Monday, October 20, 2014

Brave the Deep

A part of me has always wanted to go scuba diving in the ocean.

To see the beautiful array of coral and fish
To play with the friendly dolphins
To experience the underwater world


But my desire to venture into the depths has been largely overshadowed by my fear of what lies beneath.

I could run out of air and drown.
SHARKS!!!  (Isn’t that reason enough?)
The water pressure could crush me.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Those excuses have about a 3% chance of happening. 
But, c’mon, that’s still a very real possibility.

And I don’t typically do things that I’m not sure 100% sure are going to work out.

Do you?
Personally, I like to play it safe.


But, I have been feeling a slight nudge in my Spirit lately to go deeper.
You know what I mean.
Like God is saying, “ You are living too safe. I have so much more for you. Jump in . Dive down. I want you to throw off your fears and live reckless with your faith. BRAVE THE DEEP."

I’ve never been what one might call the “brave” type.
I like my life in definite terms. My future to be clearly outlined.

Give me a set of rules, a list of objectives, something concrete...and I’ll  gladly come along.
But to move with the wind of the Spirit, not sure where He might lead me...that’s just plain scary.


Do you know what SCUBA stands for?
Self Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus

An oxygen tank allows the person to breathe, explore, and swim around freely in the aquatic atmosphere.
I find this such a great analogy for the Christian life.

With Jesus we can move around with freedom in unfamiliar territory.
We have our own breathing machine….the breath of keep us from drowning.
We have access to the source of life...the only way to live without all times.

He is our Scuba tank!
When I recognize that my ability to brave the deep is not dependent on how much I can do on my own but on the very presence of Jesus Christ living within me, then I feel empowered to conquer this fear.

I can go beyond my very real and very daunting limits by allowing the Holy Spirit to navigate the waters for me.
He wants to take us to a deeper level of trust and intimacy with Him.
But we have to let go of our fear...and allow Him to be our oxygen tank.

Unlike the physical tank that Scuba divers use, the breath of Christ is always never runs out.
He can keep us from crumbling under the pressure of a rapidly changing environment.
He can keep us from being eaten alive by the sharks of social media, negativity, or unforeseen circumstances.
He can keep us from drowning due to personal lack or insecurity or past mistakes.

Because He is the breath of life, the conqueror of fear, the never-changing One.

What are you waiting for?
This is your chance to go somewhere you've never been before.

Let God lead you into uncharted waters.
Let's brave the deep together.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Mountains and Memories

Growing up, my family would visit the mountains around Thanksgiving every year. 
I loved the sights and smells of it all.
Crisp air and crunchy leaves were like a warm blanket around my soul. 
They comforted me.  

Now, every year around Autumn I long for the mountains. 
I remember those trips with fondness and a tinge of sadness because miles between my family and I have prevented them from continuing on. 
Personal loss of precious family members has caused those memories to be bittersweet as well. 

There is a longing in my heart that will always be conjured up when the seasons start to change and the cool winds start to blow. 
And I get lost in thought of what used to be...what once was...and why it has to be different now. 

That type of thinking is hard to overcome this time of year.
It threatens my joy as if it were an avalanche lurking over my head just waiting to consume me. 
No air. No way out. 

Have you ever felt this way before? 
Like you just feel suffocated by what used to be? 
Like you can't breathe in new air because you're choking on the old air?

Let me encourage you today, friend.
Seasons change. They come and go. 
It will eventually warm up again.
The leaves will gradually fade into the earth. 
God made it this way on purpose. 

But what will we miss out on if our focus is on yesterday or tomorrow instead of today? 
If we are looking for a way out (physically or emotionally) instead of learning from the season we're in, do we really get anywhere? 

Here's what today offers: 
Colorful landscapes
Invigorating wind gusts
Crunchy leaves to jump in

I know for me, it is hard to see past the pain sometimes because once it's triggered, it wants to linger.
But I'm learning that the triggers will always be there. 
The pain will come out when I least expect it. 
And I have to make a choice. 

Do I dwell in that place of loss and let it overwhelm me?
Or do I let the pain carry me to a place of gain as I recognize the moment for what it is? 

Passing too quickly
Here today, gone tomorrow

Yes, I am grateful that seasons change. 
But I'm more grateful that they change ME.

I never want to go back and be who I was.
I'm always learning, growing, becoming...

So are you. 

And while I miss some things about yesterday, and while it hurts like hell some days, I am so glad I am who I am today. 

So, let yourself feel the pain of yesterday as the fall air blows hard outside your door. 
Then make yourself a cup of hot chocolate, sit on the front porch, and feel the moment of change you're in right now. 

It only happens once. 
And you don't want to miss it. 

"For everything there is a season,
  a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance."
-Ecclesiastes 3:1-4