At the beginning of this year, I chose one word to direct my course for the following twelve months. I selected the word after a lot of prayer, contemplation, and, to be honest, with great resistance. My word is “dare.” I would prefer “rest” or even “grow.” “Trust” has a lovely, comforting ring to it, too. “Dare” has a quality of boldness and courage that seems to go beyond “trust.” But “dare” it is, so “dare” has directed me since January.
As a leader, I have dared to extend a hand of forgiveness in order to restore broken community relationships. I have dared to address a huge misunderstanding with an influential church organization to build unity. Most recently my Board of Directors and I decided to add a new spring fundraiser to our calendar—a 5K fun run/walk.
Personally, I have dared to allow painful, hidden areas of my childhood to be uncovered and to invite healing.
In each instance, it required stepping beyond my own personal comfort into unknown and scary territory. There were obstacles that threatened to dismantle what I clearly felt the Lord had asked me to pursue. It reminds me of the account of Jesus in Luke 8, when He calmed the storm.
One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” (Luke 8:22-24a).
Jesus issued a directive to his disciples to go to the other side of the lake. There was no doubt in the disciples minds’ what Jesus wanted them to do. Yet, when a severe storm quickly overcame them, they were overwhelmed by the serious circumstances. Their attention on journeying to the other side was diverted to the crisis at hand.
What has the Lord directed you to do?
What things has He placed in your heart to accomplish on the job or in your personal life?
What storms are you facing? Are they taking your attention?
He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples (Luke 8:24b-25a).
The disciples knew enough to wake Jesus with cries for help. But their faith had been misplaced on what they saw and experienced in that moment. They woke Him up because they needed another set of hands to bail water and keep the boat afloat. Despite all the miracles they had seen Jesus perform, they assumed they would drown. The circumstances were bigger than Jesus.
Are you settling for less, because of the obstacles you see?
What circumstances in your life seem bigger than Jesus?
In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him” (Luke 8:25b).
That day the disciples’ view of Jesus dramatically expanded. He went from being Teacher, Healer, Friend of Sinners, and Miracle Worker, to the Lord of the wind and water.
Who is Jesus Christ to you?
What do the Holy Scriptures say about Him that you have not yet realized or believed?
My quest to be bold and courageous requires me to focus on Jesus. I can’t do what He has asked of me without Him opening opportunities and without the power of His Spirit. When my attention gets diverted by circumstances, I fear that I will drown.
We can fulfill God’s plans for our lives. We can thrive in life and as leaders. No matter what happens, we must focus on Jesus.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2a, NLT).
Heavenly Father, help me to always rely on You and to serve with Your strength. Remind me to keep my eyes on Jesus, to focus on Him no matter what. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.