“Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you REST” (Matt 11:28)
The river. I’m reminded today how much it is like life. It’s always flowing. It never moves backwards. It’s unpredictable. It has Obstacles. It creates joy and fear. It’s amazing and terrifying all at once. It’s never the same twice.
While I knew I would miss the river, I didn’t realize how much until I began my second summer at Journey Quest. I missed the feeling of the water on my skin, the way the rapids took my breath away. I longed for the community I knew rafting brought. My heart skips a beat knowing the mental challenges and responsibility it brings. I smile at the groups to come and lives that will be forever changed. My soul burst’s with joy at the fact God chooses to use me in a student’s life even in the day to day tasks. As this past summer approached, I braved myself for the cold, mentally prepared myself for the exhaustion and weariness, and read up to refresh my skills. But I’m always surprised (not sure why) how suddenly God chooses to stretch you.
The constant theme of stretching in my life for the past year has been one of identity. In a time of severe health issues with me, finding where I have falsely placed my identity, has been eye opening. Recently, I was diagnosed with Crohns disease, something I have been dealing with since I was about five or six. As the years have gone on, the symptoms have increased to the point of being bed ridden some days. Being advised to not work, to back off on school, to take life slower, it shatters many of my identities. I couldn’t prepare for how the Lord was going to grow me through this, how he continues to each day. And repeatedly I’m reminded how much we rely on Him in our day to day lives.
Last summer, I couldn’t prepare for God (go figure). I couldn’t prepare for how uncomfortable I would be to step out into a leadership role. I couldn’t recall the reliance on Him I would need to make it down the river some days. I didn’t calculate in the Joy and awe He brought in the laughter on a hard day on the water, the sweet fellowship when you were stuck on a raft together. Or the pride and insecurity I had to lay down to accept help, the need to be honest and humble, and real and not the person I was “supposed to be.” All these things and more God nudged me toward then and continues to even now. While stepping into that summer I quickly became tired, and heavy laden with the burdens of perfection, pride, selfishness, and insecurities, God gently whispered to me, and continues to do so. He wants me to trust Him. I don’t know how this summer will look, how each day looks right now. But there is something I do know; He’s still nudging me towards Him in every moment, reminding me it’s OK to simply follow His guidance.
He lets me know it’s OK to stop paddling without instruction, He’s in the back guiding. He reassures me that I’m safe with Him through the rapid of each day. He shows me that, while it may cause fear, if I look past that obstacle, I find joy. And at the end of the day, you remember the hardest rapid, the biggest wave, the laugh when you fell out of the boat.
No one remembers the comfort zone. No one remembers the flat water.
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