Kayaking, Granola and Obedience

My husband and I had the amazing opportunity to go kayaking this weekend at a nearby lake.

We had been looking forward to this outing for several days and our excitement to have a bit of an adventure sans kids shone through our mutually silly and grinning faces. I love kayaking, but it had been over a decade since I last set either of my feet inside a kayak. The Midwest wind was crazy and the waves were more than choppy as we parked the truck and unloaded the kayaks onto the sand.

Despite my excitement, I felt a bit uncertain. Thoughts of the boat tipping and water snakes and fish biting at my ankles filled my head. Even though I had some experience, I was still nervous. Even though I knew my husband would bail me out of the murky lake water if I tipped, my heart beat a little faster as we pushed off from the shore.

Still I knew this was the outing I’d been waiting for, and couldn’t wait to push off into the water. I simply hoped and trusted it would all turn out fun, whatever happened.

Sure enough, after even a few minutes every shred of my nervousness dissipated into the thrill of seeing what was around the next bend. Of course with the wind, the arm workout was almost more than I could handle by the end, but when we finally hit a stopping point I felt completely differently than I had when we set out an hour before.

Words like exhilarated, peaceful, and free rolled around my head. And as I watched the yellow late-September leaves tumble onto the lakeshore from the trees above I realized that I was so glad I decided to do the thing that made me nervous at the beginning.

Is God speaking to your soul this week about something that you know is good and right, but has you just a bit freaked out? Have you heard Him gently tapping on your heart about that one thing you’ve thought a million times about doing, but keep pushing it aside?

So many times I’ve felt that clammy-hand, racing-heart gut feeling that says, I should do it…I think I could…No, way… I couldn’t…but I should…I really should.

God speaks in so many different ways, but for me, when there’s something I know I should do – but fear or worry or pride keeps me from doing it – that awful gut feeling only worsens. Until I obey.

One time – honestly, my Bible study friends can attest to this! – the task was as simple as making a couple of quarts of granola for a neighbor. For some reason I was terrified. I didn’t know her at all, but knew she recently had a significant loss in her life…

Would I be offending her if I just showed up on her porch? What if she’s allergic to an ingredient in my granola? Should I make something entirely different? Would she be too sad (or simply worried) to even open the door to a stranger? What would the other neighbors think? Should I be making granola for everyone?? Those are some of my honest thoughts, but I knew deep down that truly they were also terrible excuses. God had laid her on my heart for a reason and when I confessed this to my Bible study girls, they stated so matter-of-factly, just do it!

And it really was that simple. Those words: freedom, exhilaration, peace – rolled around in my head the same way they did this weekend at the lake.

I don’t know how God speaks to you when he wants you to obey. Maybe in a whisper when your open window catches the breeze. Maybe in a song on the radio. Maybe with heart-pounding gut feelings that say just do it.

Can I tell you a secret? Today it was THIS post. (That’s why it’s going live so late!)

Whatever that thing is this week, I’m praying both you and I will have the guts to say yes. To hear his call. To obey again. And again.

I know we won’t regret it.

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

James 1:22

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”

Matthew 7:24

Illumine

I was reading through some poetry last night and these words made me catch my breath. I think I’ve heard them before somewhere… The context, the author, and any extra thoughts about it escaped me though. I read it again. What a notion…to request from God himself to illuminate all that is dark within my soul!

Lord knows there’s a lot of it. Darkness so deep I can’t even begin to see where it starts and ends.

And that is why I need Christ.

Because he sees my heart, and knows all the dark corners that I have neglected, refused to see, and have even been hiding from — subconsciously or otherwise.

It’s radical. It’s a revolutionary – or no, maybe just plain scary – idea to ask in vulnerability for the Creator of Light to take a Holy lantern to every cobweb of our souls.

Photo by Highland Magazine on Unsplash

John Milton’s words are tough to swallow, and an even harder prayer to pray. Buried deep within me are the faults I don’t even want to admit to myself, much less my family or Bible study group or even best friends . The little lies and fears I end up believing deep in my soul. The anxiety and shame I allow myself to dwell on. The hurtful comments and judgmental attitudes of my heart. How could I possibly let go of all that to someone Who could expose it all?

What is dark in me, illumine.

-John Milton, Paradise Lost

But then, maybe if I surrendered…and allowed Jesus to step into the dark recesses of my heart, I’d feel a bit brighter. A bit less burdened. Maybe it would be easier to breathe and move and live.

If I choose this morning to come defenseless to the throne of God, I can trust in his mercy. I can rely on His grace. Those blankets of darkness – anger, anxiety, hurt, fear, regret – can dissipate into nothing if only I allow Jesus to pour out his grace-light upon them. And instead of that darkness, pure white radiance would flow into those corners instead.

It would flow into and across and over and pretty soon, the whole of my soul would be illuminated with Him.

And that is exactly what I desire.

More of Him. Less of me.

My prayer today – as terrifying as it is – echoes Milton. The vulnerability is worth it when you can trust your life with the Creator.

 What is dark in me, dear Jesus, illumine.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Hebrews 4:16

Blessings,

Cup of Christmas Cheer

Our tree is up,

the lights are glowing,

Christmas-cheer-cup

overflowing.

 

Presents wrapped and

fire aglow,

ready for the first

big snow.

 

Candles lit and

spirits bright,

Christ, come into

our home tonight.

IMG_8839

Merry Christmas, readers!

 

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Praying Through Cooking

I promise I didn’t originally plan for this post to come out the week after Thanksgiving…but it is fitting, isn’t it? 😉

Continue reading “Praying Through Cooking”

The Greatest Commandment – Strength

Physical strength is something that…well, doesn’t come easy to me! I don’t have a lot muscles, or a lot of extra time work building them! On better days though, I can feel the energy flowing – thanks caffeine – and feel the sudden need to DO ALL THE THINGS.

Continue reading “The Greatest Commandment – Strength”