I'm jealous of a toddler. He's playing outside my window at the library with complete and bold abandon. Frocked in his corduroys, black Nikes and fire engine sweatshirt, he's chasing the local ducks over hills and through splashy puddles. And he DOES NOT CARE even one little bit what might be awaiting him at the bottom of those swampy pools of muck. He's dirty. Head to toe. Even has a little glob of dark mud clinging to his wild, platinum hair. Mom is not amused, by the way. I'm thinking when she excitedly dug out his autumn clothes this morning on this first day it hasn't been rainforest-like here in Houston, she wasn't imagining throwing those same cute clothes in the washer two hours later. He's in time out now.
As I study him calculating his next adventure upon his release from his pond-side punishment, I wonder, how do we stay there? How do we stay in that place of wonder and adventure and taking God up on His "life to the full" promises? How do we just look at the duck and GO?
Tune out the contrary voices - Although I didn't see mom right away, I feel certain from her reaction that she was yelling from under the shade tree to stop and come back - to stay out of those puddles. I don't know if he deliberately ignored her or was just so excited about following his duck destiny that he simply didn't hear her, but what resulted was the best 5 minutes of his life. Pure joy. If we're going to follow God's adventures and full-life plans, we're going to have to shut down the voices that are trying to call us back into the shadows and deliberately choose to listen to God's direction alone.
Focus on the objective, not the obstacles - Toddler dude faced muddy holes on his path. One thing is for certain, when we step out to take God up on His word and follow him into our dream or calling, the hurdles seem to pop straight up out of the ground all around us. Much like the puddles awaiting my little buddy on his trek to his ducks, we see our obstructions but have no idea what they hold for us. What we do next makes the difference between movement and paralysis, and it's all about focus. We can either focus on the obstacle and stop (or worse turn back) in fear of what it could do to us, or we can focus on the call God has given us, believe Him and press on knowing that if we get a little dirty along the way, God chose that path for a reason. That He is faithful to carry us through it and has purpose in it. It's a choice: focus on the hurdle and languish or focus on God and thrive. Little man chose wisely from that perspective.
Take off the pressure - Do you think little fire engine tike sat contemplating exactly which grassy path he would take to ensure he reached the ducks at just the right time and in just the right way? No. He heard the call of adventure and took off. I think for many of us, we hear God's call or direction and get excited, but then we fail to take that first step in obedience because we want to make sure we get it right. We don't want to mess it up. As admirable as that is, overthinking causes disobedience. We're not moving. We're not going where He told us to go. At some point, we have to trust that in our prayers and seeking God we have heard Him and then take that first step. We have to MOVE and trust that God will guide us along the way like the shepherd He promises He is. Our success depends on HIM if he called us to it. Take the pressure off yourself to make it all happen.
God is good. He is faithful. He will not call you into something He will not equip you for and help you in. Focus on THAT, stay close to Him and take that first bold step. He will not let you down.
"For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you."