“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV
I was preparing my morning coffee, as my wife was getting ready to go to work, and she came out to the kitchen and asked what my day consisted of. It is my first week back from a three-week vacation, and I wanted to believe I was still on vacation and answer her question by saying a round of golf, relaxing in the pool or reading a good book. Vacation was absolutely awesome. The season leading up to my vacation was not so awesome, so I thought. Have you ever had one of those times in life when nothing you planned ever worked out the way you wanted it to. If you know me, I do not like to exaggerate. I like to keep things real. So, when I was evaluating my summer, I looked at everything I did to see if it was what I had planned or thought it would be like when I planned it. I can honestly say that I could not think of anything that worked out the way I thought it would. If I were to explain what the summer felt like, I would say it was like a beach ball floating in a pool.
Earlier this summer, a few weeks before my vacation, I was out on my deck enjoying some sunshine. The beach ball in the pool caught my attention. I literally watched this ball float around the pool, being pushed by the current of the pool pump and the breeze. There was no certainty of direction. It went where the wind blew it and where the current brought it. As I sat there watching this illustrative sermon, the thought came to me, that is exactly how I feel. I get up and the wind blows and that is where I go. That is what I will do. Yes, I had planned on something else, but for some reason in this season, I will be a beach ball ready to go where the breeze blows.
I shared this with some people close to me, and they said this is a good thing. They know me well. I am linear. I like a starting point and a well identified finish line. I like to be able to know what is around the corner and have my proverbial “ducks in a row” to deal with it. I like to plan, prepare, and execute. But those I shared this with saw it differently. They saw it as a summer of stretching. It was not like there were a lot of bad things going on. It was simply not according to my well thought out summer vision that I prepared in April. It was a little harder than anticipated, but that also helped me to build some faith muscle that I needed. I was looking forward to the beach, but God had me in the gym. He also had me on spontaneous walks with Him leading the way. He put me in places of solitude as well as places where I was revisiting ministry I had not done in a while. Things that reconnected me back the foundations that we have built ministry on. People, who I depended on in the past, were not there, and that meant I needed to step up and step in. Looking back, I will probably understand that it was one of the best summers I have had in a long time.
Too many times I do not enjoy the breeze and currents of life because I lean on my own understanding of things. My plans, my thoughts, my opinions. I pick the direction and the tasks. I plan the calendar. When I do this, I will have a decision to make. Am I going to allow God to breathe into the plans? Are these the plans God wants? If so, will I allow Him to lead? Will I be the beach ball caught in the current of His will? It is not that we aimlessly float through life without an anchor of God’s presence. I am thankful for that. But these seasons of floating are created to help us become more fluid, pliable. We become more like the clay God molds into His creation and less like a cookie cutter souvenir from a summer vacation. When I acknowledge that God is the breeze, the current, and I am the humble beach ball, I will go and I will do what God wants me to do.
So back to my wife’s question. “What are you doing today?” Before I could answer, she lovingly suggested to write this devotion. She said it has been too long and it was time to share my heart and God’s Word. She knows me well. And now you are reading it. Not what I had planned, but I am glad God used her to be the gentle breeze of direction and I hope you have benefited from it.