I crossed a line a few weeks ago when my fifty-year-old body allowed my brain that thinks it’s still attached to a twenty-something-year-old sign us up for an all-day horseback ride through the high country of New Zealand. I mean, I used to ride. Just because there were now decades between then and now, how bad could it be?
And the answer was very. It was very bad. So bad it may be the subject of blog posts for years to come.
The line between reality and wishful thinking wasn’t the only thing I crossed. I crossed a lot of rivers and streams. Runoff from rain upriver made the current swift and the waters deeper than normal. Usually crystal clear, it also filled the usually crystal-clear rivers with sediment, turning them a chalky gray. Cautioned the rivers had areas of quicksand and to stay on course, I tried. Really.
Honestly, I was more concerned with the fresh-off-a-glacier water not splashing into my boots.
Crossing seemed to be no problem for others. I, however, was riding a horse whose not so secret desire was to be a fish. We could be the first ones in the water, but we were still going to be the last ones out. At first I thought I was doing something wrong—New Zealand horses speak a slightly different language than Texas horses—until the guide filled me in on my mount’s fondness for water. Thus, given plenty of time in the water, I had the opportunity to contemplate a few things I was noticing.
Like how disorienting the gray water was as it rushed by. It gave me the illusion that I was being carried downriver. When I looked down, I felt I was being pushed off course by the current.
Because I took my eyes off the goal—the exit point on the opposite side.
Life is like that too. I just returned from a writers’ conference with an overload of new information sweeping past me. Should I write fiction or nonfiction—or creative nonfiction? Which genre? How will I publish—traditional or self or somewhere in between? Which agents should I pitch to? What avenues should I use to grow my platform?
All useful information individually. Sediment in the river of my writing life when I try to look at everything all at once.
It is disorienting and discouraging. It leads to disappointment, thinking I’m not hearing clearly from God. All because I become distracted by a river of thoughts overflowing with new knowledge and thousands of ideas causing me to take my eyes off the goal—which is doing what my Heavenly Father asked me to do.
God has given each of us a goal that is uniquely ours. The enemy loves to try to keep us from reaching it by distracting us with sediment in the rivers of our life making us feel disoriented, uncertain, confused, maybe even helpless. He will do this is every area of our life where we take our eyes off the goal, which is God. We do this in our work, our families, and yes, even our ministries.
The only way to keep our bearing as we cross the sediment filled water of life is to keep our eyes fixed constantly on the One who stands on the far shore beckoning us to Him. Focus on the one thing that matters most and the sediment will sort itself out.
What things does the enemy use to distract you? What reminds you to keep your focus on God when you start to feel disoriented?