Happy New Year Everyone!!! It’s 2017. Can you believe it? Honestly its a little unbelievable to me that the year could actually be 2017. I mean I’m still walking around thinking I’m 27, singing the best of TLC and maybe a little 90’s country, and hoping that people born in 1994 aren’t actually old enough to vote. Did you know that someone in their early 20’s actually asked me who Tom Cruise was a few months ago? My response was, “get out of my office”. I was mostly joking, in a serious sort of way, but really mostly joking. How can this be? I’m actually 36, currently watching Dora the Explorer with a 2-year-old, and planning my evening meal of black-eyed peas, greens and cornbread that my children will surely complain about – but I have to keep this southern tradition alive – otherwise my children will have no idea what to eat on New Year’s Day when they’re 36 and probably living on Mars.
Seriously, though, how exciting is it to live right now? Things change so fast that I can’t possibly keep up with what the kids are doing. I recently joined the snap chat world and although I had a long tutorial from my 14-year-old nephew over Christmas, I still don’t get the point. But, I will continue to try this form of communication and put my face in awkward deer designs as to attempt conversation with the Millennials in my life that I love dearly. After all, I do get a good laugh and a funny deer face never hurt anyone.
So what are your hopes and dreams in 2017? Resolutions? New goals? Well, I’m not big on the New Year’s Resolutions. It reminds me of dieting or restriction and that is painful to me. I believe in healthy living and all but it really must be a lifestyle and to me diet is temporary – something that I know will not last – so why even try? So I try to start the new year with more of restoration period. A time to look at what’s working, what’s not and rebuild so to speak.
For me, this year I just want to have a little less fear and a lot more faith. I want to take more risks. Less worry and more trust. So, how you ask? How do you make lasting restorative change? Honestly, I’m not sure but as I think about my own life and faith/trust journey it has happened little-by-little with short bursts of water-walking faith.
Matthew 14 describes a scene where Jesus had just heard of the death of John the Baptist and he was trying to find a “solitary place” – I’m sure to contemplate the news. Unfortunately, however, Jesus was somewhat of a celebrity and was followed by crowds of people. Because the people were hungry, he then performed a miracle of feeding the five thousand with five loaves of bread and two fish. At this point, still needing time to himself, Jesus asked the disciples to go ahead of him on the boat. Early in the morning, Jesus began walking on water to get in the boat. According to the bible, the disciples were “terrified”. Now I would think after all the miracles the disciples had witnessed they would be used to strange things by now, but since I’m somewhat of a “jumpy” person who can easily be frightened by predictable “tricks” of my seven-year-old, I’ll cut them some slack. Anyway, Jesus said in verse 27, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid”….. and Peter said, “tell me to come to you on the water”. “Come, he said”. “Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus”.
Now if you’ve heard this story before you know that shortly after the stroll on the water began, Peter “saw the wind,… was afraid….(and began) to sink”. He cried out to the Lord and Jesus reached out and saved him. There are thousands of good lessons here but I want to focus on the part of the story where Peter got out of the boat. Think about that for a minute – he got out of a perfectly good boat and came toward Jesus. Was he afraid? Yes. Did he lose his nerve right in the middle? Yes. Did he need to be rescued? Yes. But he was the only one that got out of the boat. There were 12 disciples and 11 of them stayed in the boat. Peter was the only one who knew what it was like to walk on water. For a moment, even in fear, Peter got out of the boat to walk toward Jesus. For a moment, faith conquered fear. For a moment, Peter believed the words of Jesus “don’t be afraid” and took him at his word and walked on water. Peter said, “tell me (what to do)” and Jesus said “come (to me)”.
So, how do I have less fear this year? More faith. How do I worry less? More faith. How do I take more risks? More faith. How do I make lasting, restorative change? More faith. Not perfect faith. Not mind altering faith without fear involved. Maybe just short bursts of water-walking faith. Maybe with your knees shaking and your hands trembling. Maybe you just take Him at His word, even if just for a moment, and believe what He says, “don’t be afraid”.
So this year, my prayer for myself and for you is just a little more faith. When you’re faced with difficult decisions. When life is hard. When life is great. Just a little more faith – bursts of water-walking faith. These moments make all the difference and change us forever. So, let’s go 2017!!! Let’s get out of the boat, walk toward Jesus and, who knows, we may just walk on water!