Have you ever looked closely at and considered the life of a water lily? After spending some time watching this amazing flower that grows from the depths of the water and emerges with such vibrancy, I began to connect a life lesson that is evident for anyone who takes the time to watch and listen.
Drowning and buried are terms that have described me at different times in my life. Most recently, I took a new job as Director of Ministry to Women at our church. I wasn’t looking to go back into the workforce at this stage in my life; I was content with where I was. My days were filled with writing, taking walks with God, and connecting with friends and family, things that I loved doing the most. My creativity flowed effortlessly and joy was abundant. However, after much prayer, I felt God was directing me to step into this new role and so I did. It didn’t take long for me to begin to feel like I was drowning in a sea of information and “to-do” lists. There were meetings and ministry planning. My days became full of researching studies, constructing a full ministry calendar, learning our budget, and tracking each ministry’s account. There were big decisions to be made in our women’s ministry, schedules to keep, and there were hurting women who needed counsel; so many hurting women! Drowning – yes! What changed? I no longer was taking long walks with God. My writing was put on the back burner, and the connections with friends and family? It fizzled. I let myself be buried in my desire to be the best director I could be. My perfectionism began to rule me hour by hour and day to day.
I finally got to a point where I was questioning whether I had understood God right in taking this job. I was feeling so depleted and dry by the weight of that which buried me. I felt like I was suffocating as I struggled beneath the waters of life trying to emerge from the depths for air. Over and over I would ask myself, “How did I get here? How do I get back to that joy-filled, creative flowing life I once knew?” Then one day I opened my Bible to the Psalms and I read, “My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “LORD, I am coming” (Psalm 27:8 NLT). In this verse, God spoke directly to my heart and asked me “Where are you? Why haven’t you made time to meet with me? I miss you.” I sat back in my chair, tears filled my eyes as I responded, “I miss you too LORD. Help me to figure this all out.” That day marked a defining change in my perspective. If God is the driving factor in my creativity and the giver of my joy, why am I not carving out and fighting for my alone time with him? Beneath the depths of what buried me, a place that was hidden from those around me, God began to do a work in my heart. I thought of an illustration I had heard many years ago about starting your day with God first and then everything else will fall into place. The speaker took a jar and poured sand in it and then tried to fit a big rock in the jar too. It was difficult to make it fit. Then she took a jar and put the rock in first and then poured the sand over the rock. The sand fell and settled around the crevices of the rock and filled the empty spaces of the jar, everything fit nicely.
Now, I answer the call of my LORD to “come and talk with him” before I do anything else in my day. I choose to begin with the warmth of my “Rock” (Jesus), and in doing so it allows the details of my life that follow to fall into place. I’m not saying there won’t be difficulties; storms that interrupt our day, but more times than not when you give God the first fruits of your day, you will find that at the end of the day, you can look back and realize that you had abundant energy to accomplish so many things, even get through difficult interruptions. Instead of feeling buried or like you are drowning in the depths, you can emerge breathing in that revitalizing air of the Spirit. You will bloom with amazing vitality and joy. For me, it includes writing again and connecting with friends and family even while fulfilling the responsibilities of my job. Do you feel like you are drowning in the circumstances of life today? Try spending quality time with the One who can bring you up for air and help you bloom with the vibrancy that he has designed for you.