Jun 232015
 

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.  :))

 

 

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Feb 022015
 

When it comes to food, I am all about the new.  Trying various online recipe’s for dinner, a friends’ raved about dessert for small group, and always ordering the “special” at a given restaurant is what.  I.  do.

My husband, on the other hand, sticks with his tried and true Chicken Marsala at Olive Garden, cookies and cream icecream flavor, and Papa Murphy’s Cowboy pizza.  I am pretty sure my food mantra is, “If you try it, you might like it” and his is something like, “If you try it, you might hate it” (not literally of course).

But for some reason, my try the new mindset does not transfer to other areas of my life so easily.  For instance, I have my regular running route I have used for years.  I know the distance.  I know the houses along the way.  I know how long before an uphill.  And how long before the desired downhill.  So to suggest trying a new flavor of path is to welcome radical living in my small world.

But today was a new day.  A day of embracing the extreme living.  A day of throwing caution to the wind.  A day where predictability was a past time.  It was the day to run a fresh, green, unknown, untried running route.  (And at this point the majority of you are saying, “She needs to get out more.”  And as I write this, I would absolutely agree with you.)

It was one of those strange fall day’s in Oregon in which the sun was shining.  My mother and father in law came to watch my youngest, and with my meeting being unexpectedly cancelled, the couple hours to myself was wide open.  A run with the Lord seemed like about the best thing I could think to do.  (I had slipped into my non running mode during these cold, wet days and it was time to pick it back up again.)  And it was.

Something in me called to go a different path.  Risk a little.  Try the new.  “Now, new food I can do”, I thought to myself, “New running path, this seems just a little too out there for me.”  But the wild hair inside me wouldn’t let up and I felt my shoes veer the opposite direction.  Of normal.  Expected.  And comfortable.

The path was rocky.  As opposed to my typical smooth concrete.  I ran through an orchard of tree’s.  My eyes were highlighting landscape all around me.  All was well.  Until my worry train brain joined the party.

I wondered where this path lead.  Would I get lost?  Would I get too far out and be too exhausted to finish the run back?  Would there be a lot of traffic?  Would the uphill’s out number the down?  Would the path take me to a scary section of town?  My mind was running faster than my feet were.

Just as I started to pray to calm my inner crazy, a dog from off in the distance was running full speed at me.  And barking.  Loudly.  And continually.  The inner crazy was back.

I stopped running to see if that would make a difference with the animal.  No.  I walked.  Still coming full speed.  I looked around to see if there were any houses, other paths to escape to.  No such luck.  I thought to myself, “Mace is always a good idea to bring on a run.”  But of course I didn’t have that great thought beforehand and it definitely didn’t help my current situation one bit.

Somewhere in all the trying and failing and scared for my life feelings, I prayed that God would help me.  Then I just kept running, the only thing that was left to do.  And praise God.  After what seemed to be the longest 3 minutes of my life, the dog turned around and went back to wherever he had come from.  Didn’t care where or why.  Just breathed in and out and felt real thankful.

This journey on the new road wasn’t over.  There is more of this story to tell.  But I took one thing away from this first section of the new path-true living is embracing the new.  In all its rocks.  Discomforts.  Questions.  Doubts.  Scares.  And humility.  In all its maneuvering of sights, sounds, smells, tastes and people.  Anticipation of what’s up ahead.  Highs of overcoming challenges.  Joys of brilliant God ordained moments.  Our God beckons us to take His hand and walk with Him on the new path He has for us in this current season.  The question is, will we?

What new person(s), project, ministry, job, attitude, perspective, or way is God calling you to this season?  If you don’t know, will you take some time to talk with Him/ask Him?

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? 

Isaiah 43:19

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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