Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9
Yes. It’s here again. Summer. In our house this translates as many things, but I would say the word “transition” is the theme of it all. Our transitions have included out of the early morning school routines and into the sleep in’s. Out of my husband’s regular full day schedule of teaching courses and into him being home more with the family. Out of the small group/bible studies/Awana programs, dance lessons (in other words the “regularly scheduled activities) and into the somewhat haphazardly changing schedule of swimming lessons, camps, family BBQ invites, park day trips, free lunch program, gardening upkeep, garage sales, and kiddie pool time in the backyard.
Last week was the start of swimming lessons. We have done quite a bit of our “own lessons” in the pool, so I was somewhat hesitant as to which would be the best level to place my girls in. But I went with my best guess. (And was able to finagale them into the same time/lesson which was actually probably the main priority/ happy element of it all for me.)
The girls seemed to be fitting in with their group even though they were the only ones upholding girl power. I was a happy, contented Mom as I watched their lessons for 2 main reasons: #1- they seemed to be trying some new techniques which stretched their current abilities. #2-Their teacher was organized and gifted-therefore my hard earned money was being put to good use.
I caught their teacher’s eye after the last lesson and said, “Thanks for all your hard work!” He replied with an answer I wasn’t expecting, “It’s sure great when you have brave ones to work with!”
I had a mental chewing on the word “brave” for my entire drive home. I thought about the prayer I had been praying for the girls as they entered these lessons, “Lord, help them to be brave.” And next the 2 questions I always ask them after each swimming lesson, “Did you do something new? and Did you obey your teacher?” The 2 questions I asked them were absolutely correlated with the character trait of bravery. The words from the song, “You make me wanna be brave” surfaced on the brain-“The way it always was, is no longer good enough. You make me wanna be brave.” Bravery is the mark of a good swimming student and it is also the mark of a good follower of Jesus.
Living a life of faith in Jesus requires us to be brave. Much of the time. I want to be living an ever growing, maturing relationship with Jesus. And if I find myself at a standstill in my walk with God, doing things on autopilot as I always have been, “holding on to the pool’s edge without venturing into uncharted waters”, I may need to ask myself the 2 questions I asked my girls after swimming each day: “Have I done something new lately (being stretched for the Kingdom, acting in my weakness)?” “Am I obeying my teacher (God)?” If the answer is “no” to either of these questions, I may want to have a heart to heart with my heavenly Father.
If obedience to my “teacher” is first and foremost, then the bravery piece will come into play as we step into the new with our walk with God. Someone once asked me what was, in my opinion an easy answer of “Yes”- “If you knew without a doubt God was asking you to do something, would you do it?” But this isn’t the reality most of the time for us as we live by faith, responding to the Spirit. We don’t have absolute assurity. We have what we believe to be a still small voice/idea that comes into our mind in which we believe to be from God, not from us. We have a word in scripture which jumps out of the page to us in the morning and then later in the day a friend echos this same message of direction/wisdom for us. We have a moment with a stranger in which our heart beats fast and we feel impressed to go talk with them. All what seem to be the Spirit telling us to go-do-respond-AND then we. have. a. choice. To be brave. Even when we are not SURE. Even when we may look silly. Even when we don’t have a clue what we are doing.
So I am challenged this summer to grow in my maturity/bravery as a “swimming student” with God, my instructor. And my hope is that He will be thinking the same thing as my girls’ instructor said, “It’s sure great when you have brave ones to work with.”
Oh Lord help me be brave. Like you. For you. With you.
(By the way, the Love it Up series is off for the summer/I am planning to have the rest available when the book comes out. :))
© 2012 Standing on Peace