A RIGHT MIND
When I was little, I loved going on car rides, day or night.
During the day I loved to dream as the horizon passed by. As an adult, driving up PCH is now one of my favorites. The thin line of blue contrasting with the speed of the guard rail is a repetitive salve. The smell of the salt-licked air, cool on my face, is the right mix of preservation.
Car rides at night as a child would leave my eyelids heavy. Externally, I appeared asleep but I really just wanted to be carried in from the car. This was to avoid asking for what I wanted and being told no. The van would roll along the road and with each slide and turn, I would begin to guess at which point we were on the drive home in the cool, dark night when the sun was down.
“The sun was going down. The air was warm and still. Jesus had been helping people all day and now He was tired. Jesus climbed into the boat to take a nap. As soon as his head touched the pillow, he fell fast asleep. It was a beautiful evening. A gentle breeze rustled the sails. The friends were chatting happily as they headed out into the middle of the lake. Everything was perfect. Just right for a nice quiet sail…”
I love this word picture. Wind softly blowing and quiet waves lapping the side of the boat. Isn’t it funny how there is this perfect moment right before the perfect storm?
Back to sleeping in the car: it was like a game I exercised upon my four senses and it was all in my mind. Right. Slow to a stop, ease back and forth. Is it a stop sign or light? Lurch forward to a go. Sensation of cruising. We are going downhill, over the water now. Another left so we must be coming down our street.
My kids do the same thing, falling asleep in the car. Sometimes I call their bluff. Sometimes – well, most times – I am soft. I wonder how much longer I will be able to lift and carry them, chubby cheeks resting on my shoulders, legs dangling on my side while I smell their ketchup licked hair and their greasy chicken nugget fingers grip my neck. I remember how good it feels to be carried when tired.
Truth often feels like being carried to me. It changes my mindset. It is the internal blessing versus the external escape. “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world” (Matthew 5:8 MSG). We practice trusting Jesus by telling ourselves the truth throughout the day so that as we experience humanity, our mind still has the light on to direct us to what is…better.
THE STORM IS THE CARE PLAN
“They were only about halfway across when, out of nowhere, whirling winds swept across the lake, fierce and strong, like a hurricane! A blinding flash of lightning lit up the sky. Thunder roared overhead. And in the middle of the storm, Jesus was sleeping. Now Jesus’ friends had been fishermen all of their lives, but in all their years fishing on this lake they had never once seen a storm like this one. No matter how hard they struggled with their ropes and sails, they couldn’t control their boat. This storm was too big for them. But the storm wasn’t too big for Jesus. Help! Wake up! Quick Jesus! Don’t you care?”
Isn’t it hard to be in this position? A storm with recognizable strength, yet lack of control; with a will to survive, but a doubtful whisper, “God do you even care? Will you really save me?”
“Of course, Jesus cared and this was the very reason he had come – to rescue and save them.”
It is Jesus’s care for the renegades that inspires me. As an adult, I still have much to learn on this. Being a teacher in the autism program is a great opportunity. For those who don’t know me, I teach high school students with neuro-atypical brains. They have taught me a lot about what is really important and the value of internal care proceeding external results.
We often have to practice the same things over and over so their brains can internally process what is happening externally and be patient with results. My students have shown me the value of persistence. I have to remind them often that I won’t give up on them, and as I do this, I often sense God mirroring that truth upon my own reflection.
The storm was the care plan. He already knew this was going to happen; he knew they’d get to the other side. It was His plan. The bottom line, though – the one that needs to echo in our mind – is that Jesus cared for his friends, even in the hardship he had crafted.
The storm is the ROGO care plan. Whoever first said that practice makes perfect was a fool. Humans can’t be perfect because we are not machines. The best thing I can say about practice is that it makes… better. There are lots of opportunities to play this out, real with ourselves, God and others. This is where we have the opportunity to gain the ancient wisdom we pursue. When we admit struggle, often in our internal world, this is really when we are practicing trust and it makes us…better.
Jesus stood up and spoke to the storm. “Hush!” he said. That is all. The wind and the waves recognized Jesus’ voice. (They had heard it before, of course- it was the same voice that made them, in the very beginning.) Then Jesus turned to his wind-torn friends. “Why were you scared? Did you forget who I am? Did you believe your fears, instead of me?” Jesus’ friends had been so afraid, they had only seen the big waves.
Your art, your song, your craft doesn’t come from a life without storms. I know you have wounds. Everyone does. That is what makes you human. Have you ever seen a skeleton bruise? You are a leader in either private or public sectors and that does not require you to be perfect. You are allowed grace just as much as the people to whom you give it.
I would argue that a true life with Christ, the actual fullness of faith in the Savior, comes from finding peace with wrestling. God the Father is not intimidated by the rebuttals of his children. It is quite the mystery that he allows.
When you are tempted to quit serving or creating because you feel roughed up, bring those raw feelings to the Lord. I have started many worship sets heartbroken, and through the repetition of truth, ended heart-full.
When you wonder what your place is or where you fit because there are so many talented people, remember that there is always room at the table for you. Our team needs to grow. Have a seat at the table.
When you experience a Holy wonder, share it! I often have to remind myself to feel my feet on the floor and breath in my lungs when I experience God’s presence, his holy hush. I wrestle to share what truth God is speaking, which is silly, but real.
They had forgotten that, if Jesus was with them, then they had nothing to be afraid of, no matter how small their boat — or how big the storm.
The Kingdom of God is near. You are to proclaim that Kingdom, Sandals Church. When Jesus allowed his disciples to go through the storm, it was because they were headed somewhere. As the school year starts, the reality is that there are lesson plans that included storms with your name on it. Expect it. Get your “mind right blessings”, practice ROGO care and prepare for wonderful things. After all – your art, your song, your craft— make the Church, our church…better.
“The Captain of the Storm”
“The Jesus Storybook Bible”