It was a perfect occurance that January 1st fell on a Sunday, and to have spent the day in church was the only way to begin a new year. During the service, the pastor shared this picture. It’s painted from Peter’s perspective.
As a giant lump formed in my throat, I realized this is where I’ve been so often. Have you?
As a point of reference, Matthew 14 tells the story of Peter actually walking on water. Well, until he didn’t.
And that’s where he and I are similar. I like and identify with Peter, as I’m sure many of us do. He was passionate and spontaneous, yet often acted out in ways that earned rebukes from Jesus.
My most recent sinking moment came while Leah and I reviewed our 2017 calendar. We recently went old school and bought a wall calendar instead of jamming data into smartphone apps that promise to organize everything from your life to your thoughts.
The next 12 months’ visual sent me into a panic. Between work travel and the family obligations, I was already digging for the white flag.
I was so excited about ramping up the year and our scheduling of activities, that once faced with the realities, I plunged beneath the raging waters. I was Peter yet again.
Why do we do this to ourselves over and over again? So many of us live life as though the water is just below our bottom lip. We can taste the salty, brackish water’s brine through its ebb and flow.
30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” – Matthew 14:30
I called out in my moment of panic. The thought of another year rammed through the paces was almost too much to bear. How would we keep our head above water?
I knew the answer to why it happened. We both like to please other people. This means agreeing to do things we know there is no time for.
Often, we accept invitations without stopping to check the schedule, but most importantly, we don’t keep our eye on Christ for discernment.
Like Peter, my passion and sense of adventure often leads me to blurt out, “Yes!”
Here are 5 things to help keep your head above water this year.
- Ask God. Pray with the expectancy of an answer from Him. Is what you’re planning or being asked to do something God has in His plans for you? If it’s not, you know the outcome already.
- Build in a cooling off (consideration) period by saying, “I’ll get back to you.” What is important is that you actually do get back to the person whether your answer is a yes or a no.
- Stop feeling guilty for saying, “No.” There’s a saying I relied on as chief of police – The surest way to fail is by trying to please everyone.
- Look at the Big Picture. Go old school like we did and write it all down. There will always and only be 1 you and 24 hours in your day. Use them for yourself and give them away to others wisely.
- Ask for help. I guess if #1 in the list about asking God requires an explanation, this one does too. I always tell Leah, “Don’t be a hero.” It’s my cue for her to let me help. It also helps me to learn the value of being helped.
Life gets complicated. Sometimes people give up. It’s not hard to get swept away in the flood of reality. Peter slipped quickly into the abyss because for only a moment he took his eye off of Christ.
Make this year the year to stop bobbing just above the surface, and start walking across it.
God bless you,