Summer in Colorado is a marvelous thing. The people that populate the state are some of the fittest in the nation and rate as the slimmest. Come summer, gyms empty and the outdoor activities, always rampant, explode. Hiking. Climbing. Running. Biking. Racing. Swimming. If it’s outdoors, they’re doing it and my family is in the thick of them. Or rather, my husband and my children are in the thick of it. For many years, my not fit and not slim body has prevented me from joining them. But that’s only partly true. What has kept me from participating is…fear.
And now they want to go down the Colorado River in inflatable single kayaks and navigate the rapids with joy. Do I stay or do I go?
Years past, I would have been afraid the rental company wouldn’t have the required life vest to fit me. I’d be afraid that I might not fit in the kayak. I’d even be afraid that I’d have to go to the bathroom half way down and there would be no place to stop. I was afraid that I’d be too afraid to ask them to stop! I was afraid that I’d hit a rock and go under but much more terrified that someone in my family would.
Who thinks this stuff is fun?
Do not give way to fear. (1 Pet 3:5)
God has not given us a spirit of fear but of love, power and a sound mind. (2 Tim 1:7)
Fear is a familiar companion to many of us but it tries to hide its true nature and stay in the shadows of our souls. “I’m not here. This is just wisdom”, it lies. But fear is not our ally, not our friend, and definitely not our helper. Still for most, it runs deep. It causes us to not trust. It came to us through wounds and pain and because of it, we shrink back.
But we do not belong to those who shrink back. (Hebrews 10:39) At least we are not meant to.
Fear causes us to make agreements like, “I cannot trust you will stay so I will do everything in my power to make you stay.” Or, “I cannot trust that I will not be hurt so I will keep my distance from everyone.” Or “I cannot trust that you will not be hurt so I will do my best to keep you as safe as possible in every conceivable way.”
Yet God wants us to trust. To trust Him. Often times in the scriptures, the word “trust” had been translated to “faith”. Perhaps it’s easier to understand when we substitute “trust” back into some of the scriptures. “Without trust, it is impossible to please God.” “Hold up the shield of trust”.
Because God is nothing if not trustworthy. He is good. He is faithful. He is for us. He has proven it.
“For God so loved the world that he sent his one and only son that whosoever believe in him will not perish but have eternal life!" (John 3:16) That is, life with Him! United forever! YAY!
God is trustworthy and is moved only by love. Yesterday. Today. Forever.
Look around. Look at the beauty and the splendor of creation. Look at the majesty presented in the sunrise, in the sunset, and in the stars; the sky is strewn with abundant glory. Look at the generous extravagance displayed in a field of wild flowers, in a bee, in a tree, in a baby. Look even at the Colorado River flowing with endless whimsy, wonder and strength. Look at you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, a vessel of the Holy Spirit, the very dwelling place of God because HE LOVES YOU and wants to share your life with you every single moment.
He is our Partner. He is our Ally. He is our Friend. He is our Helper. We can trust him. And because we can trust him, we no longer have to live in fear but we can step out in trust…in faith…and live with His strength.
Where is He inviting you to trust Him? With your family? With your lack of one? With an adventure, a move, a class, a friendship, a kayak trip? Where is He asking you to step out in faith and not go forward in your own strength, but His? In your own healing? In pursuing more of His life for you, in you?
Finally, be strong in the Lord and the strength of his might. Eph 6:10.
Yes, of course, there is a place for wisdom. Wisdom is essential. Don’t go jumping off a bridge. Don’t throw your precious heart out there for everyone. Guard your heart and wear your seat belts. Helmets and life vests are your friend. And, yes, the world is in disarray and chaos. Grief, loss, suffering, and all kinds of pain are real. They’re even guaranteed. Even so, yes, even so, we don’t have to live in fear. We can pray: “Jesus come and uproot our fear. Replace it with a revelation of your goodness. Overwhelm our fear with your love. Come into the gap in our souls between what we profess to believe and what we truly do. We want to know You. Deeply. Truly. In the way that lends itself to so easily trust You. Come for us again oh, Faithful Friend.”
“Don’t be afraid. Just believe.” ~ Jesus (Mark 5:36)
So yes, on a simpler, easier note, I am going to float the rapids in an inflatable kayak with my family. And I will pray for our safety and wisdom and God’s protection. And I will do it with JOY. I hope to have my eyes open and my heart aware and attentive - on the lookout for God’s gifts of beauty and love that he is always, always, always generously scattering around us to draw our hearts to His beckoning us to come close, to trust Him, and to love Him in response.
I will do this and much harder soul-searching things because our God is good and I can trust Him. Because He is beckoning and I do not want to shrink back. Because my life is a gift and I want to live it. Because He loves me, I don’t have to be afraid. . Because God is my strength and in Him I am strong as well.
I am His strong girl, His very own strong woman.
And so are you.
P.S. About the T-shirts. The verse on the “Strong Woman” and “Strong Girl” t-shirts is Eph 6:10! The “Strong Woman” T’s are available to order only until July 10th. If we don’t reach the minimum they won’t be made. As of 7/2/15, we’re close to the goal but not there yet. Tell your friends!
The “Strong Girl” t-shirts are available to order until July 14th. They have passed their goal and definitely will be made. They will be shipped 5-10 days after the 14th.
Bless you, friends. He is our trustworthy strength and in Him, we are strong as well.