Adventure

Step Out in Faith

It’s not easy being a girl.

I know what you men are thinking…that this post isn’t for you. But don’t let my opening statement scare you away. This message is especially and specifically for you. But it bears sharing a bit of background, as in, it’s not easy being a girl. You’ve heard and even perpetuated the stereotypes, you’ve encountered the Bridezillas and the other crazies. To be honest, there aren’t that many areas on which I personally identify or connect with the traditional “female” experience. But there are a few—and there is one that especially stands out to me.

FAITH.

I know what you guys are thinking—women don’t have the corner on faith. And you’re right. As with any generalization, there are exceptions. But those exceptions belie the rule. Case in point: the cross. Think back, where were the disciples? Nowhere to be found. They were off hiding in the bushes somewhere. Who remained? The women. Now, I don’t know if they were 50 feet from the cross, but I can tell you how I picture the scene at Calvary. I see the Marys, all three of them, kneeling beneath the cross, worshiping Jesus in spite of what seemed a hopeless defeat. They’d been at His feet before, hanging on every word of His teaching…anointing His feet with the finest of perfumes and even their own precious tears. But this time, it was different. This time, it was He who was anointing THEM, with His own precious blood. And they believed Him and His promises. Still.

Need more proof? How about the tomb? Where were the disciples then? Running around like chickens with their heads cut off, that’s where. Why? Because they had finally met with a set of circumstances that defied their sense of reason, circumstances that they couldn’t understand or explain, or FIX. You can relate, can’t you? In a society where you’re expected to be self-sufficient, strong, successful. In a world where you’re expected to perform and provide, and to be right. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. You’re tired—exhausted. You’re weighed down with burdens that God never meant for you to carry. What He wants from you is FAITH. And I feel God telling me to tell you today, Step out in faith. Step out in faith. Don’t step out in the calculated risk that YOU can accept and manage. Don’t step out in your own resources—your wealth, your intellect, your spatial reasoning skills. Don’t step out only in what makes perfect logical sense. When you rely on these worldly “wisdoms” and competencies, you are stifling your God. You’re making Him small, weak, impotent—not in reality, but in your MIND, and your HEART.

Consider David, when he faced Goliath. Did he step out in his own strength, or experience, or prowess? No, in his own words, he stepped out “in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel” (1 Samuel 17:45). God never said to be strong and courageous in your own abilities. In Joshua 1:9, we see that God commands us to be strong and courageous, and to not be afraid or discouraged, “for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Don’t stifle the Holy Spirit inside you. Don’t put false limits on a God who is limitless. Have faith. Deepen your faith. And then STEP OUT IN FAITH!

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God, I pray that you would raise up not just one generation of faithful men, but an army. I pray that these godly men would allow themselves to trust you, and to not rely on their own strength and understanding. Instead, let them pursue you BOLDLY, recognizing that you are a BIG God, and that you have in store for them BIG, GOD-SIZED dreams and possibilities. Give them courage to rest in you, and to step out in faith for your glory and your kingdom. A thousand times, Amen. In your matchless and limitless power, let it be so today.

 

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Life Wish

John 10:10b
“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

You know those people who seem to always be living on the edge? They scale the most treacherous cliffs. They summit the highest mountains. They run the wildest rivers. They jump out of perfectly good airplanes, or off of perfectly good bridges. They donate their kidneys to people in need—sometimes perfect strangers. I came across a guy like this recently. He mentioned first descents on wild rivers and how friends always asked if he had a death wish. They asked the same question when he became a nondirected kidney donor—meaning he donated to a stranger.

His answer to the question, in both instances, was, “No, I don’t have a death wish. I have a life wish.”* He craved excitement and adventure, and challenge, but also PURPOSE and MEANING. He wanted to GIVE life as much as he wanted to experience it himself. So when he learned that he could save someone’s life by donating one of his kidneys, of course he said, “Sure, sign me up.”

How about you? Do you have a life wish? Yours may not involve donating an organ, or climbing Mt. Everest. But there are a lot of ways to experience and to give life:

  • Is there a skill you’ve always wanted to learn or an activity you’ve always wanted to try?
  • Is there a gift you can give that would brighten someone’s day?
  • Is there a relationship that needs mending, or forgiveness that needs to be given?
  • Is there a blessing in your life that you need to show gratitude for?

I’d bet you could think of some others, too. Feel free to share them via social media using #LifeWish. Best wishes on your adventure!

*I should mention that life wishes often come with risks, and perhaps even sacrifices. But isn’t that most often the case with the very best of gifts?

Garner State Park 12

Who I Am–Part III

Do you ever have memories and experiences that seem branded in your mind? And they were so awesome that they seem to become a part of who you are? Well, when those kinds of things happen to me, I like to have a memento, and that often comes in the form of a tattoo. In this case, I have the Hawaiian symbol for turtle tattooed on my lower back. Why? I’m glad you asked.

Years ago, I took a trip to Cozumel, Mexico, with a group from a local dive shop. We spent a good bit of our time on a boat and in the water. The drift diving in Cozumel is amazing, by the way—you feel like you’re flying. Some of the coolest things were the seahorses and the sea turtles. I remember one dive where I was drifting along, headed toward an opening in a cave, and a giant sea turtle came gliding out, headed in the opposite direction, and we passed one another so closely that we almost touched. I wish I had video, because it was simply magical. But that’s not why I got the turtle tattoo.

No, the turtles were a land-based adventure. One evening, our group decided to rent some dune buggies and drive around the island. We had a lot of fun along the way, but the only thing I really remember is Punta Sur, the southern tip of the island. It was just before dusk, and we got out to have a look around. Soon, a Mexican man approached us, holding a small Igloo cooler, and he offered to show us what was inside. A little freaked out that it might be something untoward, we hesitantly peeked inside. What we saw was a baby sea turtle in a small pile of sand. In broken English, the man explained that this turtle was injured, and needed to go to the “hospital.”

But then he invited us to follow him, saying, “More, more.” Curious, we followed him to the beach. There, he began digging in the sand. After a while, we began to see little baby sea turtles climbing out of the hole. He invited us to join him, and I began digging. Some of the turtles were still crawling out of their eggs. At one point, I pulled an egg out of the sand, and the turtle literally hatched in my hand. Once we had helped to “deliver” some 200 baby sea turtles, we worked together to guide them to the water. It was dark by this time, and we held flashlights to mimic the light of the moon. You see, with sea turtles, you can’t just dump them in the water and wish them well. They NEED to make the journey to the water themselves, otherwise they won’t be able to find their way back when it’s time to nest.

Why all this human intervention? Wouldn’t the turtles do all of this on their own, in good time? Well, we learned that there is a major problem with predatory birds, and that if unassisted, many of the turtles wouldn’t even make it to the water. As it was, we were told that many of these turtles wouldn’t survive their first year. But the more we could get to the water, the better their chances of survival. There was this one turtle who kept getting turned around, heading away from the water, and crawling up my foot. I felt a connection with him and SO wanted to sneak him home and raise him in my bathtub. But the prospect of $10,000 in fines and 10 years in a Mexican prison ultimately dissuaded me.

Finally, after turning quite a few turtles around and slowly leading them to the water, our task was complete. We bid adieu to our new friend and thanked him for the experience of a lifetime. We also bid adieu to our babies, wishing them good luck and Godspeed. And when I got home, I chose a tattoo that would commemorate the experience. (Nowadays, you can pay outfitters to manufacture this kind of thing, but that seems to lack authenticity.)

You know, it’s kind of like divine appointments—where God puts us in just the right place and at just the right time to be part of something AMAZING. And while I’m not sure that the social climate of today is ripe for following some stranger down a darkened beach, I think we do need to be open to God’s leading. Speak when he tells us to speak. Listen when he tells us to listen. Smile at someone who seems to need it. And who knows, we just might be in for the experience of a lifetime.