Reflections on Drift

20 Feb

Have you ever sat in a boat without an anchor and just let yourself drift for a while? It can be a beautiful thing.  I’ve drifted on small row boats and canoes floating down a slow river current.  Steering and guiding the tiny vessel only as necessary to avoid shallow rocks or wreckage on mid-stream obstacles.  Again, it was wonderful.  However, it did require paying more attention than drifting on a large fishing lake.  It meant looking ahead for possible current changes and potential river hazards.

Well that is two of the things that can happen when we “drift” in our devotions or daily time spent with God.  At first, it can seem like a bad thing; like we are not being “intentional” enough.   But when we drift, it can be a good thing as well.   Drifting allows us to Rest in His grace.  Letting Him guide our pattern through the winds and waves of life.  It can certainly appear and possibly can be the path of least resistance.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need drifting in the current of grace,  just to have forward movement.  I’m all about intentionality when it comes to consistency and growth.  At the same time, we sometimes need pause and absorb grace.  Some drift.  Some flexability to rest in God’s grace from time to time.

My point with these boat drift examples is that every moment can be a sacred moment. Even in the moments where we think we are drifting, and simply enjoying God’s grace in our lives – IS a sacred moment.  When we see our lives as He sees it – to the extent possible – we change.  My point is, sometimes, we all need to absorb God’s grace in order for that to happen.  Sometimes, we push so hard to “do” for God, and be “productive” and “achieve goals”, we miss God’s love and grace for us.

A while back, I was pondering the idea that many believe there is a need only to be continually on-guard; looking out for hazards, being aware of the circumstances surrounding us.  Not to allow this world to have too much influence on us – but to be able to avoid rocks and backwaters and rip tides.  Circumstances can and do guide our daily actions.  There is a head/tail side of this reality.  As one friend puts it, where we stare, we stear.  At one end of the spectrum – we need to be aware and in this world.  We need to know the circumstance which surround us at every cultural turn.  But I would further propose, we need not see ONLY hazards or everything to be avoided.  Sometimes those circumstances are set into our lives to call us to attention. To ACTION.  To GRACE.

Hopefully we are aware of interruptions created or allowed by God to get our attention away from going thru the motions.  Hopefully, we are aware of the Spirit and can move in compassion when there is a need for us to be there and help another. To make a difference in a social cause. Hopefully temporary circumstances won’t make the keel come out of the water due to the whiplash of being on stormy seas. No clicking off tasks will work to fill the void for another person in need.  We must set aside our agenda and take action of love. Stormy seas are NOT the time to drift.

Intentional time spent each day with God can also mean changing it up in a variety of ways.  I personally mix it up a lot.  To me devotion time is a bit like “date night”.   I want to spend time with someone I love and who I know loves me.   But we don’t have the same date with the same agenda over and over and over and over. Same purpose, yes.  Same motions, no.

Yes, I have my preferred reading plan.  I love it.  It has helped me grow over the years.  It has taught me a ton about God and about living.  I am comfortable with it and have used it as a guide to read through the Bible on a regular – but not regimented basis.  I have used this reading plan every day for about 20 years.  I don’t feel stuck yet.  Yes, there are tough days and missing days.  I just catch up.  I don’t want to miss a word of God’s exciting revelations. Yes, there are days the readings challenge me and cause me to fall on my face before a Holy God.  Yes, there are days the readings are a warm and loving balm of healing.

I fully admit the early years were hard.  Forming the habit to read God’s word every day, well,  it felt like cutting a machete path thru a jungle of mind-weeds with every single reading effort required to develop this good habit.  Opposition came from every angle, including me.  “I don’t have time”, “What good will it do”, “I need to ‘study’ not read”. All of which is a crock.  All reasons why investing in my relationship with God was not a priority.  Lies from the pit, distractions to destroy.  But then, after a while of intense reading, I found the need for being adrift.  Not pounding things into my heart and head, but reflecting and pondering on what I had read.  Drifting in the truths already discovered.  Enjoyed from a new perspective.

Is drift the BEST thing?  I propose that it can be.  For short periods of time especially, the drift of relaxing with God can be rewarding.   Changing up our time spent with God can make a big difference in our relationship.   I don’t always do the same things in my earthly relationships, why would I think it is a good thing to check a box and get stuck in a rut in my relationship with God?

Setting aside my reading plan(s) once in a while and spending time “drifting” is a beautiful thing.  I know it may seem like “drift” is a bad thing for some of you, but I can attest to the comfort and refreshment that comes from other activities spent in God’s presence.  A nature walk.  Meditation on a single verse.  Listening to music that makes you sing in joy.  Attempts to memorize important verses God is using in my life.  Sometimes spending a little time in reflection can bring my heart to a humble position knowing who God is and who I am.   Intentional mindfulness and awareness of God and the blessings poured into my life – well folks – I’m here to tell you in case you haven’t discovered it yet — there are a myriad of methods for worshipping God.

I know many who love to say “God doesn’t see me, all he sees is the blood of Christ”.  To a degree, I get that.  Yes, it is only through the righteousness of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice and resurrection that we are allowed to boldly enter the throne room of our Holy and Heavenly Father with our praise and petitions. Jesus intercedes on our behalf. (Acts 4:12)

So, it may shock some of you to think about this truth as well.  God sees everything about us.  Every nook and cranny of our lives.  Every hidden sin, or thought, every selfish motive.  Every self-serving action.  Every God honoring moment spent in worship of our ALMIGHTY God.  God sees into every cell of our being and every aspect of our lives.  (Psalm 139)

GOD alone can confirm whether or not “drifting” for a time is a good or bad thing.  Remember this:  He loves us.  He waits and longs for us to spend time with Him.  To listen.  He calls us.  Listen – Can you hear Jesus calling you to time together?  

Wherever we are – when we take time to seek his face – He will be found by us.  Jeremiah 29:12-13.   God never fails to meet us.  He is faithful.  He is loving.  He is HOLY.  He is never-ending.  He keeps His promises.  We fail.  We all fail.  We fall.  We need grace. We need mercy.  The lesson when we fall is to get up again.  To keep on keeping on. To not give up on this most important relationship.  We all need to cherish our relationship with Jesus with all our heart, mind, soul and body.  Cherish this relationship with our time.  With our intent. With deliberate choice.  Even in busy times.

So if the best we can offer today is time walking and being with Jesus.  Hallelujah.  Praise him in the forest or on the trail or in the boat on the lake.  If the best we can offer is picking up the kids toys while they quickly nap – then fine.  Be in that moment with Jesus – right then praying for your children while you pick up, pick up and pick up again.  If the best we can offer are moments of reflecting drift while we stare out the kitchen window pausing washing dishes – then fine.   If the BEST we can offer as worship to our LORD is to take time to read and explain and apply and do (READ) His word, then great.  God wants our best; at the same time — HE truly knows whether or not our efforts are the best we can give at that moment.

Thomas Merton

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”

Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude

Pray not for want we want, but for what HE wants.  Sounds so easy to simply quote Jesus, YOUR WILL BE DONE….Yet, it is not always easy to even simply show up – with your BEST.   Do not attempt to fool an all-knowing God by not giving your bestSometimes our best is drifting in His grace and practicing the presence of Jesus Christ.  Sometimes it is not.  Be honest.  Take a sober self-assessment.  Re-read Romans 12.  Think carefully on how it instructs us to live a Godly life.  Remember that though we serve a loving God, he is at the same time a HOLY, JUST God.  He will not be mocked.

As both Matthew and Mark end, we are told to be a follower. When we are devoted, we spend time with the one we love.  Don’t let anyone fool you.  Drifting time is still holy  time:  when and if we approach it with a humble heart seeking God.  Instead of worrying about making more secular moments sacred, how about this week everyone simply make the effort to acknowledge that all our moments are a gift of God, and all moments can be sacred.

The Holy Spirit is the best navigator on Earth.  If you desire, He can drift you closer to God.


Martha L Shaw - Poet, Writer, Artist

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