I used to live in Chicago. I worked downtown and walked by the corner of State and Washington almost everyday. As I was walking by, almost every evening a preacher was standing at the corner with a microphone and speaker addressing everyone walking by.
I never stopped to really listen, but in the hundreds of times I walked by I know I heard him talk about the fires of hell and our need to repent. Unfortunately the few times I even took notice of him, I thought to myself, “Oh my… he’s crazy!”
As I read a passage about John the Baptist this week, I thought about John’s passion and how many at that time thought he was crazy, and my friend back in Chicago came to mind. I am starting to think it would be better to be standing next to him and labeled “crazy” than to be swept away by the desires of this world.
Lord, thank you for creating other souls that are overflowing with passion for You. Please open my eyes to their example of love and zeal for You alone and rise up in me a great passion for You and Your Will and please remove my internal and self imposed obstacles so that I too might someday provide a safe harbor for at least four of Your little souls from the rushing river of this world.
I have been a recluse over the last few months. I haven’t had much interest in seeking out or calling my friends to talk, watching the news, or even sending out Christmas cards to my friends and family.
Today while I was running I was thinking about this and wondering why? The thought crossed my mind that maybe Jesus has been sheltering me. Maybe He has been protecting me from the competition and constant comparison of the world by taking away my motivation to talk with my close friends and others who could spark envy, competition, or comparison within my heart. Maybe He has been giving me time to grow stronger and really imprint upon my heart the necessity to stay outside of the race going on in our world while still fully living in our world.
Maybe this is just my overactive imagination, but I still like this explanation, because today I finally called one of my best friends. I was so happy to talk with her and hear about her life and what she has been doing over the last few months. While we were talking though I felt myself being pulled back into the race, not because I compete with her, but because she has so many wonderful plans and ideas. She is an amazing mom and wife. She will soon be back in the workforce and I am sure she will someday start the amazing business of her dreams. In our 30 min conversation we covered all of this and following months of talking to only the same small group of people, I started to question my plans or lack of plans, my ideas or lack of ideas and began to worry about where I am headed. Luckily, although I felt myself being pulled into the race, I was aware of it which I hope is a start for keeping myself out of it.
As I was running home, I pictured all of us as bottles bobbing in the sea. As bottles in the sea we don’t realize that it is impossible for us to sink as we are tossed about in the waves, dunked under water, and crashed into each other. We are all fighting to stay afloat even though it really isn’t possible for us to go down. Then by the grace of God, sometimes we float into a secluded harbor where we can see the beach and we know that true peace exists. The waves slowly wash us in and then drag us back out in a repetitive motion.
Jesus thank you for the safe and secluded harbor You have given me over the last few months. Please help me to remember that no matter how many times the waves pull me back, I am a bottle filled with Your spirit and I can’t sink. Knowing this gives me faith to brave the open sea again and brave the waves with a new perspective.
Maybe on my next trip in You will bless me with a job to help You bring a few more bottles into Your peaceful shores!