Reflections from the Helm of a Canoe [on Walking with Holy Spirit]

It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining. The late Missouri summer humidity was bareable. I was surrounded by a family of friends. We were laughing. We were swimming. We were loving on Jesus together. We were seeing God do what He loves to do... reconciling people to Himself. We were experiencing life the way we're meant to... like a bunch of grown up kids reveling in their Father's goodness. 

I was in a canoe for the first time in nearly ten years. And I was steering for the first time... EVER. I was out to accomplish one task... Do. NOT. tip.... I wanted to make it 5 miles down the river, all on my own strength... My friend and partner at the front of the canoe was awesome. Even though we both struggled to feel confident in our little canoe, we made for a great team. And we began to find our own rhythm. We were slow and steady. The water was low, but not too low. We enjoyed some of the most amazing moments of just coasting along the river... when the crowds of Labor Day celebrations were nowhere in sight... and the the water was glistening... and the rocky cliffs were rising up alongside of us. In those moments, my soul would sigh... and take it all in... and yet, below the surface...

I was in my own world. Stewing. Not even sure what I was stewing over. Insecurity had mounted in my heart. Fear. An old faithful foe had crept up to my ear and began to whisper. When I was unaware of its nearness, I had begun to listen to fear and not Holy Spirit. I was striving. Striving to prove something. Striving to prove myself. It's a bit ridiculous in hindsight. Yet, I wanted to prove my own strength. My own ability to not need anything or anyone... Even in the midst of this striving, I was clueless.

THEN...some of the guys decided that it was time to give the girls a rest... they stopped us and put us both in separate canoes... suddenly I found myself at the helm of the canoe. No longer steering. No longer in control. I felt a lot of things. Let down. Powerless. Frustration. Gratefulness. Uncertainty. I wanted to prove to myself that I could finish. Now, I didn't know which direction I was going. Yet, my friend steering behind me... he knew we were going... he was good at this. But, I want to help! How can I help... no worries, Rachel, just be. Just enjoy the view. I picked up my paddle and randomly put it in the water... "Am I doing this right? Am I doing enough? What is going on?" Never mind the loveliness of the view in front of me... the comfort and ease of someone else rowing so I don't have to... Nevermind that I can just be. NO! I was freaking out on the inside.

[I wrestle. I don't like to not be in control. I don't like not-knowing or being able to determine my own destiny. I like to feel like "I've got this." If I were honest, deep-down, I long to just get into a car and be along for the ride. I like to coast... I long to not have to think about what's for dinner or how I'm going to get there. But, on the surface, and my default, self-protection mechanism and fear-based thinking... always reacts when I feel out of control or out of the loop..]

In the moment, I was not processing any of this... days later... I wake up to this truth. My feelings at the helm of a canoe... are the way I feel/act towards my Father on most days. My guy friends just wanted to give us girls a break, a chance to enjoy... and yet, I missed it. So sad. I finally get it. 

Jesus wants to love me... wants me to let Him love me. He calls me to stop fearing that I'm not enough... and let Him be enough for me. He calls me to rest... He calls me to enjoy the journey with Him. What a joy to just let Him love me... just enjoy His Strength.. just let Him steer my life in the way it should go... When He tells me to row on the left or lean to the right... I will, but I want to learn to just BE. That's what this season is... learning to REST in Him. So, here we go. Yes.

Do you struggle with this too? You don't have to be in control. Jesus says this in His Word... 

Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Take a listen to this truth before you go...