An Anchor for the Soul

standard August 8, 2017 2 responses

Summertime is in full swing, as is the air conditioning and the consumption of sweet iced tea.  Here in the deep south, one of our favorite summer pastimes is to take long boat rides down the river, sometimes water skiing for hours on end, and other times fishing until our heart’s content. It is always great fun to slather on the sunscreen and fellowship with friends and family, enjoying the day without a care in the world.

However, I know firsthand that in an instant the weather can change and a severe thunderstorm can appear out of nowhere.  This exact thing happened when I was on a family redfishing trip in the deep marsh off the coast of New Orleans.  One moment we were soaking in the warmth of the sun, and the next we were fleeing to find shelter from the pelting rain.

We raced to the nearest boat dock and hurriedly put our anchor down to keep us from slamming into danger.  And as we huddled together waiting for the storm to pass, we were thankful for the sense of security that the anchor provided us with while we waited and hoped for the sun’s return.

This situation reminded me of the imagery of a sure and firm anchor that the writer of Hebrews gives to illustrate the promises of our faithful God.

“So that…we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to seize the hope set before us. We have this hope – like a sure and firm anchor of the soul.” (Hebrews 6:18-19)

He lets us know that when the storm rages, it requires more of us than simply to remember the promises of our unchangeable God, but we must also “seize the hope set before us.”  We reach out our hand and take hold of something sure and firm.  Something that is bigger than the wind and the waves. It is hope.

It is hope that centers us.  Hope that keeps us from crashing into the bank.  Hope that keeps our eyes on Jesus instead of our circumstances.  Hope as an anchor for our frightened soul.

The storms of life will undoubtedly come our way, usually when things are moving along just fine.  We may be caught off guard at first, wondering where is God in our time of need.  But then we remember that He has given us His promises as something firm and sure to keep us centered.

He has given us hope to seize.  He has given us Jesus as an anchor for our soul. 

God, You are my refuge when the storm rages. Help me to seize the hope that You have given me and to look to Jesus as the sure and firm anchor for my soul. Amen.

Comparison Is the Thief of Joy

standard June 3, 2015 3 responses

Summertime is upon us and I, for one, am extremely grateful for the slower pace and a chance to sit in the sunshine with a book in hand.  However, with the change in season comes the trap of comparison.  A trap that every woman knows all too well.

If you would, please consider the following scenarios with me:

Scenario 1: While at the neighborhood pool you see an acquaintance that you know recently had a baby, but there she is looking oh, so thin in her two-piece swimsuit.  No belly fat whatsoever.  And here you are (having had your last baby five years ago…but hey, who’s counting?) feeling like the roll around your midriff could quite possibly be misrepresented as a built-in inner tube, lest you need an immediate floatation device.  You could have sworn that the mail catalog swimsuit model did not have this inner tube you are sporting, and you can’t for the life of you imagine why it is presenting itself now.

But then you hear that still, small voice whisper in your ear: You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14) and you are precious to Me (1 Peter 2:4). I take great delight in you and I will rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).

Scenario 2: You are having a pretty good day.  Grilled cheese sandwiches have been served, the kids are behaving themselves (for the most part), and you have told them that after naps you’ll take a trip to the local library for their summer reading activity.  As your angels are sleeping you begin scrolling through Facebook.  “Oh look, Jill is on a trip to beach with her family and nanny….How nice, Jessica is on a get-away with her husband in Seattle….Is that Jacqueline zip-lining through the tropics???  Ok, now I’m just bummed.” All the while forgetting that you and your family have had plenty of fun trips that you have enjoyed.

And then you recall the words from Lesli’s post on JOY: A Choice; Not A Feeling: Don’t compare…just don’t!!  Don’t let others “highlight reels” on Facebook steal your JOY as you live in the real-life, behind-the-scenes with your precious family.

Scenario 3: You sit at your desk working furiously toward a 3:00 pm deadline for a major proposal your team has been competing to win.  Your phone keeps buzzing every three seconds showing the GroupMe texting app that you use to communicate with a group of friends. They are texting about how they are going to the pool, or the Children’s Museum, or Art Camp, etc. And while in capable hands, your kids are spending their days with a babysitter so that you can work.  You try to stay focused, but you begin to feel doubt creep in.

Until you remember that God told you: Commit your work to Me and I will establish your plans (Proverbs 6:3) because I have put you here for such a time as this (Esther 4:14).

You see, Friends, comparison is a lonely place to be and it only leads to a lack of joy.  There is always the possibility that someone is going to have a better body than you, a better vacation than you, a better (insert your own scenario here) than you, but thank God, you are made to be YOU and I am made to be ME!

So, what is the antidote to comparison? I submit to you that it is a spirit of thanksgiving for the blessings that we do have and a confidence that God will fulfill His purpose in our lives.  And just as David gave thanks in Psalm 138, we also have the ability to choose joy and say:

I give You thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart….The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.