Saturday, June 14, 2008

Unexpected Lessons

Today has been a WONDERFUL day! Thank you to all of you who contributed to the purchase of this beautiful laptop in front of me. It’s SO great to have the freedom to stop and capture my thoughts before they’re gone. Writing is one of the ways I sort through things and I’ve been able to write more since I used my graduation money to purchase this laptop! Thanks again!

This morning started out with Ladies Bible Study at the church. Jen’s been doing a great job of getting us together each Saturday morning for a journey through Paul’s letters. Each week, we read 2 chapters and then use the acronymn S.O.A.P. to work our way through them. (Scripture – write down the scriptures that stand out to you; Observation – what do you observe about these verses; Application – how can you apply them to your life; Prayer – write a prayer to the Lord as you reflect on what you’ve learned).

This morning’s chapters were Galatians 3 and 4. Much of these verses emphasize grace versus the law and our sonship in Christ. Two things I struggle with. I’m one who likes rules, so the Law is an easy fit for me. I like to know exactly where boundaries are and what is expected of me. I sometimes have a hard time operating outside of any rules – even if they are of my own making. This can become a problem in my relationship with the Lord. Sometimes I forget to live in relationship, but find myself checking things off of my list to make sure they are complete. I have to fight the legalistic side of myself in order to live in the Spirit and in relationship with the Lord. Which, leads to the second part of what we talked about this morning…sonship. We are heirs with Christ:

“for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” – Galatians 3:26-29
I forget so often that I am a child of the King. I walk around as if this world is all there is and that there isn’t an inheritance waiting for me. Sometimes I get lost in the problems of today and of this world and forget that I am not at home here. I am a traveler in a strange land and one day I will enter the land of promise and enjoy unbroken communion with my Father, the King. This morning was a good reminder to walk in relationship with the Lord and remember that I am a daughter of the King. I pray that my life will begin to reflect those truths.

After Bible study, I had a much needed catch up time with my dear friend, Katie Gridley, and then headed down to South Georgia for a little time outdoors in a state park. My plan was to head down to Providence Canyon State Park and visit Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon. However, on my way, I passed right by the exit for FDR’s State Park and Little White House. I decided to make that my first stop as I’ve never been. I spent a couple of hours touring the museum and the grounds. It was clear that FDR was dearly beloved in the small Georgia town of Warm Springs. I enjoy historical sights and it was great to walk in the footsteps and see the living space of one of our country’s leaders.

After exploring The Little White House, I continued on my way to Providence Canyon State Park. I nearly didn’t make the trip because I’d already had such a productive day. I wrestled with the idea of just saving this for another day. I’m so glad I didn’t!

I arrived at Providence Canyon just before 3pm today. I packed up my camera and some water and headed to the trail that lead down to the canyon floor. There are 3 miles of trail that circle the canyons and allow access for exploring. I headed down the trail, by myself, into quiet and unexpected lessons.

I briefly checked the map and started towards the canyon floor. I was alone and there were few others on the trail so I was able to spend some quiet time among God’s creation as I enjoyed the shade of the trees and the time outside. I crossed a couple of creek beds and soon found myself at a public area at the end of the wooded trail. But, I had somehow missed the canyons! And, here was my first lesson…CAREFULLY check the map. I had been relying on trail markings and signs to point the way, but, those creek beds I carefully crossed were actually my entrance to the canyon floor! I had picked my way through the mud and over the trail I was supposed to be taking. If I had taken time to read the information on the map, I would have known to turn left once I hit the creek. So, I turned around and headed back the way I had come in order to explore the canyons a little farther.

During my walk back down to the canyon floor, the Lord spoke to my heart. My excursion today bore resemblance to many times in my walk with the Lord. There have been times when I’ve had a vague idea of where the Lord was telling me to go, or where the journey was supposed to lead, but I failed to really listen to the One who was leading me or to carefully study His Word (map). Many times I’ve gotten to what should have been my destination only to be disappointed at the result. When I saw the picnic area today, I was confused and sad that I hadn’t gotten a closer look at the canyons. Somehow, I had been so close, but I missed them all together. Just as I had to stop, read the map, and then back track at the cost of time and daylight, I have done the same in my walk with the Lord. I’ve gotten somewhere only to realize that the Lord had let me wander in my stubborness and was waiting for me to turn around and take the trail He designed for me. I pray that I will be more careful in my walk to have ears to hear and eyes to see the direction the Lord would have me go. I don’t want to waste the time He’s given me hear because I’m too stubborn and independent to listen and follow.

You may or may not know this, but I can be a very fearful person. I’ve, at times, been paralyzed by fear and overcome by panic. On more than one occasion, I’ve panicked in the middle of a trail. I don’t typically like to set off on a journey when I don’t know the terrain or what’s around the bend. For some reason, I didn’t take those known fears into account today as I started down the trail. Only a few minutes into the hike, the old fears started to raise their ugly heads and panic started to take over. But, I’m tired of being controlled by fear. Perhaps it wasn’t the wisest thing for me to come out here by myself today, but it has been one of the best things I’ve done lately. I pressed through the fear. I kept walking. I kept breathing (even though I had to work hard to control the tightness and shallow breathing that comes with panic). And, I accomplished what I set out to do today. I wish I’d had more time, but the victory is enough. I’ll be back and I won’t be afraid next time. I’ll walk with confidence and explore the beauties of this place. I pray that this is only the beginning of me taking on my fears and facing them head on. I am a daughter of the King! I have no business being afraid and missing out on all He’s given me because I don’t know what’s up ahead or how I’ll handle it. I pray that the lesson of today will stick with me and prod me on towards bolder acts…things that matter for His kingdom. Today was just a little taste of what God can do when I rest in Him and press through the fear. When I woke up this morning, this is not what I had in mind. I’m glad that God’s the one directing my steps and that He’s shaping my heart so that I better reflect who He is.

1 comment:

shirley said...

Hey..I love those pictures. I think I'm the only person in Georgia who has never been to the little Grand Caynon. Sounds like a trip (in the fall) for me.
Hey..we can compare laptops. I just got one myself! WOO HOO!!!!
I'll c ya tonight at 6:30. Looking forward to it. I love ya!