Paddle board Perspectives

It’s amazing how the Lord speaks when you tap into his power, get into his word, and allow for him to speak. Merely desiring to hear, but taking no action or preparation to hear, won’t cut it. God wants you to seek him. It’s an action. It can’t be passive. You’re either paddling forward or you’re floating backwards. There is not standing still in your walk.

My brother and I were on our paddleboard at the lake one week this summer and I was sitting while he paddled. After a while he got tired of paddling and we switched. When he sat down he asked if it felt wobbly while I was sitting. At first I thought he was giving me a hard time implying that my balance wasn’t as good as his. But, turned out, that’s not really what he was saying.

I said that it didn’t seem to wobble very much and then asked why he had asked, and if the board felt wobbly to him now that he was sitting. He said that it wasn’t wobbling much, but that it felt like it wobbled more while sitting than when he was standing. He was right. Standing on the board made it seem less wobbly, and you couldn’t feel every little movement as intensely as when sitting. Standing, your legs allow you to balance and they give a little with the waves. Sitting, this doesn’t work.

So maybe life is like standing or sitting on a paddleboard in a way. Depending on your perspective, your circumstances can seem quite different. When you’re down and feel like you’re just sitting and waiting, and you feel like you aren’t hearing from God, life may seem shaky and rough. This doesn’t mean that even when you’re on top and hear the Lord clearly that times won’t be tough and that there won’t be any wobbles. However, they are easier to take when you’re standing on the Lord. When you’re seeking Him wholeheartedly and patiently listening to Him, you are able to have a new perspective on your circumstances and your life as a whole. Suddenly, those huge waves your “storm” was throwing you around in seem like small ripples.

“He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.” –Psalm 107:29

Your gaze goes up toward the God who can calm all storms and you gain an eternal perspective that reveals a glory that outweighs all trials on this earth.

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” -2 Corinthians 4:17


Let The Good Times Roll

Hang on to memories, smile when you think of them, laugh about them, reminisce about them and share them, but be careful not to get caught living in them. The Lord has plans to give you a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11) and those plans are far better than anything you could ever imagine. 

“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has ever conceived are the things God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

He gives us the gifts of those memories, but there are many more ahead. Don’t miss out on today and memories you could be making right now because you are too busy wishing you were still living that great memory. In the words of good ‘ol Dr. Seuss – “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”

After weekends like these last few, it’s hard not to wish they could last forever. However, as I think about this more and more I have found that this mind set puts God in a box. I’m not trusting that he can bless me with even more. Who’s to say God can’t create even better memories or friendships in our futures?

I hate goodbyes. I used to want something to happen at the end of vacations that would make me want to go home so that leaving would be easier. Dumb, I know. Some of my best memories are from family beach vacations with my grandparents and all of my cousins. It was always hard to leave because I don’t get to see them very often throughout the year, but that makes our time together that much more special. The Lord has grown me in this and I no longer ever want the trip to end with anything less than the best day of the week.

When you try to avoid the feelings you don’t like, you usually avoid the good ones too. Trust the Lord to bring new blessings everyday. Don’t be afraid to completely let go and love people or your time at a place even if it means a harder end or goodbye.

I’ve learned that if you worry about the end of the week and having to say goodbye, you fill your mind with discouragements and you aren’t able to fully live in and enjoy the moment. You miss out on good times and great memories because you are too busy worrying about missing them!

If you are afraid to really invest in and become friends with someone because you are afraid of screwing it up, not being liked, or of the friendship not working out, you may avoid rejection or the pain of an end or a goodbye, but you miss out on what could be the best friendship you’ve ever had too.

I’ve come to realize the blessing a true God given friendship can bring. I have zero patience though, so waiting for the Lord to develop those friendships can be hard. I realized that true, real friendships that last are precious gifts from God and that I have to seek this type of relationship with him first and he will take care of the rest. Patience is required to build strong friendships. It takes time to get to know someone and to build trust between the two of you. And you just have to trust in the Lord’s goodness and perfect timing.

I also learned that not every friendship is necessarily going to be a tight one. Sometimes my role to play is just being an encouragement for a short time or a bridge to them meeting someone else who is supposed to be their close friend. I have to be content in that and trust that the Lord knows best, that he knows what we need, and that if I am obedient I will fill the role I am supposed to in his plan.

Prayer has become a huge part in all of this. Seeing the Lord’s faithfulness in an answered prayer is a beautiful thing. God’s goodness has been overwhelming lately. It is so encouraging to know his promises are true and that he is good all the time.

We need to love like we were children. Kids become instant best friends with anyone they meet. They whole-heartedly jump into being your friend without worrying about what anyone else thinks, without any preconceived notions about what the friendship should be or not be, and with no concern about how it may end.

“I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:2-4 

I have the blessing of serving at an elementary school afterschool program in Loachapoka, AL and the first day I was there I made over 20 new friends. Sure they were all under the age of 7, but they are awesome. One little boy came up to me, asked my name, and just started talking about everything that came to his mind. We talked about everything from Ninja Turtles to school to how old we are. As we sat there, he hesitated for a minute, grabbed my arm, and said, “Ooh, you have big muscles!” I died, of course, because I really don’t have very big muscles, but also because kids are funny. They say whatever is on their minds and don’t care what anyone else thinks. The carefree joy that comes from children is contagious and so uplifting.

I have been blessed with so many great friendships in the last few years. I have a family away from home here. The kids at Loachapoka asked my roommate and me if we were sisters and really, we might as well be. It’s so cool to see the Lord work in our family here. As friends graduate, they don’t leave the family; they just become distant relatives. As new friends come in, they become another member of our family. The Lord is always at work whether we can see it or not and trusting in your relationship with him will bring peace about your relationships with others.

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19

Jesus changed everything. If the people of God lived in the past and only focused on the blessings they had already received, they would have missed out on the greatest blessing of all time. They would have missed out on a relationship with the God of the universe who loves beyond what we can comprehend.




Always Running

Just living life. Running after more. I find myself constantly looking to what’s next. I run after everything I do with all I have. Though this is great, I have to remind myself to shift my focus from not just running after a goal, a grade, a future, or the next best thing, but to running after something, someONE who is more important.
A few Sundays back, I was home and went to church with my family. They started going to this church after I left for college, so it doesn’t exactly feel like home to me, but this particular Sunday the Lord knew I needed to hear from him.
The new series is Upgrade. We all want upgrades in life. I have realized that pretty much since middle school, I have always wanted to move on to the next stage of life, or in other words, upgrade to the new. In middle school I couldn’t wait to get out and get to high school. In high school I couldn’t wait to get out and just get to college. I thought if I could just get to the next step then something great would be there and I could start doing what I want to do, what I was made to do. Each “upgrade” became harder for me to wait for and now I’m in my last year of undergrad and all I want to do is get out there and DO something, start into what I was made to do, what I want to do with my life.
My mindset has been all wrong. I was made to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with my God (Micah 6:8). This can be done here and now. In always looking to the next chapter of my life, I am missing out on the chapter I’m currently living in. The future will come, and I will one day be working in a career that will glorify the Lord. Until that day comes, I have a purpose in TODAY, right here, where I currently am. God made me to be a part of bringing His kingdom to this earth. He is using me right where I am and I need to stop looking to the one day and focus on the today. I read a book about Mariano Rivera this summer and in it he said, “I have today and I’m going for it!” I will rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for me in Christ Jesus (1 Thes. 5:16-18). So instead of searching for God’s will in my life, I need to realize that God is not going to give it to me on a silver platter and show me the exact steps to take. Where’s the fun in that? However, as long as I am loving God, loving others, and seeking FIRST the Lord, then the rest will fall into place. No decision I make can hinder God’s ability to carry out his will for me. I have to trust he is working all the time and that all the time he is good.
So back to what church was about that Sunday…
The pastor talked about wanting upgrades. He said we don’t need something new to do. We need Christ to make us new. Focus on the WHO first, not the WHAT. If we miss the who part, then no amount of whats will ever satisfy us or fix us. Only Christ can make us new and change our ways. There are whats such as prayer and being in the Word, worship, and community that aid in the seeking who, but ultimately the who, Jesus, is what changes us. The Holy Spirit was speaking directly to me. So many times I try to do and do and do. In all of my doing, I miss the most important thing – chasing after Jesus. I need to spend time with God instead of spending all of my time doing for God. Serving the Lord is something we’re all called to do and I know without a shadow of a doubt that I live to serve my God with all I am; however, I can’t fully do this unless I am tapped into his power and seeking him first above all else allows me to tap into that power.
So this year I am going to seek Jesus first more. I am going to take that time with him, to be filled by him so that I can pour out into others. If I’m not full, I will have nothing to fill others with because I surely cannot fill them with me. I can only fill them with the love of Christ. I don’t satisfy, Christ does. I don’t bring joy to others, Christ does through me. So, I’m running after more.