She stepped up to the microphone. It was her turn. The long awaited moment was finally present. She had worked for weeks to memorize her lines – this was her moment to shine. And shine she did. Her lines came out with clarity and preciseness – her stance was just right and the volume of her voice was perfect. She rendered her part and at the conclusion the crowd erupted in applause. She stood taller than she had ever stood before. Chest proud, smile wide and her round face glowing. She had worked hard and this felt good.
If we are honest – we all live for these moments. We live for the spotlight. We live to work and work to please. There is a deep longing inside of us all, from the time we are born. We all long to be loved, accepted, applauded and recognized based on our good deeds – on our performance. There is something to be said about a good pat on the back every now and then. The exhilaration that comes when one human being recognizes another. As if to say “I see you. I applaud your long hours of memorization for this part. I notice you. My smile is proof that I am proud to be associated with you and in this moment I stand to confess that pride to all who sit in this room with me” What a confidence boost! So we crave this. We live for these special moments and the cycle continues.
What is less exhilarating are those moments when the spotlight is no where to be found. Those times when we are alone and there is no crowd to cheer us on. There is no applause, there is no pat on the back, there is no recognition. No smile from the proud spectators and therefore, no confidence boost. What about these moments? How do we walk these paths? What keeps us pushing forward when there is no one around to see our effort? How do we not give up?
It’s the FLOW. The constant movement of life. The continuous and steady stream that moves us from one place to another. We stay in the FLOW and we are moved – we are carried over the rocks and through the crevices, around the winding paths that dip and swell. At times there is a gushing force of flow that moves us swiftly along as we pass the cheering crowds and the smiling faces, at times we crawl along in the secluded places where life is barely visible – slowing down to a trickle even as we drift with the movement of the flow.
In this flow of life there will most definitely be moments in the spotlight. There will be courses where the flow will send us rushing along and will carry us with ease as we are swiftly moved from one experience to the next with excitement and anticipation. There will also be courses where the flow will seem to dissipate and will reduce to a slow drift as we catch our breath and re-group from the exhilaration of the previous course. Live in these moments also. Enjoy the spotlight and the stillness. Wherever the flow takes you be there and know that as long as you stay in the flow – you’re being carried exactly where you need to go.
As Christ-followers what does it look like to stay in the FLOW?
Let’s take a look at 4 ways that may help us all on this journey through the ebb and flow of life.
Our Faith must be our grounding in this flow of life. Our faith will be the foundation that will sustain us as we encounter the swift and the subtle seasons on this journey. Jesus Christ is the only source of our strength as we are swept through the ebb and flow of this life. Looking to others for our applause and acceptance will fade. Seeking approval from others by planting our faith in them will always lead us to a place of let-down and a season of doggy-paddling through life. When our faith is rock-solid and rooted in Him alone we can trust the flow to carry us with intention through each and every course of life.
To stay in the flow we must at times let go. There will be things, people, emotions and baggage that we must lay down on this journey. The flow of life will summon us to release these things in order to be carried without interruption. Why? As we flow with life we tend to pick up things along the way that will eventually stop the flow. The debris of life will cling to us and send us straight into a cove where we become stuck and unable to flow. Are there people who keep you pinned down? Are there situations you have packed up and carried with you for years? These things get heavy and hinder our flow. Maybe there are old hurts or emotions that you hang onto for fear of being vulnerable again.
If you are feeling stagnant and stuck – take inventory of what things may be holding you back. Letting go is necessary in order to remain in the flow.
In order to stay in the flow we must remain open to the work and movement of God’s spirit in our life. Our faith can be shaken and we tend to hang on to things that weigh us down in the flow. Opening our hearts to God over and over will give us confidence in the journey that he has set before us. We must be rooted in Him and we must be reminded by His Spirit of the beauty of the Gospel. Our inheritance in Him is rich and His desires for us are the best. Opening up to His plan – in the powerful flowing seasons and in the stillness of the trickle – we can rest knowing that he is in control of the flow.
Finally, the most important tool that we have to keep us in the flow is the Word of God. His word is our tour guide. His word is our lamp and our light. His word will show us the way to flow and will keep us close to the very source of flow. God’s word will not only lead us and light our path, but it will keep us grounded in our faith, it will help us discern those things that are holding us back and it will open us up to receive the fullness of all that He is to us on this journey and in this flow of life.
So enjoy the spotlights seasons. Smile deeply during the applause. Buckle in during the seasons of powerful flow in our life. But rest in the quiet waters also. Don’t despair when the flow seems to slow down. Stay rooted in Christ and keep flowing friend.