"Carried Along"...

I've never been a dare devil!  When I was a teenager, I do remember going on the roller coaster at Palisades Park.  But said coaster was nothing compared to what exists today.  Even on those momentous birthdays (like 40, 50, 60), I never even considered para-sailing, sky diving, zip lining, scuba diving, etc.  I guess you would say that I play it safe.  But I know I miss out!

Recently two of my friends were shocked that, at my age, I didn't know how to swim.  In my defense, I never had opportunity to learn as a child...and even more than that, some bratty kid at a community pool had held my head underwater for what seemed like an eternity.  So to this day, I have a hard time yielding myself to water, to just float and be "carried along"...even on a raft or inner tube.

Another area I have difficulty with is dance.  My secret desire is to be able to dance my heart out.  But aside from dancing with my toddler grandsons, I just can't abandon myself to dance...except maybe in private.  My daughter recently posted on facebook:

I’m so stiff. In dance at University of Dayton I remember the instructor saying that true dancing came after learning the steps and just letting it flow. I don’t think I’ve ever been able to do that in dance or life.

My niece is a dancer, and I so admire and envy her. She at a young age learned to abandon herself to the dance and "just let it flow."

But even though physically I have a very difficult time letting myself be "carried along,"  there is one area where I am learning and growing in this kind of abandonment.  And that is in my relationship with God through the Holy Spirit.

For much of my Christian walk, I've been stiff and unyielding, not on purpose, but mostly out of ignorance.  I've  thought I was supposed to live a godly life, minister to others, etc. with God's help...which He would give if I prayed correctly etc.  But now I know that as I abandon myself to "His dance," so to speak, HE will carry me along in the flow of HIS purpose and pleasure.

I've been doing some writing lately to finish a book project.  A spiritual mentor of mine said that he was praying for me that I would be "carried along" by the Holy Spirit as I write.  Here is the verse he shared:

...men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:21b ESV

The cool thing is that this word in the Greek is the same one used in Acts 27.  This passage is the account of Paul being taken as a prisoner to Rome.  As the ship carrying him and others encountered a severe storm, the sailors knew not to fight it but rather yield to the wind.  They allowed the ship to be driven along without their control:

...and when the ship was caught in it and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and let ourselves be driven along. ...fearing that they might run aground on the shallows of Syrtis, they let down the sea anchor and in this way let themselves be driven along. Acts 27:15,17 NASB.

What a great metaphor for life in the Spirit...not resisting but letting ourselves be carried along in His empowering stream.

This also makes me think of Jesus' conversation with Nicodemus:

Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit. John 3:7-8 ESV

The movement of the Spirit is a powerful thing...amazing, beyond comprehension...a mystery.  And those who yield to His flow experience "skill beyond their skill," "words beyond their words," "love beyond their love," "fullness beyond their fullness."

So what does it take?  Jumping into the "Ocean that is God," yielding to His indwelling life, and letting His Spirit carry you along for His purpose and pleasure.

Holy Spirit, living Breath of God,
Breathe new life into my willing soul.
Bring the presence of the risen Lord
To renew my heart and make me whole.
Cause Your Word to come alive in me;
Give me faith for what I cannot see;
Give me passion for Your purity.
Holy Spirit, breathe new life in me.

Holy Spirit, come abide within;
May Your joy be seen in all I do-
Love enough to cover ev'ry sin
In each thought and deed and attitude,
Kindness to the greatest and the least,
Gentleness that sows the path of peace.
Turn my striving into works of grace.
Breath of God, show Christ in all I do.

Holy Spirit, from creation's birth,
Giving life to all that God has made,
Show your power once again on earth;
Cause Your church to hunger for Your ways.
Let the fragrance of our prayers arise.
Lead us on the road of sacrifice
That in unity the face of Christ
Will be clear for all the world to see.

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