Monday, August 9, 2010

A Breath of Fresh Air

You know how you can miss something and not even realize it until you get it back? That's how I'm feeling these days. Like I'm breathing fresh air for the first time in a long time...and didn't really realize what I'd been missing.

It has been so long since I've been excited about a coming school year. Recent years have found me dreading the school year as each day of my summer break passed. I've approached the year with a deep sigh and trudged back into the classroom. I haven't MEANT for my attitude to stink. I've just been stuck somewhere back in some place between struggle and survival. Ever been there? Not a fun place to be. And it's not a place you jump into. You slip into it one step at a time.

My journey to that place reminds me of a story in the Bible. It's one of my favorite stories because it involves my favorite of Jesus' disciples...Peter. I love Peter. He was so real. He was full of flaws (I know all the disciples were, but Peter gets told on a lot.) He lived life with gusto, too, it seems. I love the story where Jesus walks on the water and Peter asks him to call him out to walk on the water, too. Jesus calls and Peter goes! And while so many of us fault him for faltering faith that found him sinking, I like to commend him for having the faith to get out of the boat.

My journey is similar to Peter's experience. Peter started sinking because his eyes weren't focused on Christ. It's not that he wasn't WITH Christ, but his focus wasn't on Him. And with his focus off his Savior, he saw the winds and the waves and started to sink. The same thing happened to me. Over the past several years, I wasn't away from Christ, but my focus hasn't been on Him like it should. I've had my eyes on the challenges and trials and responsibilities of life and what *I* could do to face them and meet them. I slowly sank into a survivalist mode...doing just what I needed to in order to get by. Doing what I had to do to meet responsibilities but only that, nothing more.

But just like He did for Peter, Christ has come through for me. Peter cried out to the Lord and Jesus lifted him from the sea and saved him. One day, just a few months ago, I was wrapped up in a difficult ongoing situation and thinking I should have taken something to calm my stomach so I could face the difficulty when seemingly "out of the blue" came the thought that I wasn't going into the situation alone, that Christ was going with me. With that thought came complete peace. I believe with all my heart that HE was reminding me. And since that time my outlook has changed. There's excitement where there hasn't been in a very long time. There's anticipation instead of dread!

And so I'm facing this school year in a way I haven't in years. It feels like a breath of fresh air. I didn't realize what I was missing. I didn't know *I* could feel like this.

And it occurs to me: Christ gives us hope. Not just hope for eternity with Him. He gives us hope for today and tomorrow, too. My heart is thankful...and enjoying the breath of fresh air.