Life is not a day at the beach it is a swim in the ocean. This is the thought that I have been considering this morning. Here are my conclusions:
1. Sitting on the shore is not really living; it is coming right up to the edge of living and then refusing to enter the fray. It is admiring the power and and pleasure of life but being too afraid to dive in. It is safer, but it misses the point.
2. Others may appear to be better swimmers (life-livers) than you are, but we aren't in it for a an hour, or a day, or even a week. We are in it for the long haul. In time, everyone struggles. It doesn't matter how confident or "well equipped" we are. You can only tread water for so long before you need someone to throw you a life line.
3. Jesus Christ, the Word who became flesh, is the ultimate life preserver. (Psalm 119)
4. The point of a life preserver is to keep you afloat in deep water. To keep you just as alive in the depths as you are on the beach.
5. What point is there in obtaining a life preserver and wearing it while sitting in the sand with only your toes in the water? Why accept the saving grace of Jesus Christ and then live within your own strength, settling for only what is safe and easy?
Luke 17:33 Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.
Bikes were made to ride! I knew this from a young age, but I also knew, that riding them could involve crashing and injury, and that knowledge kept me learning to ride a bike until I was almost 10 years old. I am a late-blooming bike rider, and this is my story.
My brother rode his bike like a speed demon from a very early age. My father, knowing my intense fear (and my stubborn nature), refused to buy me my own bicycle until I bit the bullet and learned to ride one of the bicycles the family already owned. He also refused my insistence on training wheels altogether. (Remind me to tell you someday about how he made me learn to drive in a stick-shift car on a hilly road, during the time of day when the sun was right in your eyes...he wasn't big on coddling, shall we say.) Well, in my mind, the bikes in our shed wouldn't do at all. They were too far off the ground! I could fall, I could get seriously injured! So, I dug my heels in and just refused to learn.
That was all fine and dandy until ALL of my friends had mastered the art of riding a bike and we all started to get old enough to be given a bit more freedom. Suddenly, my friends were out riding their bikes around the neighborhood and to each others' houses to visit and I was being left behind. One day a friend who was unaware of my non-bike-riding status, knocked on my front door and invited me to ride to the park. I panicked. Without thinking, I said, "Sure! Just let me get my bike." I purposefully went to the shed and pulled out a bike and then proceeded to WALK IT ALL THE WAY TO THE PARK while my friend rode beside me very slowly, totally perplexed. I kept insisting, "I just feel like walking today."
The truth was that I didn't at all feel like walking. I wanted nothing more than to hop on that bike and ride alongside my friend with my hair blowing in the breeze, but I was afraid I'd crash,fall, and bleed. The truth was, I probably would fall. Most people do when they learn to ride a bike, right? My fear wasn't irrational, it had just become too large in my mind.
Can I fess up right now? This still happens to me to this day. Oh, I learned to ride a bike alright (with minimal bloodshed, thank-you-very-much), but fears can still become inappropriately large in my mind if I let them. There are legitimately concerning things in this world, don't get me wrong! We are all bound to take a tumble or two (or 10) financially, with our health, in our relationships, at work, at church, in service to others, at school, the unknown is vast and the likelihood of coming through life unscathed is nonexistent. So what is a girl to do? Fake it? Pretend to take risks while always keeping one foot safely on the ground? Not an option - we aren't fooling anyone! Everyone can see when you are walking the bike and everyone knows it isn't because you "feel like walking." You are afraid. Admit it. Confess it. Ask God to help you through it.
As someone who is currently and has in the past navigated some pretty treacherous terrain in life, let me tell you - the ride is worth it.
Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you."
Carla Ritz. Proof positive that God uses cracked pots!