Straining at my Oars...

I've been preparing a devotional for a local home school support group. This message, which I have given many times before, always seems to hit home, no matter the age group. And it's not because I'm such a dynamic speaker (I go with fear and trembling).  It's because of the Lord's simple truth that we often miss, at least I did for many years...and apparently many others have also. The devotional is based on a story we find in the gospels when Jesus walks out on the stormy sea to His terrified and struggling disciples.  (If you would like to read more, pause right here and follow these two links: Inviting Jesus into my Boat  & Urging and Opening).

The basic message is that...

...the Lord wants us to invite Him into our "boat," our stuff, our mess, our upheaval--whether emotional, spiritual, or physical.

This is so simple, but so true: no matter how old we are humanly or spiritually...

The Lord wants to be wanted by each of us!

But in this post, I want to share a realization that the Lord awakened me with this morning...from a verse in that story that I had rehearsed for myself and many others.  This verse hit me right where I live in my today:

And when it was evening, the boat was in the midst of the sea, and He was alone on the land. And seeing them straining at the oars,... He came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them.

With that verse creeping into my waking consciousness, I sensed the Holy Spirit's merciful, gentle, but insistent, nudge:

Jan, you are straining at your oars again!

Wow, You are right, O Lord!  I'm straining at

my "book oars,"

my "90 year old precious mom who is fragile and failing" oars,

my "needing to get on a plane and fly to help after just being home from a trip for not even two weeks" oars.

I'm struggling with

the oars of "blood pressure issues and allergies to the meds,"

the oars of "teaching a new group of students in my English class,"

the oars of "speaking in front of an unknown audience anxiety,"

and any other "oars" the enemy and my insecure humanness may drum up in my mind.

And so Lord, come into my boat, which holds each of these situations...don't walk past and let me strain at my own oars, O God!

I don't have the strength...You do!

I don't have the resources...You do!

I don't have the courage...You do!

I don't have the wisdom and discernment..You do!

In fact, You are all of those things and much more. 

I release to You!  I invite You in! I live from Your abiding now...for anything and everything! Amen and amen!