” . . . to refuse to bend our shoulders to carry a load is to miss a new opportunity for growth.”
J.R. Miller from Streams in the Desert
Several years ago, we visited a water park with our children. The water slides were great, but my favorite thing was the “Lazy River.” Even though I knew it was foolish to stay in one position for too long under the summer sun, the refreshing of the cool water and the warmth of the sun against my body lulled me into complacency. I bobbed along the course several times that afternoon, basking in contented bliss.
I ignored the prickles of heat on the tops of my thighs. I overlooked the slight pink tinge – warning signs that I’d had enough sun. The sunscreen would protect me, I reasoned. As you can imagine, I looked and felt like a boiled lobster later. Ouch!
No one I know wants to suffer pain. And yet crisis and pain seem to be a tried and true tool for producing growth in our lives. Without it, we bob along with the current of life in a stupor. We get comfortable and don’t want to change or grow. Even when we recognize the danger signs, we would rather overlook them than leave the place of complacency.
But then the crisis comes. We are jolted from our reverie by the turbulent emotions of confusion, pain, shock. We have to do something or die. Suddenly we feel like we’re drowning so we thrash around trying to save ourselves while sinking once, twice….
These are the times God offers us a chance to shoulder our responsibility for personal growth and change. He knows that until we hurt bad enough, we won’t choose to change – it’s human nature. But He is wise enough to know we can’t make those life changes alone even though we may want to. So He comes alongside us and offers to tow us to the shore, provided we stop thrashing around, trying to save ourselves.
Drifting and complacency are not the same as resting in Jesus. To rest is to trust. It’s difficult for many of us to stop thrashing around and allow Someone else to be in control. It requires a conscious choice on our part.
As we make the choice to trust, we are really taking on a load of responsibility to grow spiritually, mentally and emotionally. We learn true contentment as opposed to complacency. We learn intimacy with God and others rather than wearing masks to protect ourselves. And we are buoyed up by the truth about ourselves in relationship with Christ rather than drowning in the lies we were taught to believe from childhood.
Jesus loves His creation too much to let us bob through life singing, “Whatever will be, will be.” He gives us a purposeful life filled with opportunities to shoulder the load and grow on a daily basis.
The question is, are we done thrashing around on our own?
Today’s In Other Words is being hosted by Tami Boesiger over at her blog, The Next Step.
What thoughts does this quote inspire in you? Feel free to participate in today’s In Other Words by blogging about the quote on your blog site – then leave a link at Tammy’s site to share with the other participants. Take time to be inspired today by this great quote.