Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dog-Paddling Vs. Sailing

Header note: some of the following will not effectively apply to adolescents or those still under someone else' authority/house/rules.

How many times have you gone to other people for advice, for direction, for them to tell you what to do with your life? I know that I have many, many times. But as I listened to a Podcast by Rev. Steve DeNeff from College Wesleyan Church I was challenged to think about the Holy Spirit. (The Spirit, wind, and tongues of fire that fell on the upper room in the opening chapters of the book of Acts in the New Testament.)

Picture yourself in a sailboat- the sail down- sitting on a large lake. You really want to move but you cannot find anything in the boat to make an effective paddle and you don't know how to use a sail and tack. So you lean over the bow and reach your arms into the water and start dog paddling to the destination of your choice. Seems kind of stupid, doesn't it?

How long will it take you to do a job the wind could do in 1/50 the time? But this is how many "spiritual" people live their lives: looking for a paddle that may not be effective for their lives (i.e. advice from others that may or may not work), not knowing how to harness the power of the Wind (the Holy Spirit's direction), and so they give up, pick a direction, and start ineffectively dog-paddling at a snails pace toward some distant mark that may or may not be the direction the wind is blowing.

What if we started harnessing that Wind? Allowing it to guide our lives instead of imperfect people and our own ideas. Francis Chan, in his book Crazy Love, tells a story of how- after a short term missions trip- he and his wife were lead by the Wind/Holy Spirit to sell their large home and move into a much smaller home in order to be able to give more to missions and to the church they pastored. He says that, at the time, no one affirmed the decision. They were told it was bad for their children, a bad move in the housing market, and was a spiritual "just for show" move.

This is not to say we should all throw out godly council, logic, intelligence, and simply let decisions fly in "spiritual high" moments but I am challenging the reader to ask themselves: what is happening in your boat? Where would the Wind take you if you let it?

1 comment:

Judy said...

The problem I see with this is that we don't know where the Spirit would take us if we let it. Or at least I certainly don't. I have a vague idea, but when I look at that potential future my history screams out how much of a failure I would be. It is hard to step forward when everything seems to be going against you.

I appreciate these words however, as a personal challenge to let go of the baggage that weighs me down.