Sunday, March 5, 2017

Sandcastles By the Sea

On the first day of this year I stood next to the ocean watching its majestic waves roll onto the white sand. I stood on the verge of both something new and something old. With each roll of the ocean's waves, I felt something roll over me. My heart, like the tide, was ever chasing the shore. Ever chasing the life God intends for me. Over and over my heart washed through the memories of yesterday and looked to the year ahead.
I tend to be nostalgic in moments like these. I like to think of the value the year brought, the events and moments that occurred in that span of time. And I also like to stir up new hope for what lies ahead. I like to believe that this could be the year anything could happen. I also like to think of how I can improve and grow from the previous year.
This time however was a little different. Each time I envisioned tomorrow I found that I was tired of goals and of lists and of doing it my way. I realized for the first time in a long time, I had no big next steps to head towards. My footprints in the sand were leading no where in particular, in fact they seemed to have stopped all together in waiting anticipation.
Which way Lord? They eagerly asked. What am I to look towards? What is Your vision for my life?
There were things I wanted of course but I wondered if they were the things Christ wanted for me. The question hung in my mind; Am I seeking God's blueprint for the future and not my own. I was, it seemed, open and blank. I knew that the beginning of tomorrow was found in laying down my own pen. I realized that maybe it was exactly where I needed to be so that God could show me His next steps. Maybe I had been in the way for a long time.
I thought about that footprints in the sand poem and the most poignant part being the moment of single footsteps. The author asks, "Where were you then Lord?" And I love the answer. "I was carrying you."
That is what I long for in this season-to be carried by God. The direction of my footsteps don't matter quite as much as having footprints.
As I searched my heart, I journaled these words in what I believe was a Holy filled moment.
2016 is going to be Gods year. It's going to be a year of getting to know Him. All of Him. He will call the shots. He will direct my steps. And I will get out of the way. It's going to be the best yet because for once I will let God fully lead. It's something I should have done all along but didn't realize I wasn't. You never realize till you look again. I am going to do silly little things on my to do list of someday. I'm going to watch things and read things and enrich my life in ways I've never had time for. I'm going to laugh. Oh how I am going to laugh. At myself. With others. At things of great joy. I'm going to try really hard to love deeper. To be there for the other person. To see their needs and not mine. I'm going to talk to God. I mean really talk to Him in time set aside and not on the run. I'm going to look outside my world and discover new things. I'm gonna look at the world not as something scary and uninviting but as opportunity. I'm gonna feed innocent passions. I'm gonna take risks I've been hesitant about in the past. I'm gonna hunger for life. I'm gonna walk in freedom. I'm gonna let go of lists and timelines and preconceived notions. I'm gonna stop being so hard on myself. I'm gonna forgive. I'm gonna ignore what people think and think what God thinks. I'm gonna use the phrase "only God" over everything that comes my way. It's not a list of goals. It's a mindset. If I look to live this way and not at just getting check marks, I will have succeeded.
I'm not sure where your footsteps are headed in this moment and I'm not sure what goals you are working towards, but as you stand on the newness of another year remember to put God first. Ever Seek Him in all things. Proverbs 3 says it like this, "Lean not on your own understanding but acknowledge Him in all ways and He will direct your steps." I once learned about an idea in one of Andy Andrews books. It was the idea of writing out what you want your end result to be and then doing what you need to get there. I think too many of us have no direction because we don't dare to envision the highest of heights for our life. We don't have a blueprint to follow but rather blindly let life come as it may.  We need to reach for a life and a relationship with God that is anything but ordinary. Look to Him to breathe dreams and whispers of hope into this year. Your life can be shaped into something much richer than you've ever known. Proactive steps, well defined prayers and a vision can yield the desires of God's heart in our lives.
As I walked toward the beach at the beginning of this year, I noticed a really amazing sandcastle someone else had built. I'm not sure how long it took or how long it had been there but it called out to me. It was where I was setting my sights; on a year and a life only described as that of a magnificent sandcastle by the sea. I knew it was something that would only happen with Gods involvement. But I was believing with everything in me that He would show up and He would show up big. God is not intimidated by big dreams, giant requests or impossible ideas. In fact he welcomes them because he knows in them lies a heart that says "Only God."
I don't know about you, but I want to build sandcastle dreams in my life. I want a God designed blueprint and I want my life to be lived like never before. Become a visionary. See your past, your present and your future as God's. May the phrase "Only God" be a part of all you do. May this year and this time be the best yet.
-Only Hope

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