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Life Outside the Boat

Month

June 2013

Insecurity

I know, I know, definitely not an original topic for a gal to write about. But the thing is, there is a reason why we see it so often. It is because we feel it so often. Every single human being suffers at some point from some form of it. Insecurity.

We were born into this legacy of questioning our identity and ultimately questioning God’s identity. But I am so thankful that God orchestrated a way for us to be free. He sent Jesus to take back the power that the enemy stole on the day he slithered into our existence.

I am all too familiar with what it is like to be riddled with self-doubt. It wasn’t long ago that everything I did, every decision, every action, every opinion I had was based on the opinions of others. From clothes, to houses, to parenting, to cars, to responses – everything was done with the thought of, “what will so and so think?” And then followed up with, “Ugh, I can’t believe I said…did…bought…asked…went…’they’ are going to think I am so… (insert random negative opinion).  ” It’s exhausting! I found myself empty, miserable and buried in debt.

But I remember the moment years ago that God began to open my eyes to this:  I was sitting at my computer reading the story of a mother in a village on the other side of the world who would mix up dirt and water and feed her child mud to stave off the pain of hunger. I remember looking at my then diaper-clad redhead and it broke me. I looked around me and realized how selfish and petty I had been for years. That day was the beginning of a journey that I am on (and will be on everyday that I am breathing) that God is molding and teaching me to see everything – everyone the way He sees them.

Ok, but what does this have to do with insecurity?? I’m getting there…. When we begin to see things the way He sees them, we also begin to see ourselves the same way. Instead of always asking ourselves “what will this person or that person think”, the question can be, “What does God think?”  “How does He see me?”  And this question is so much easier to answer….he wrote it down for us!

Now, just to clarify…Although we can be set free from insecurity, we can and will still struggle with it. Why? Because our enemy is not at all original. He knows where we are weak and he knows where we have doubt. He sits and waits for us to just crack that door a little to give him room to weasel in. (1 Peter 5:8) This is why Romans 12:2 is so important “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed my the renewing of your mind.” When I allow too much time to go by without entering into the presence of the One who created me, that is when doubt and insecurity begin to creep back in.

In my last post, I talked about waves….yeah, this would be one of them. But In John 10:10, Jesus said that “the thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” This means that we cannot live life to the fullest without following Jesus. When I am chasing after the approval of others, I am living an empty life. This is so elementary, so “trite”. But so true and somehow, we all get stuck in it at one time or another.

Just the other day, I was at a play date I was practically paralyzed with fear of what the other moms would think of my parenting. Let me paint the picture…

I am at a friend’s pool with these two other moms that I highly respect (let’s be real…am ridiculously intimidated by)…my youngest is throwing grass and rocks and well basically 1/2 the landscape into the pool…I’m trying to fish my middle out of the water as he has strapped his floatation device to the wrong end of his body and is fighting to keep his head above water while his backside is high and dry above the surface. THEN, my oldest scrapes his foot (on, of course, one of the rocks my toddler has thrown into the pool) and is trying to be brave but is fairly distraught by the amount of blood oozing from the bottom of his foot!

So there I was, half in-half-out of the pool yelling at one son, rescuing another from certain death and applying pressure to the foot of the 3rd and I just knew that these gals thought I was the worst mama ever. I was so worried about what they were thinking (which was probably absolutely nothing) that it actually kept me from being able to parent the way that I would under normal circumstances. I was so engrossed in my own insecurity, that I couldn’t even function normally. Not only that, I obsessed about the whole thing for the rest of the day! Really?? There are people lost and abused and starving all across the globe and I am obsessing about my less-than-Dobson-style parenting…yes, yes I was.  Oh, and did I fail to mention the bikini I was wearing?  Because my annually-fluctuating weight happened to choose a skinny year, there was not one modest, age-appropriate swimsuit that fit in this mama’s closet.

Thankfully, His mercy is new every morning and I realized that I wasn’t going to be the object of scorn, or given an “F” in parenting, or even worse…”unfriended” on Facebook. But the greater lesson for me in this was that when I take my focus off pleasing the only One who deserves it, and start focusing on pleasing others…even if they are wonderful people…it keeps me from walking in His will even in the small everyday tasks. When I focus on what may please others, I will never be good enough. But by surrendering to my Creator, I can walk in a way that is pleasing to Him.

By the way….if either of you other mamas that were there (who were totally gracious in the midst of my chaos) are reading this, just disregard…I made it all up. I am actually really cool.

“Peter walks on water”

“Life outside the boat” comes from the story in Matthew 14 about Jesus walking on the water. I sometimes wonder why they don’t call this story, “Peter walks on the water”. I mean, sure it is impressive that Jesus walked on the water, but come on, this is God we are talking about, the Messiah, the Prince of Peace….a stroll across the sea was cake for him. Peter, on the other hand….this is perplexing.

So the story goes like this…Jesus, who has been trying to get alone to mourn the death of his cousin but has been busy feeding the 5,000 and healing sick people all day, finally gets his time to himself when he sends his closest friends and followers ahead of him in a boat. As the disciples are out on the lake, a strong wind arises and the waves start tossing the boat. At about 3am, the disciples look out across the waves and see a man, at first they think he is a ghost (obviously) and they were terrified! Do you know what the very first thing out of the mouth of Jesus was?

“Don’t. be. afraid.”

Let’s just sit here for a minute….these 12 guys are out to sea in a little dinghy (at least that’s what I picture…it makes the scene more dramatic), the wind is whipping, the waves are crashing and then they see the figure of a man on top of the water….and he says “Don’t be afraid.”?? Isn’t it just like Jesus to say something like this? He said this because He knew the rest of the story. He already knew what was coming next. He understands why we worry, but calls us to “take courage”. Why? Because He just wants us to trust him.

So, here’s where Peter becomes my personal “hero of faith”…..in verse 28, Peter calls out to Jesus and says “Lord, if it is really you, let me to come to you walking on the water”. And Jesus answers, “Come”. (I can only imagine that if it had been me standing in that boat my first reaction to Jesus saying “Come” would have been “crap, really? No instructions, no life jacket, not even a noodle!!??”) But then Peter did it. He went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. This was just a regular guy…no one special…just a fisherman and he STOOD ON TOP OF THE WATER!!

Now…I wish (for Peter’s sake) that I could say that he strolled right up to Jesus and they walked arm-in-arm back to the others, but verse 30 says that when Peter saw the wind and waves, he was terrified and began to sink. Notice…the creator of the universe was standing right in front of him walking on top of the lake with his hands outstretched…but all Peter could see was his circumstances, the danger, the threat. Sound familiar? But when Peter cried out to Him, even in the midst of his bad choices, his doubt, his panic…verse 31 says that “Jesus immediately reached out and caught him”.

This is what “Life outside the boat” is about. It is about taking that step out of the boat and into a life of abandonment, to follow Jesus even to dangerous or uncomfortable places. To believe that He is who He says He is. It is about walking in victory on top of the water. It is also about making mistakes…taking my eyes off of Jesus, being distracted by the “waves” (I’m sure if you hang out on the blog long enough, you will discover a few of my own personal “waves”). Most importantly, it is about grace. Amazing grace. Grace that pulls me back up onto my feet when I cry out….even after I’ve failed….immediately.

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