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Ripples In The Reflections

 

Sitting and watching the beautiful sunrise, suddenly the scene changed. My eyes turned from the wonder of a new day rising to the eyes of an alligator watching me, creating ripples in the water and in my thoughts.

Early one morning, I drove out Lake Road which runs alongside the Tchefuncte River. It was an unusually calm morning on the river. Seldom do I catch it “glassy”. I pulled over near the edge, looking for the perfect picture to go with a “reflections” post that has been on my mind. Sudden movement caught my eye and I was no longer alone and the perfect reflection vanished in the ripples. I knew immediately who disturbed my peace. 

Look closely. His eyes furrowed deep in his eyebrows and the tip of his nostrils at the end of a very long snout extended just enough to retrieve the oxygen needed to stay mostly submerged in the river.

Alligators are sneaky. Many times they hang around and are never seen. But – they are always watching.

It’s not a far jump for me to apply this to my spiritual life. Alligators are predators. Seldom do they attack man without provocation. Yet, they disturb the scene our life is playing out, coming in and creating ripples. No longer was my focus on the beauty of the sunrise, the creation and most of all, my Creator.

Without recognizing the predators that hang out in the shadows of our lives, we are often left surprised and amazed when their ripples disrupt our lives.

My soul is in a place of contentment – but often these ripples are doing their best to break the still and calm waters there.

My personal “ripples” fall into categories. The little ones that barely cause me to adjust my balance. Disrupted schedules changing on the fly. An unexpected phone call. Being late. Traffic. Worrying about what others think. Trying to decide what to eat as I am focused on my health.

Admittedly, these are small but they have a unified power – distraction. The big ones seem much more powerful but come with their own set of opportunities to draw closer to God.

That turns into frustration, negativity and ugly in me. These predators join forces and together, create larger ripples. Very likely there were more alligators off in the marsh where I couldn’t see them – also watching, waiting.

Until I step away from the water and walk away, they will be on alert.

I step away from the water, standing on the firm ground – the place I know Jesus is waiting for me. He takes my wobbly self and shields me from the predators. 

I struggle with that off balance sensation because my insecurities abound when I take my eyes off Jesus. I see the eyes of the predators slowly surrounding me because they know the power of the little things in my life. They know my weaknesses better than I know myself. 

So I rein in my confidence in God – my confidence the predators were eroding as each ripple moved through me. How can they have such power to disrupt my life? Do you feel this same challenge?

I’m in a study of The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. I am learning so much about what lies beneath the waters where I only see the eyes and nostrils of the alligator which at first look seem so harmless.

“The truth is, of course, that what one regards as interruptions are precisely one’s life.”

Source: “Collected Works of C. S. Lewis” (1994)

What ripples am I going to allow to become my interruptions? 

Continuing my drive out Lake Road, my thoughts had certainly been interrupted but because they are a “normal” part of my life, I’m constantly learning how to rein them in, allowing my savior to fill me with a peace where I am able to focus on Him.

God didn’t give us a spirit that makes us weak and fearful. He gave us a spirit that gives us power and love. It helps us control ourselves. 1 Timothy 1:7 NIrV

“Father, we praise You. We seek You. We love You. Stay near Lord as we unexpectedly encounter the enemy daily, in even the smallest interruptions, intent on diluting our focus on You.  May we be constantly reminded how near you walk with us. We love You, Lord. Forgive us. Amen.”

Maybe the reflections post will come one day soon.

Until the next time – live strong, walk in faith, love as we have been loved,

Janet

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