Now, before we'd been paddling too long I began to notice that strong gusts of wind were making it exceedingly difficult to continue to kayak against the current. And so, whenever the wind began to blow too hard I would just stop paddling and wait for the moment to pass. When things were peaceful again, then I would begin my journey again. However, I got really far behind the group because of this. I know, guys, you're thinking- "why in the world is she rambling about boring details of a kayaking trip?"
Well.... God spoke through kayaking.
In the midst of the beauty of the water and the endlessly blue sky and all of the sunlight filtering off of trees, I was definitely in an attitude of prayer. But as I was praying for my youth group, God began teaching me. Here's what I learned-
When I was paddling against the current, it took effort but wasn't difficult. Much like my spiritual walk, being in the world but not of the world takes effort... but the differences are things that I've been raised to see. I've grown to understand God's ways versus the world's ways so while doing that takes effort, it is not impossible or really even difficult.
However, whenever the wind began to blow my little kayak back, I would just stop. And God said here- Chelsea. This is what you do when you think things are hard. You just stop.
When I stopped paddling, my kayak actually moved backward and my group kept moving forward. So I was left behind in this state of waiting out the wind.
Now, I cannot honestly say that I've dealt with a lot of trials in my life. I've been immeasurably blessed. But I struggle with anxiety. I let myself get overwhelmed. And I know that allowing myself to feel that much stress and worry is sinful because I'm not trusting God. And you may think, oh well everyone gets stressed. But I let it control me. I get so overwhelmed with a list that I can't even begin to get things done because I can only see the big picture. I get more physically tired. And perhaps the worst part, I get sick to my stomach. There are lots of causes for this anxiety- unhealthy friendships, demanding responsibilities, finances, etc. But none of those things are beyond the control of my God. How dare I think that little of Him?
So here I am, amazed at what God is revealing to me. And I begin to see more. Whenever I stop paddling and have to start again, it's A LOT harder than if I just kept paddling to begin with. Beginning from a stop takes more effort and energy.
When I begin to feel anxious, the first thing to go is my time with the Lord- now I'm not saying that I don't pray or read scripture- I just don't have a specific time with God during the day. And when I stop doing that, it's a lot harder to begin it again than it would have been if I had just kept going.
Whenever I was consistently paddling my little kayak, it because easier, more fluid. I gained momentum. I became almost graceful in my coordination- almost :). Whenever I'm fully seeking Christ it's the same way. I don't have to remind myself to stop and pray when I see a need. I don't have to wonder where to start reading in my Bible, I just follow the fluid motion of my study.
For the past couple of months I have felt... ineffective in my job. I've felt like what I say doesn't have an effect, unless to get me in trouble with a parent. And I haven't felt like I'm setting an appropriate example for my students. I've been frustrated and growing bitter with that and with friendships and with the feeling that I'm not moving forward anywhere.
But what have I done? I've just stopped. I've just been holding my paddle waiting for it to pass so I could continue. And I've had worshipful moments where I truly knew I needed to snap out of this to really follow God. And up to know I thought recognizing that fact was enough. It's not. It's time to pick up my paddle and row against the current and against the wind, toward my God.
Will you pray for me?