I remember what wandering around without a purpose felt like – I called it carefree fun and freedom. Now that I realize what real freedom looks like, I laugh at how foolish and naive I was.
PSA 138:8 ESV
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord , endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.
Before I became a father, before I realized that I was truly the one responsible for my family’s future – I lived like I was a baller. I said to myself, I don’t need to worry about tomorrow, I just need to have fun today. And while there is value in not being anxious and not worrying, a carefree approach can land you in trouble if it is not paired with a plan, a direction, a purpose.
You see, I found myself having fun, yes. But I also found myself foolishly unprepared for life’s challenges and struggles. I found my life being turned upside down each time life’s “emergencies” came my way. I found my circumstances all too often dictated my attitude, because I wasn’t ready for what life had in store for me, I was only living for the moment.
And this “carefree” life wasn’t carefree at all. In fact, it led to plenty of worry. Worry about how I’m going to pay for this or that emergency that just came up. Worry about how I’m ever going to get this credit card and other debt under control. Worry about how many more days it is until my next paycheck.
You see, what I called “carefree” was actually quite efficient at introducing all kinds of worry and anxiety into my life as a result of the pockets of “good times” that I chased after. I chased after fun eating and drinking and partying with friends, spending money wastefully in a single night or a weekend of excess. I chased fun in buying expensive new toys for whatever hobby was my “flavor of the month”, spending in excess of what I could afford, leaning on credit to “have it now” and pay for it later.
Yes, I was a boat on the roaring seas, being tossed about wherever the waves would take me. For a moment, I would find myself high in the air atop a great wave, only to find myself in an extreme low when the wave passed and I feel into the valley, the trough. And sometimes I would be pushed along beside beautiful scenery of a skyline beautiful and serene, while others, I would be at the mercy of a storm, dangerously close to being crashed against the rocks.
You see, it wasn’t just that I had no direction. I wasn’t even steering. I wasn’t even rowing. I was trying to enjoy my boat ride without realizing that I had no help, no map, no compass, no guidance, no direction, no wise captain or crew. Even when I saw an immediate storm and tried to stop and row away from it, my arms were not strong and prepared, I was weak and unable to overcome the storms of life. In fact, I looked to everyone else to bail me out and help me in those dark times, and most of the time found myself either powerless or unwilling to help myself or others.
But praise God, things change when Hope grabs hold of your life.
You see, I didn’t know how much of a difference having the right captain on board would make in the voyage. Once I invited Jesus Christ to come into my boat and to teach me and guide me, I started learning how to row. Then I started learning how to read a compass to stay on a straight course. Then I started learning how to plan for destinations and chart out courses to get to those destinations. And along the way, I started building up a crew of like minded and focused individuals so that we now had a ship and crew instead of separate row boats. And we began to learn to be prepared for the storms and to work together to weather them, and to sail along safe waters, clear from the rocks and the crashing waves.
Yes, life changed drastically. And my circumstances are starting to be situations that I’ve planned for and anticipated instead of a series of emergencies and worry and anxiety and stress.
And whereas I was always just focused on how to get my own little boat through the waves in the past – now I’m keeping an eye out for others who are adrift at sea, alone in their boats fighting against the waves. Because I am not just vacationing on a cruise line of prosperity, sailing around enjoying my own comfort and fulfillment.
No, I am a member of a crew in a fleet of rescue ships – looking for others like me who was weary from battling the waves and who is ready for change, for Hope. Because now that I have found Hope, Faith, and Love in Jesus Christ – I know there are many or there floundering who can use it.
And there are plenty of people to save – we’re looking for more men and women who are ready to go out there and make a difference. We’re looking for a few good men and women who are willing to head out into the deep waters to help others find their way back into safe waters.
So where are you, sailor?
Where are you, follower of Christ?
Who is driving your boat?
Are you pulling anyone out of the water?