By JENNY SEYLAR
I spent my summers through high school at a camp that is strategically located on the shores of a picturesque lake. In my tenure there, I learned boating skills for canoeing, row boating, and sailing. It was there that my love of sailing was born, and it continues to be a great love of mine! Nothing else compares to the exhilarating feeling of the boat slicing through the water, with the sail pulled taut from the power of the wind. I experience a freeing of my spirit.
Many times in those early years as the distance from shore grew, it seemed that the intensity of the wind picked up with that distance. People on the shoreline seemingly shrunk to the size of insects. Powerful gusts of wind would make the sails so full it was difficult to hold the boat on a steady course. The wind and waves could get so choppy that the fear of capsizing was real. Then there were times when the wind gusts propelled the boat forward, followed by extreme calm and no wind at all. The term “sitting duck” applies here, because without the wind, the boat ceases its forward movement and merely bobs amid the waves. These changes on the water are difficult, and assistance from a motor boat might be the only way to return to shore.
All too often my life mirrors the changes in the wind, causing me to feel as if I have little control. My work setting, family dynamics, and day-to-day struggles are a constant reminder that I need to be prepared for the things that divert me from the direction I’ve set out in. And very often I make my own plans and then God’s plans fill in around mine on the calendar. As a person who likes to have control of my life, it seems that God uses these spaces in the calendar to remind me that I have promised to trust God in all things, and not just in some things. Far too many tasks vie for my time and energy, often leaving very little for me. It seems that the only anchor I have some days is my relationship with the Lord. It’s the one thing in my life that is unchanging, because “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever!” (Hebrews 13:8, CEB).
Hebrews 6:17-19 (CEB) also says this about God’s power and presence: “When God wanted to further demonstrate to the heirs of the promise that God’s purpose doesn’t change, he guaranteed it with a solemn pledge. So these are two things that don’t change, because it’s impossible for God to lie. He did this so that we, who have taken refuge in him, can be encouraged to grasp the hope that is lying in front of us. This hope is a safe and secure anchor for our whole being.”
With God as my refuge, my “secure anchor,” I can go to God in prayer when the many changes seem to be swirling about me from every direction. I am able to seek out the quiet space within me where God meets me and speaks to my heart. As I walk with God in the place where only I go, I experience a peace that guides me through whatever challenges and changes come my way. Please know that the waters remain choppy, the schedule rarely eases up, and changes still hijack me . Even so, I can find peace for my heart by anchoring my life in Christ, for it is in the midst of the waves of life that I keep my eyes on Christ and cling to the hope He provides.
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT “Every good gift, every perfect gift, comes from above. These gifts come down from the Father, the creator of the heavenly lights, in whose character there is no change at all” (James 1:17 CEB). Not all change is bad. Change can help us grow. Often, when we look further into the changes that are occurring, we discover that there are good things coming from it. What might they be? Pause and take note of the things that have changed for you in the past 6-12 months. I invite you to write them down so you have a visual of those items. As you look over your list, take time to write 1-2 things that have resulted for you from the changes. Celebrate what has come from these changes, even those that have been difficult. And the ones that have been really hard, might they seem a bit more manageable if you offer them to God?
As you try this, if you are like me, you will offer them to God, and then in the next moment or day, you may take them back. I’ve learned that offering my challenges to God is not a one-and-done exercise. It is a daily offering to God that takes practice and persistence. But I have also found what when we offer them to God, there is a peace and blessing that comes in the offering. God desires for us to have our best lives, and to do so, God provides opportunities for growth and healing. So let God be the anchor during your storms. God will center your heart.
PRAYER God of Creation, You created the heavens and the earth, and all that is within it. You also created or allowed the changes that come my way. Guide me, Lord, to pause whenever possible so that I may seek You out in order to better embrace those changes in my life. I realize You do not promise to make my life easier if I believe in you, but You do promise to be the same steadfast presence in the deep places in my heart. Thank you, Lord. Guide me each and every day of my life. Amen.