Contemplating Change

Last time I talked about making some progress toward goals that have been stalled due to the Coronavirus Pandemic.  Stuck at home.  Too much news-watching and Netflix binging, too much comfort food, and too little concentration on what is important beyond this moment has left me with pounds to lose, run-away emotions, and a loss of purpose.  I invited you to join me in a forward-moving adventure

Have you been thinking about where you want to go?

There are seven generally accepted steps to making a change.  The first is Pre-Contemplation.  That’s when you are stuck in front of the computer or TV in your pajamas, shoveling in the ice cream, not even thinking anything needs to change.  The first true step is Contemplation, that moment when you begin to think that something different needs to happen.  Let’s talk about that.

As I thought about what I want to change and how to go about it, I came upon the story of Peter stumbling out of the boat to attempt a water-walk to Jesus.  I was reading the version in Matthew 14: 24-32 (NLT).  Jesus had stayed behind to finish up some business and then to go to the hills to pray.  At some point in the night, He decided to join the disciples whom He has sent on across the lake in a boat.  When the disciples see Him strolling across the stormy lake, they think it must be a ghost.  Jesus reassures them and tries to allay their fears.  Peter say, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”  “Yes, come,” replies Jesus.  Peter hopped over the side of the boat and headed toward Jesus. When he found himself in the middle of the wind and the waves, however, he started to sink.  “Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him.  ‘You have so little faith.  Why did you doubt me?’” They climbed back into the boat together.

This mirrors my reaction sometimes.  Like Peter, I see a glorious vision.  I imagine what I could accomplish, I can see myself walking on water, as it were.  I pray about it and I sense God is saying, “Yes!  Let’s do this,” just as he responded to Peter.  Proverbs 16:3 (GNT) states, “Ask the Lord to bless your plans, and you will be successful in carrying them out.”  If Jesus says yes, who can say no?

Like Peter, however, once I step out of the boat and start to run into obstacles, I put more faith in the circumstances than in God’s “yes!”  Notice that Jesus didn’t ask Peter why he had begun to doubt himself, but why he had begun to doubt Him.  If I start toward a worthy, God-approved goal and look at the problems and listen to the roar of negativity from the devil, friends and family, or my past, I’m sunk!   Jesus will kindly help me back into the boat, but the water-walk is over.  He didn’t hold Peter’s hand and take a tour of the lake.  He helped him back to the security of boat.  Life was calm and safe again, but the vision of boldly walking with Jesus on the water was lost.

Peter could have disembarked from that little boat, branded himself a failure and retreated to the life of a fisherman, but he did not.  It wasn’t his last misstep, but he kept getting back up and trying again, ultimately winning the reward of walking with Jesus, not just on the water, but for eternity in Heaven.

If you and I have a vision and we commit it to the Lord, we can have confidence in every storm.  Every obstacle can be overcome by Him.  Let’s not focus on the obstacles to success or even our own abilities.  Let’s keep our eyes on the prize, our ears tuned to Jesus’ voice, and hands outstretched for His.  Like Peter, consider today’s failure an opportunity to grow into tomorrow’s success.

What would you do if you knew you could not fail?

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