Exhilarating or Exhausting?

Photo by Tewy

Certain aspects of my life are a bit turbulent lately.  Some days I’m riding on a the crest of a wave, happy to be alive and enjoying the adventure ahead.  But the wave inevitably crashes.

I tend to evaluate my days relative to the waves.  On top of the wave = good day.  Wave on top of me = not so good.

It is exhausting.  I can’t control the waves, nor can I steer my life around them or manage to stay on top of them.

That is not the way God wants me to live.

God knows that life will be a challenging, unpredictable and bruising ride, and he never promised otherwise.  Any expectation of constantly calm waters is pure fantasy.

What God does promise, the truth in which we can confidently rest, is that He rides with us.  With Jesus life’s ride is exhilarating; without him it is exhausting.

That’s me riding a little wave. Baby steps.

As someone who likes to have two feet on the ground and to know where my next step will take me, this is a challenge.  I know it is true; I’ve taught it; I’m writing it.  The Lord is giving me the opportunity to really learn it by living it.

I am doing my best to cooperate with this training by doing three practical things:

Confess my anxiety and pray for peace; confess my exhaustion and pray for exhilaration.  Then rest in the power of God, by his Spirit, to transform my attitudes and actions.  As Jerry Bridges, in The Discipline of Grace, is fond of saying, “Preach the gospel to yourself every day.”

Look for and learn to experience Jesus in every moment of every day.  A moment of delight, encouragement from a friend, an overwhelming sense of God’s love are all evidence of God’s real presence.

Place the events of life into a positive, hopeful, and faithful mental narrative, expecting God to guide me into good and satisfying places.   This is more than human positive thinking; it is faith in God’s promises.  It means actively taking control of my thoughts, rejecting fear and reframing uncertainty in stories of faith.

Jesus and his disciples once found themselves in a surprise storm on the Sea of Galilee.  Waves crashed over the boat, and the disciples were terrified.  Jesus was sleeping.  When the disciples woke him up, saying, “‘Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.”  Matthew 8:25-26

I would be very encouraged by your experiences of Jesus calming storms in your lives or in your hearts.  And I’m all ears for ideas to help me learn to live a more exhilarating life!

12 thoughts on “Exhilarating or Exhausting?

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  1. Beautiful post, Judy! Jesus certainly never promised us that we would go through life on a flowery bed of the ease. However, when we come upon tumultuous waves, He’s right there to ride them right along with us! “As someone who likes to have two feet on the ground and to know where my next step will take me, this is a challenge.” I can certainly relate to this! I thought about a quote that says, “Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” ……. Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith! Amen! May the Lord bless you, abundantly!


  2. Judy, I think you’re bunches of Wonderful! You always have a full helping of “REAL” and “LIGHT” (of God) here, so “relate-able”. As someone “gifted” with “mood issues” (not exactly bi-polar, but the depression used to be scary-debilitating, and now the highs are “interesting”)–I so love the waves picture! As I’ve written about, my faith walk was pretty empty for the longest time–and then in March 2011, I had an “epiphany”, whether it was the infilling of the Holy Spirit or “some kind of miracle”, it doesn’t matter. So I guess now I feel like a surfer–riding those wave crests, periodically being “overridden” by them; but Always with JESUS! There’s a Joy and Peace, and it’s real, full of His Light. The ocean waves are So Beautiful, but as you say, Challenging. I can’t walk on water, but He does it all the time–and when I get overwhelmed, He rescues me. I don’t need to understand any more than that! God bless you Big–much love, sis Caddo

    1. Thank you for your always generous and kind words, Caddo. I love your phrase “gifted” with “mood issues:)” I think we all are to some degree. And what a wonderful thought – we can’t walk on water, but “He does it all the time.” Bunches of blessing back to you!

  3. I believe in faith, prayer, studying the Bible, and the gifts of the Spirit. But if I had to choose only one topic, it would be grace. All of the other practices depend on me doing something to make it happen. But grace depends totally on God and who He is.

    “Therefore, let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

    Judy, you’re a lump of clay on God’s sculpting table which He is now chiseling away on. As soon as He gets down chiseling, you can expect some time in His furnace with the temperature turned up high. Then, when you’re fire proofed, you will be that glorious testimony of His grace.

    1. Thanks Larry – I love the Hebrews verse. Where would we be without the grace of God? As for chiseling and heating things up…gulp…where would we be without his grace?

  4. Thank you for these good thoughts, Judy. I might suggest one addition to your list of practical steps, and that is to practice saying “No.” Many of us tend to overextend ourselves, diminishing our unstructured time by committing to too many good things. We need unstructured time for reflection, creativity, and relationships.
    Thank you for sharing your wisdom and knowledge with great transparency. I appreciate you!

    1. Really good point, Jen. Sometimes we exhaust ourselves dealing with things we were never intended to carry. Thanks for your comment and for your encouragement:)

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