Think about your current position in life, be it personal and/or professional. Five years ago, would you have imagined yourself where you are now, doing what you're doing? Go back even further, and consider what your goals were for present-day you. Have you excelled at them already, still working toward them, or have you completely changed them in general? Few of us are living out our "Plan A" scenario—but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. Our paths in life unwind how God sees fit and as servants of Him, it's important we don't let ourselves lose faith. In fact, I’ve heard people say that God does not have a Plan B. However, I do believe He has a "Plan Be."
"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
In the Gospel of Mark, we find Jesus and his followers on a boat after an exhausting day. We find out that while Jesus has fallen asleep on the boat, He isn't through with the storms of life. His next storm happens to be a literal weather-related storm, and Jesus's followers who were once simply tired are now tired and scared. Life is coming at them fast! Mark writes that they wake Jesus as waves are crashing against the boat, and ask Him if He even cares if they drown. Then, Jesus stands up and says, “Quiet! Be still!” The winds die and it became completely calm.
Now, I’m not sure if Jesus was talking to the storm or to his followers with his instructions, but once he commanded stillness there was calm. But this lesson doesn't apply to nautical instances only. He’s in our sometimes chaotic boat called daily life, where we deal with stresses of family, work, volunteering, health issues, financial troubles, and more. Jesus is with us throughout these situations and can tell us how to handle the storm if we simply stop and listen to Him. Developing a scripture reading plan to purposefully make time for God is a great way to center yourself. It’s not easy, but in this stillness, we can rest and hear from Him.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Many of you have heard the famous poem Footprints in the Sand. It's a fictional story of a man walking the beach talking to God at a time in his life when things were difficult. But as he looks back on the beach, he only sees one set of footprints. As he asked God why he wasn’t with him in those times, God responds, “those were the times I carried you.”
Building on that poem, I once heard a pastor point out that it’s not called "butt prints in the sand" but "footprints." It speaks to a person who was actively doing something. This man was still trying to moving forward, even when he didn't realize he was being carried by God. The man was engaged in life and was living. As humans, God made us live to thrive, not just survive. So many of life’s stressors can weigh us down and make us want to sit on the sand and stop moving forward. Instead, try to remain engaged, don't give up, and work as hard as you can to take the next step forward. Learn something new today, forgive someone (maybe even yourself), smile at a stranger, volunteer at a nonprofit like the Y, or maybe even go for a walk on the beach!
"The earth is the Lord’s and everything in the world, and all who live in it..."
Do we truly believe these words? Are we living our lives as people who believe that everything belongs to God? That would mean that our families and relationships are His, and our spirit, mind, and body are as well. Speaking to the latter of those three, many of us “drive it like a rental” when it comes to bodies. We treat our bodies in the less-than-graceful way we might treat a car that’s not our own, one that we're planning to turn in at the end of a trip.
The truth is, our bodies are not our own, but our attitude towards it should never be one of neglect. Recall in Genesis that God has called us stewards to care for his creation. We must recognize that our bodies are, too, part of that command and His creation. We only have one body this side of eternity: do one thing today to care for it well! Choose to go for a walk or hike on one of the scenic trails across Central Florida, check out our healthy recipes and add a healthier option to your weekly menu, or come take a group exercise class here at the Y.