Sunday, March 13, 2011

In The Flow

There's a current in the river. Sometimes you can't see it on the surface, but it's there, pulling and tugging beneath. Sometimes you stand next to the river, wishing for the cool refreshment of the water, wanting to experience the flow, to quench your skin's thirst for exhilaration. Sometimes you dip a toe in to test first, then decide that this might not be the right time, since you're in public, you don't have a swimsuit, and you have to be somewhere "more important" in about twenty minutes.

And sometimes you throw caution to the wind, and you jump in, fully clothed, and feel the most incredible adrenaline rush, and you remember what it's like to be alive. You shiver first with anticipation, scream in delight, shiver again at the temperature change, smile at the tugging and pulling that you can finally feel beneath the surface, and the only thing you want more than to be right where you are is to bring others along with you so they can join in the fun.

That's exactly what it should feel like to be a Christian.

The problem is, most of the time we're so preoccupied with what we call "life", we don't take the time to invest in what really matters. It shouldn't be how many minutes a day we read the bible, how many people we "witness" to, how many prayers we send up, or whether or not we go to church in a given week. It should be the excitement we feel at becoming part of the flow, then living in that flow every day. (Seriously, have you READ "The Me I Want To Be"? Because you need to. Buy it. Nowwwwww.)

I'm finding in this journey that, more often than not, I feel good about myself. That's a big step for me, because I've spent so much of my life feeling bad about myself, and not just because of things on the surface that I don't like, but because of the things BENEATH the surface. Nagging little thoughts, frustrating little temptations, a nasty little voice reminding me of who I used to be and the things I used to do and the people I once hurt. But lately it's been alleviated to the point where I can think to myself, "You know what? I'm somebody completely different than who I used to be, and I don't have to focus on that anymore because I'm focusing on something that's going to continue making me different from here on out". I fail - yes, miserably sometimes. I still hurt people, including myself and those I love the most, from time to time. I make mistakes, I have fear and anxiety, I'm nowhere near perfect.

Remember being a child, attempting something new for the first time and failing miserably? It wasn't until I was eight years old that I started to learn how to ride a bike. Fear of failure held me back. Then, when I did attempt, MISERABLE failure made me feel like I was stupid. I rode a bike up a tree. UP a tree. And we all know that what goes up, must come down. Picture it in a circle... curve up the tree, flip over backwards, fall on back on ground with bicycle on top. My mom, knowing I was all right, just a little bruised pride, hid her smile at my clumsiness and helped me to my feet, wiped my tears, and assisted me while I tried again.

Isn't that what God does?

Every day, I make mistakes, but I'm trying. I'm trying to live in the flow of that exhilarating Spirit. Sometimes I dip my toe in, and, on rare occasions, I throw caution to the wind and hurl myself, full-throttle, limbs akimbo, at the surface of the water, longing with every fiber of my being to FEEL something. Sometimes I miss the water completely and lay, pride bruised, on the bank of the river, tears streaming down my face.

But there's God, hiding his smile and wiping the tears, helping me to my feet so I can try again.

It's the biggest rush in the world.

Stephanie Jean

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