Thank you so much for your comments, affirmations, noticings, and heartful desires on living a high bar life. Today I felt that another little piece of the puzzle was discovered, though I don’t know if I like where it’s going.
Today the family and I went to church . . . reluctantly. I used to enjoy the Fall Back time change, somehow tricking myself into believing that I got more rest. However, someone forgot to send that memo to Blessed Children that reside under my roof. So we were up – early – and fairly cranky about it. However, when thinking about being home with less sleep and more Awake and Together time, well, it gave us motivation to get out and about and to a place with childcare. 🙂
This morning in Sunday School we practiced a lectio divina on Matthew 14:22-33 in which Jesus, after feeding the 5,000, sends his apostles across the lake and saves them from a storm during which Peter decides to test his faith to buoyancy ratio.
At first, I had a really hard time centering down: I was with adults! Fun adults! While children were contentedly playing! I wanted to chat and laugh and have fun and teacher don’t make me behave! We listened to some music (loud music with words: the overall experience made me more anxious than centered), read the Scripture twice, and shared a phrase that stood out to us.
For me: “Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and cross”. My perception of God, despite all the Bible stories I’ve read and experiences I’ve had, is that I can take God or leave God: God gave me free will, and it is my right to exercise it. But Christ insisted that they cross.
We read the Scripture out loud again, and then shared: “I see, I hear, I sense Jesus . . . ”
For me: I sense Jesus being a lot more assertive and commanding than I usually perceive Him to be. I don’t know why – perhaps it’s my post-modern sensiblities, but I really feel like I have an option. And I’m sure that the disciples could have said ‘no’ . . . . but this Scripture just doesn’t lend the air of “Well, it’d be better for you if you got in the boat, but I don’t want to offend your free will, so take it or leave it, and I’ll stand by passively with a mournful face, but Lord knows (really) that this would be better for you, but it really is your choice . . .”
We read the Scripture again. This time: “Jesus is inviting me to . . .”
For me: To.Get.In.The.Boat.
Our group discussed all sorts of noticings and thoughts. Some noticed that Christ went alone to pray: why did He need to be alone, and is He inviting me to do the same? Others wondered what it would be like to be Peter – to step out on faith. One person picked up on the phrase, “It’s a ghost!” and wondered what that meant for her life. But for me, it was all about insisting that the disciples get in the boat.
I thought about what I would do in the disciples’ shoes/sandals. First of all, I would want to stay where I was: Christ had performed an amazing miracle, and I would want to stay where I was so folks could talk about how great Christ was, and I could say, “Yeah, I’m with *Him*: kudos to me!” As though I had anything to do with the miracle, or any way that I was worthy enough to be His disciple.
Then, as Christ was kicking me onto the boat (I imagine it as how it is sometimes dropping off my four-year old in Sunday School when he doesn’t want to go: noodle boy who then sprints off down the hall – lovely), I would turn and say, “Um, look, *carpenter*, I am a fisherman, or have you forgotten? This morning when we were looking at the lovely sunrise, do you remember what we saw? That’s right: red sky. You remember what that means? Yeah, I’m not getting in this stinkin’ boat until after the storm, when conditions are, you know, reasonable. But apparently you *don’t* know, and I’d think you would, Mr. Son of God and all that.”
At 3 a.m., after battling fierce waves, after being shoved away by the one I wanted to cling to, then I would be miffed, you know, in between almost drowning. I would be so mad! “I *told* you we shouldn’t sail. But noooooo: you kicked us on the boat, and then you ditched us! You aren’t even here! And now we’re going to drown, and I’m exhausted and cold and MAD, and I might die! I didn’t even want to come! You don’t even know how hard it is out here! I really have an earful to give to you, if I don’t lose my voice from drinking so much salt water.” Yes, I would make a most excellent grumbling Israelite: fit right in with the crowd.
I think with a high bar existence, I’m waiting for the conditions to be ideal. But perhaps (shocking, I know) my idea and God’s idea of ideal conditions might . . . differ. If conditions had been ideal in the disciples’ perception, they never would have seen the miraculous actions of Christ or recognized the truth in their heart: that they had little faith. God is all about the experiential learning, about creating situations that we pray for deliverance from when He’s maneuvered all sorts of things to put us in the middle of it. I can hear Graham Cooke sharing his take on this Scripture: Jesus, talking to God: “Oh, Father, it’s lining up just great! Can you give them waves, and make them really really big ones?” 🙂
Sometimes I need space to discern, and sometimes I need to just get.in.the.boat. So I wonder, what areas is Christ “extending” that invitation to me (aka swiftly kicking me in the butt)? And who’s getting the kick with me?