Monday, January 2, 2017

Walking On Water, Part I

Welcome back and thank you for checking out my blog!  As you can see, The Walk 2.0 is a continuation of my former blog, The Walk, and you can still access my older material at: http://mywalk-cnn.blogspot.com.  But for now, let’s get 2017 started….

“Walking on Water”
PART I
Several years ago, during small group, I confidently exclaimed that I wanted to “walk on water.”  Not literally, but still quite similar to what Jesus (and even Simon for a moment) had done.  In other words, when speaking this out loud, I was voicing this desire to do what appeared to be the impossible.  I was asking God to trust me- to allow me to be used- because I just knew I would be great.  I was that confident in myself!  As I reminisce, I can’t help but to shake my head and laugh out loud.  In retrospect, I realize I had been so arrogant because that statement sort of implied that I would be doing HIM the favor!  I had been completely clueless to what I was asking of God…

And of course, and as always, He heard me.  He listened and things began to stir.  Not just little things, mind you.  That wouldn’t be God.  No, quite a few things of great magnitude happened and brought the reality, the heaviness of my request, to the surface.  I wanted God to trust me to walk on water and He allowed me to be tested to see if I was ready.  He allowed me to be tested to see if I trusted Him.  And so five years later- wait, let me expand on that: some job transitions, city relocations, preparation for clinical licensure, the passing of my beloved dog and the passing of four family members (three within one year) LATER- I was finally humbled.  I was finally able to comprehend that confidence in myself was shallow, false and fleeting because once things became difficult, my confidence couldn’t and wouldn’t withstand the fiery darts of attack.  You see, all along, even when I had made that declaration to walk on water, my faith in God had been shaky.  He knew that and permitted those challenging moments to occur in order to reveal the cracks and holes in my faith.  Okay, let's pause because I know I've said a mouthful.

First, let me slow down, back up, and reintroduce myself.  I know it’s been years since I’ve written in my spiritual blog.  As you’ve read a few sentences ago, I had a lot happen to me… I had a lot of life happen to me.  And while I’ve changed- my mentality, my relationship with God through Christ Jesus, and even my zip code have all changed- God has remained the same. 

 I just want to stop and praise God for that- remaining the same!

You see, all this time I had been waiting on God to trust me so I could receive the opportunity to walk on water and He was waiting on ME to trust HIM!  He had been waiting on me to use the opportunity- and over the last five years He’s given me plenty- to take that leap of faith.

So, what stopped me from accomplishing the impossible all those years?  From my reflection, I’ve landed on a few factors:

Factor #1: Lack of understanding of who God was
Factor #2: Fear
Factor #3: My shaky faith

Now let me break these points down.  (1) Although at the time I had been active in church and actively pursuing my connection to Christ, I was still uneducated on whom God was to me.  I didn’t know how God was supposed to fit in my life and was still trying to iron out the kinks.  Subsequently, that led to the overall quality of my relationship with God at that time.  While my relationship was budding at first, it stopped.  Again, due to my ignorance (lack of understanding), I foolishly thought I could half-do my relationship with God.  Unlike any other relationship, I figured I didn’t need to check in as often or slow down to listen to Him during our interactions together.  And so like any other relationship when left unattended, it weakened.  Mix that gradual drifting with life’s dramas and you have an image of the woman I had become-a woman filled with confusion, and worst, apathy.  And because I had been so “independent” as an earthly woman, that resolve led me to only look to my own wisdom to solve my troubles.  Now, I do think I’m quite skilled at solving problems, but it seemed that my “gifted hand” was defective in my life department.  In fact, the more fixated I became on figuring out my mess, the more my mess grew.  My way of dealing with things were no longer effective and I became disheartened, which went against every fiber of my naturally perky and “Can Do!” attitude. 

I knew I needed God, but I didn’t know how or where to begin in order to rekindle our relationship.  Plus, every time I felt ready to open that door to God again, something would settle in my stomach: a blockage.  Heavy and unpleasant, that discomfort became unbearable. After much reflection, I identified what it was:

(2) Fear...

Fear causes one to fight or flight, move into action or become paralyzed. Well, when it came to fear, I often chose the latter.  Ironically, it wasn’t the fear of failure that paralyzed me.  It was the fear of success- this strong belief that I could actually do the impossible and walk on water if I so desired because of God’s power. 

Despite my lacking, I still had enough comprehension and understanding that God was mighty and powerful enough to use someone like me. And the fact that God’s love for us, even someone like me, was so abundant that He could and would grant my every dream was frightening  (I had some pretty big dreams, y’all).  I mean, I read about Moses; I recalled what God promised Abraham and Sarah. I still remembered the great I AM and his boundless, infinite powers from Scripture.  I knew what He did for those individuals, and I could only imagine what He would do for me as long as I obeyed His will.  And while my fear paralyzed me into disobedience, a mountain also stood in my way... 

 (3) Once again my shaky faith reared its ugly head.  You see, obedience wasn’t the only thing God had been asking of me.  While God could use me to work miracles all day long if He wanted to, He gave us free will.   So without my faith, the very possible had become impossible. 

So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.                                   
~Matthew 17:20
Let’s not forget this one:

But without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
                                                                                                       ~Hebrews 11:6


The book of Hebrews narrates how faith ignited miracles within the lives of many.  So without strong faith in God, my fear grew and because of that fear, whatever little understanding and connection to God I had left eventually faded. 

After years of unsuccessfully attempting to handle everything on my own, I was forced to admit my way wasn’t working. I was tired of living in fear; it was unhealthy and hadn’t gotten me anywhere.  Once again, I acknowledged that I couldn’t do it on my own.  I needed God…. I missed my Father.  So like the prodigal son, I finally came full circle in my spirituality.  I humbled myself and decided to return home.  And as soon as I made the decision to return home, an epiphany appeared...so profound, yet so simple.  In order to address Factors 1, 2, & 3, I needed that relationship with God.  There was no other choice- my very life depended on it.

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