What’s next to do?

I’m wrestling with the thoughts I had from “Take courage…”

There were other examples I could have used instead of the one I used about playing guitar.  So now, I wonder “What’s next to do?”

This question comes from today’s Oswald Chambers

…Put everything in your life afloat upon God, going out to sea on the great swelling tide of His purpose, and your eyes will be opened. If you believe in Jesus, you are not to spend all your time in the calm waters just inside the harbor, full of joy, but always tied to the dock. You have to get out past the harbor into the great depths of God…

When you know that you should do something and you do it, immediately you know more. Examine where you have become sluggish, where you began losing interest spiritually, and you will find that it goes back to a point where you did not do something you knew you should do… My Utmost for His Highest, June 08.

Sometimes I look back at a decision I made to leave one church.  I’ve wondered on several occasions if that was the right thing to do.  At the time, I thought it was.  I believe God even led me to specific passages of Scripture that helped me in that decision.  I wonder still… so much turbulent water has gone under the bridge since then that makes me ask the question today: “What’s next to do?”

No matter what I do today – I still go back in my mind and past to determine at what point I de-railed so that I may get back on the tracks and ride out His purpose.

Take courage…

I was reading Mark 6 and 7 this morning.  In Mark 6:45-56, he writes about Jesus walking on the water.  The disciples were told by Jesus to go ahead of him across the lake.  Once they had gotten about halfway across the winds picked up and hindered their progress…

When I was a Youth Pastor, I had a tremendous desire for the youth to learn to worship God with their lives.  For them to live everyday throughout each day with an attitude of prayer.  I also wanted them to experience worship together when we met.  I only knew a few chords on my guitar.  So I began working on it. 

I would learn whatever song I could.  Then I would have a few of the youth sing while I played.  After doing this for a couple of years I had built up some confidence in playing my guitar.  Well, after I moved to Albuquerque my good friend Jason and partner in ministry asked me to play in a service. 

I was a little nervous but I knew I could do it.  I’ll never forget that Sunday morning standing in the cafeteria at Rio Rancho High School.  We started off with “Come, Now is the Time to Worship.”  What happened next was horrible… I drew a blank on the next song I was to play… the song started off with me.  I was afraid.  I never did recall the song – in both services!  It was tough.  That was my last time to play in a worship service.

I allowed the wind from the storm to paralyze me.  I haven’t played my guitar much since that time. 

I can’t tell you how many times God has given me something to do – just for me to end up paralyzed with fear.  I don’t know why this is my response to things at times.  I’m bold as a lion in my own closet… put me in the arena of life and I’m pretty timid.

Jesus says in Mark 6:50, “Take courage! It is I.  Don’t be afraid.” 

Storm

I remember hearing “Storm” by Lifehouse in the Fall of 2007 when I got the CD. I identified with the song so much.  I got to thinking about “Storm” over the weekend while at my daughter’s ballet performance.  I have often hoped to see her choreograph a dance to this song and see her perform it.  I think many people can relate to the song.

I’m glad the song came to mind.  It captures a lot of how I feel at this time in my life.  I know that to struggle with various situations in life is good for our growing.  I know I have had my share of struggles… as I am sure you have too.  A couple of weeks ago Brad on a Wednesday night with tears in his eyes (not an uncommon occurrence) talked about those with deep wells.  Those wells having been bored out of tremendous hurt, pain, and suffering.  It’s through having these deep wells the greater capacity for others to draw God’s water from.

I have always desired nothing less than being used by God for the benefit of others.  I’m ready for the digging to stop for a bit and let me be used for the benefit of others.  If I could have written one verse in this song it would have been this one:

…I know you didn’t
bring me out here to drown
so why am I 10 feet under and upside down
barely surviving has become my purpose
cause I’m so used to living underneath the surface…

 

how long have I
been in this storm
so overwhelmed by the ocean’s shapeless form
water’s getting harder to tread
with these waves crashing over my head

if I could just see you
everything will be alright
if I’d see you
the darkness will turn to light

and I will walk on water
and you will catch me if I fall
and I will get lost into your eyes
and everything will be alright
and everything is alright

I know you didn’t
bring me out here to drown
so why am I 10 feet under and upside down
barely surviving has become my purpose
cause I’m so used to living underneath the surface

if I could just see you
everything will be alright
if I’d see you
this darkness would turn to light

and I will walk on water
and you will catch me if I fall
and I will get lost into your eyes
I know everything will be alright

and I will walk on water
you will catch me if I fall
and I will get lost into your eyes
I know everything will be alright
I know everything is alright
everything’s alright

Nightswimming

Nightswimming deserves a quiet night.
I’m not sure all these people understand.
It’s not like years ago,
The fear of getting caught,
Of recklessness and water.
They cannot see me naked.
These things, they go away,
Replaced by everyday.

I have always liked the song “Nightswimming” by R.E.M.  I have not ever known what it meant.  So if you know please enlighten me.  So why include this verse to a song if I don’t know what it means?  I don’t know.  But it came to mind none-the-less as I read Randy’s comment to To swim or not to swim when he quoted Brad’s Blog, “we ‘are just called along with The Servant to rely upon God despite the dark or pain or whatever.'”  Have you ever noticed that life is nothing but one big blog?

To talk about my situation would be to become vulnerable to someone else.  Although there is a tight inner-circle of people in my life who may hear about it.  Maybe 2 or 3 at the very most.  As the song says, “They cannot see me naked.” 

Nightswimming deserves a quiet night.  As Brad states, “Notice the direction given to those who walk in the dark; they are told to trust in the Lord in the dark, but they are not then promised light.”  It feels as though I am at sea swimming in the dark.  The deeper I go in the ocean of His love the darker the night becomes.  I’m taking on water drowning and giving Him the life that I have been living… trusting Him with it all.  Becoming vulnerable to The Servant.

Tonight I plunge deeper into God’s presence asking Him for mercy.  Asking Him for grace.  Asking Him to light my way.  I know that just because I pray and ask for His help the light switch may not be turned on… but I also know He is with me and there is no fear of getting caught I can and I will be vulnerable to God and look to my Redeemer – for He lives.

 

To swim or not to swim.

I told a friend the other day that I feel like I can quote Disney as good if not better than the Bible.  A situation has come into being this week that is hard for me to deal with.  Finding Nemo came to mind as I was thinking about my situation.  Not only that but it goes with this whole “Ocean” theme too.  God’s working overtime to make the point.  I just hope I get it – SOON!

Do you remember Dori the Blue Fin in Finding Nemo?  Well, there’s this scene when she is talking with Marlin the Clown Fish and she states, “You know what ‘cha got to do when life gets you down?”  She begins to sing her answer, “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”

In someways my wife (Lori) reminds me of Dori.  (Hey they rhyme… this is getting scary). I’m sure she will appreciate the comparison.  When I take a hit from life I tend to respond a whole lot like Marlin.  And Lori she responds a lot like Dori… “just keep swimming.”  She always comes back with encouragement and optimism.  Tends to make me sick.  But I must confess she is right.  (I hope she doesn’t read this…) It just takes me awhile to warm up to it.

So… should I swim or drown? I my gosh… I’m so conflicted.

I need to surrender.  Lay down the situation that holds me down and ask God to take control.  I need to quit fighting the current and let God have it all.  I’m tired of swimming against it.

The Law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.  The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.  The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.  The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes.  The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever.  The ordinances of the Lord are sure and altogether righteous.  They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. (Psalm 19:7-11, NIV).

Teach me to swim.

I’ve been talking about God’s love, knowing God, walking a road few dare to travel, being intimate with God, and going deeper.  This past week has been around the metaphor of the ocean.  God’s deep and wide limitless love.  I want to learn to swim in this ocean of love.

It’s Mother’s Day weekend.  As I think about God and wanting to learn to swim, I’m reminded of my grandmother, Mommy Bo.  I can recall some bright sunny days in the shallow end of her pool when I was very small.  I recall her wearing her swimming cap with me in her arms teaching me how to swim.  I guess she taught most of her grandchildren how to swim in her own backyard.

I remember learning how to kick and move my arms but the one thing I didn’t like to do was to keep my head down.  I couldn’t stand to put my face in the water.  Maybe it was the water in my eyes or up my nose that I didn’t like.  I think more than that I worried about how I was going to breathe.  I trusted her as I was in her arms but I didn’t trust swimming with my face in the water.  She had faith I could do it when I didn’t have the faith.  She loved me with a love I never understood at the time.  But as I grew and became an adult I came to a place where I understood her love.  She was a great cheerleader for me… and all of her family!

Today, close to 40 years later I am asking God to teach me to swim…  To teach me to swim in the ocean of His love…  Trusting Him with the me He created.  Much like the trust I had in my grandmother’s arms.  At a certain point I had to swim on my own… to let go and swim in her pool.  I guess I’m sort of the same with God.  For so long He has been holding on to me teaching me to swim – now it’s time to believe I can swim in His ocean of love.  It’s His pool… He’s still there watching with great joy.  I guess it’s time for me to believe I can do it.

Thanks Brad for the encouragement.  I’m trying to understand.

When it gets right down to it – it’s not about learning how to swim but rather learning how to drown in the ocean of His love.  Thanks for the insight Glenn.   Total surrender would be to drown in the ocean of his love.

I don’t know how to swim

“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? Did you take God into your mind only, or did you also embrace him with your heart? Did he get inside you?” Acts 19:2, The Message.

Distractions to the left and right.  All I want to do is go deeper… but I don’t know how to swim.

Oswald Chambers writes in The Love of God, “Has God been trying to bring into your life the fact that He is supernatural, and have you been asking Him what He is going to do?  He will never tell you.  God does not tell us what He is going to do; He reveals to us who He is.” (114).

I’m guilty of asking God the question, “What are You going to do with me life?”  All along God has not been concerned with what I am going to do… God wants me to know who He is!  I get so lost sometimes in all of this.

The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing.  You can count on it.  From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it.  That’s how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son.  I mean it.  Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do. (John 14:12-13, The Message).

“Deeper” by Delirious?

I want to go deeper
But I don’t know how to swim
I want to be meeker
But have you seen this old earth?
I want to fly higher
But these arms won’t take me there
I want to be, I want to be

Maybe I could run
Maybe I could fly, to you
Do you feel the same
When all you see is
Blame in me?

And the wonder of it all is that I’m living just to fall
More in love with you

I want to go deeper
But is it just a stupid whim?
I want to be weaker
Be a help to the strong
I want to run faster
But this old leg won’t carry me
I want to be, I want to be

Maybe I could run
Maybe I could fly, to you
Do you feel the same
When all you see is
Blame in me?

And the wonder of it all is that I’m living just to fall
More in love with you

Maybe I could run
Maybe I could follow
It’s time to walk the path
Where many seem to fall
Hold me in your arms
Just like any father would
How long do we have to wait?
How long, we’re going all the way

And the wonder of it all is that I’m living just to fall
More in love with you
[ Deeper Lyrics on http://www.lyricsmania.com/ ]