. (Hmmm, yes?)

I had a thought… (That’s good- kind of like breathing is good.)

Lol. I was just thinking, you know how ____ happened today, and we did ____? (Yes, that was good – the right thing to do.)

Well, it occurred to me that the old me would’ve let that play out – because there might have been something … nice for us- (You mean nice for you, Flesh.)

Right, I keep forgetting… (I know! But you have changed, that’s for sure.)

Although The Book says I’ll ever be the same… (Technically… but that was when Mind followed your lead. Wiser… heads prevail now.)

Yes, I understand that … now. I still say I was just ignorant before… (You were and are easily tempted to chase whatever feels good, Flesh. It’s kind of the way you were made- running from danger does keep you alive, as you know. It was when Mind… didn’t ‘mind’ the shop, so to speak, that you both got into trouble.)

Such trouble! Lol! I’m so glad that I can laugh about those days now- (Laugh only a little, I hope. Some… evil things were done when you got going under the influence.)

I know. I know. And I am truly, deeply sorry I was the cause of such things… I can never forget. Sometimes, I can feel Mind getting really down on us again… starts telling me things would be better off- (Without being accusatory, Flesh, that is your depressive chemical imbalance speaking, but I see what you’re saying. Yes, your slate is clean- spiritually. You simply must not forget that earthly consequences are not at all the same thing. I can’t save you from those.)

… (You still awake?)

Ya, I was just thinking… it’s the ‘team’ of us that gets us by in this world. Y’know each doing what we’re supposed to do; what we’re each good at… (Lol! One might say yours is not the thinking! Ha! That’s a good one! Mind does the thinking and deciding, and you do the moving and heavy lifting. Except when there’s bears- then you have the authority to get us out of here!)

Lol! And those stinging bugs! ‘We hates them, Precious!’ (Ah, great movie! Good redemptive story! It’s on again tomorrow, maybe we could-) My turn to interrupt! We’ve got responsibilities to take care of, you know! But… if we get everything done, maybe there’ll be enough time to relax for a bit.

(As long as you stop relaxing when the time is up…)

Yes. Yes, I get it now:

“Let it play” (No more!)

(Now, put the phone away and go to sleep. It’s 1:30 in the morning!)

I’m thirsty. I think I’ll get a glass of water. (You just did.)

Why Do I Fear NOT Turning Back?

Why Do I Fear NOT Turning Back?

My Dear Readers,

I’m in need of encouragement. Today, something may happen that will have an immeasurable psychological impact on my comfort level. I “say” I am a writer and blogger as a means of earning my way; it may come to a point where I have no other choice. Or chance.

Thorin: “You’re afraid.”
Balin: “Yes! Yes, I fear for YOU…”
– The Hobbit, The Desolation of Smaug

You see, my self is ever mired in James 1:8 (a double-minded man). I desire, and believe (help my unbelief!) that God has called me – and literally paved the way – to a life of service to others via Sharing His Story in my life. But I do love my padded golden cage, and this makes me consistently irresolute. Shamefully, I don’t/can’t/won’t fully trust Him.

“When he reached the New World, Cortez burned his ships.
As a result his men were well motivated.”
Remius, The Hunt For Red October

Quite often, I lack motivation to pursue this vision intensely. I’m pretty laid back in mood and effort – perhaps even lackadaisical? It is, so to speak, the way I am. I avoid all or nothing scenarios. (Yet I believe that is the way Christians are led to live. Be Living Believing.)

And these past few years of recovering (on disability) from severe health issues (with a few more years to go before I am transplanted back into the “real” world) have been made safe by not one, but two, fallbacks. (If I fail to earn a living as a writer/blogger/speaker, I have job – to me, a four-letter word – leads.) But suddenly, Plans B and C are in jeopardy, before Plan A has really gotten started.

“Follow your bliss.”
“Where you stumble, there your treasure lies.”
– Joseph Campbell

I’m certain you all will understand my fear of not turning back. Dare I risk the certain discomfort and stress of risking all? Of forcing myself into a life of making my bliss a “should/have to do” instead of “enjoy/want/like to do”? Of committing to this one thing? (How long can one keep all options open?)

The thing is, my life IS a story of repeated miraculous provision – those just-in-(God’s)-time rescues. The evidence throughout my past is refutable. We’ve never not had our basic needs abundantly filled. I have every reason to

Trust in the Lord with all [my] heart and lean not on [my] own understanding;
– Proverbs 3:5-6

He has made my paths straight (although kind of like a stock market uptrend), yet I still resist submitting 100% to him.

It pays to take life seriously;
things work out when you trust in God.
– Proverbs 16:20

Dear Followers, you have read some of my “work” (it hasn’t felt like toil). I need assurance that it “sells”. Is it worthy? Please comment. Can you make me sure?

The only bad decision is no decision, because it leads to inaction.”
– Jonathan Fields

The featured image is our senior kitty, Squeaks, who came to interrupt my writing this post. Kind of just like the doubt and fear that hampers me figuratively.