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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

We Are Drifting...

This week as part of my devotional routine, I have been reading Psalm 141. The act of reading the same Psalm for several days has been enjoyable, and I find that different verses will pop out at me on different days.

Today, I have been pondering verses 3 & 4. David writes, "Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips. Don't let me drift toward evil or take part in acts of wickedness." (NLT) Something about the phrase "drift toward evil" has lodged in my brain. I keep thinking about how so much of what we do in life is the product of hundreds, thousands, and even millions of small decisions. We rarely do anything, good or bad, all at once. Small choices repeated over time lead to big change. Step by step, choice by choice, we move towards a desired goal, or further away from it.

Whenever we fish on a lake, I am amazed at the surprising nature of drift. When we find a good fishing hole, we pull up to it, put down anchor, and begin to throw out our lines. For a time, the spot is perfect, but after a while I will look down and observe that our boat has "suddenly" run into the weeds. Yet nothing happens suddenly on a calm Minnesota lake. Inch by inch, the boat has drifted, and we find ourselves in a place we never meant to be.

The same is true in life. Dollar by dollar our finances drift and "suddenly" we're in debt. Selfish act upon selfish act and "suddenly" our marriage is in trouble. We don't realize the movement, but we look around and find ourselves in a place we never meant to be. In the same token, short prayer after short prayer and we "suddenly" find ourselves feeling near to God. Generous act after generous act and we are "suddenly" a more loving person. Daily, we make minor choices and decisions that slowly pull us away from God and his love, or move us towards Him.

So the question for us today is, "Which way am I drifting?" The truth is, we are all drifting one way or another, all the time. Are you moving God's direction? And rather than merely answering yes or no, we need to be willing to look at our lives and determine where the current of our choices is taking us. If we're drifting towards God, we should be able to identify the small decisions we are making that allow this to happen. And if we look at our life, and find that our words, our actions, or our attitudes are letting us slip slowly away from Him, then we make changes. Perhaps we don't come back all at once. That's the nature of drifting. We simply begin making better choices, choices that put the wind and the waves in our favor, and we begin moving towards God.

And one day, we look around at our life, and sense that God is much nearer, much more real, than we have ever known him to be.

May your journey be one of constant drifting towards our loving Father,



Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great reminder about drift. It happens so gradually and unnoticed. I remember once when Tom and I were fishing and I took the canoe out for a little paddle around a cove at Lake Berryessa. I was not paying attention, just enjoying the water and sky and when I looked for Tom, fishing on the shore, I was so far out on the lake, off course, drifting and blown by the breeze, that I could barely see him. It was only when I realized where I was that I got scared and started paddling for all I was worth to get back to a safe place. I'm sure there is a good illustration in there somewhere! Ann.

Anonymous said...

What is really sad (and something I find myself doing from time to time) is when I KNOW I'm drifting "in to the weeds" and yet I think "Well, it's not too bad yet...I'll wait a little while longer." I think it's good to take stock every now and again and see which way we are drifting -- they key is to find the motivation to paddle in the right direction. Sometimes just the knowledge of drifting isn't enough...