Last week my family experienced the blessing of soaking up the sun on a Bahamas cruise. Four wonderful days of relaxation, refreshment and rejuvenation! No “to-do” list. No preparing meals or cleaning up after anyone. Those things alone are enough to excite anyone who is constantly on the go.
One of many highlights of the trip was a stop at Great Stirrup Cay. The beautiful beach was lined with lounge chairs waiting for us to claim our spot for the day. I could have stayed there all day long in that same lounge chair without a care in the world. But at one point we noticed people floating around on huge blue rafts… large enough for three or four people to enjoy.
My daughter squealed with delight after she talked her grandmother into renting one of these cool rafts.
“This is going to be so much fun!” she exclaimed loudly.
Everyone else out there looks so relaxed. How appealing to just lay out in the clear blue water under the bright sun. Small waves barely splashing against the raft. It will be refreshing to lay there and do nothing.
It took all three of us to push the huge raft out into the water. We experienced some difficulty getting positioned just right on the raft, but finally, we were all set. For a little while we were enthralled with the beauty of the water.
“Look how clear it is!”
The cool water felt so refreshing on my sand covered feet. Then we saw our cruise ship in the distance. We talked about what we’d have for dinner later that night and all the fun activities that awaited us. My daughter searched for fish along the side of the raft. She told us about the colorful fish she’d seen earlier when she’d gone snorkeling with her daddy. We were all caught up in our conversation. We were relishing the moment. Time seemed to stand still.
But then all of a sudden my daughter screamed frantically “Oh no! Look how close to those rocks we are! We’re going to crash right in to them!”
Rocks? I didn’t notice any rocks earlier when we started this pleasant journey!!
I turned my head towards the direction she was pointing at and sure enough…there were huge rocks just yards away from us. How did we get out here so far? I thought we were just twenty yards or so from the shore. But now we were WAY far away from where we started.
After the shock of realizing how far out we’d drifted, we all had to start paddling like crazy to get the raft turned around. My mom jumped into rescue mode and was brave enough to get out and start pushing her side of the raft away from the rocks! My feet became the “motor” of the raft as I kicked furiously from the back. My daughter paddled like crazy with all her might on the other side of the raft.
Little by little we moved away from the rocks. It was harder to get back because we were going against the current of the water. With all the energy we exerted, it sure felt like we were getting nowhere at first. Finally…we made it back to the shore. Exhausted.
What started out as pleasure turned into panic.
What started out as rest turned into a race.
Our plans to doze in delight came to an end because… WE DRIFTED AWAY!
Do you sometimes find yourself floating around aimlessly without direction? Do you start off down an intentional path only to realize later you are nowhere near where you wanted to be? Do you wake up in a startling panic and see that you’ve drifted away?
We’ve all experienced this! The scary thing about it is that it happens ever so slowly. Gradually. One innocent ripple at a time. And then before you know it, you’re way off track headed for jagged rocks.
What causes us to drift? What causes us to go from the safety of the shore to the jagged rocks?
We were so focused on having fun that we didn’t even notice how far away we’d gotten. We were so wrapped up in our conversation we didn’t see the approaching rocks. We were caught up in the awaiting pleasures of the cruise boat we failed to be aware of where we were.
Pleasures of this life can cause us to drift if we aren’t careful. Even blessings directly from God can cause us to drift if we forget where those blessings come from.
Laziness and passivity are often culprits causing us to drift. I am often guilty of sacrificing quietness with God for something I think is more important. Choosing comfort instead of commitment is frequently a challenge for me.
So what can we do in our journey of faith to keep from drifting? What should our focus be on?
We must be intentional in seeking God daily.
Time in His word.
Time on our knees in prayer.
Time to be still in His presence.
Time to pull away from the distractions of the world and refresh ourselves in His spirit.
And we can’t do it alone. No, we must surround ourselves with other believers who help hold us accountable. We must encourage one another. Be vulnerable enough to share our struggles so we can be encouraged by others.
These are the things that keep us focused on Him. And when we do, we won’t drift away. He becomes our anchor to hold us where we need to be.
So where are you dear friend? Are you starting to drift in a specific area of your life? Are you getting too far away from the safety of the shore? Are you close enough to see where you went off course? Or are you getting ready to crash into some rocks?
Wherever you may be, the loving hand of the Father is ready to gently turn you around. Ready to wrap you up in His grace and mercy. Ready to take you from drifting away to delighting in Him.
Hebrews 2:1 “We must pay careful attention to what we have heard so that we do not drift away.”