Oar What?

Have you ever been kayaking? Have you sat still while the current ebbed around you, carried you gently, and released you further along?

Did you stop to admire where the trees met the water? That place mimicking a horizon but nearly indistinguishable. Instead of shouting its existence, the line seeps into a reflection on the glass-like surface.

I find such a scene breathtaking. Its serenity encompasses you and invites you to rest, to pause, to exhale.

And you know what else? It speaks its life over us as a reminder of God knitting us into being. When He made us, He made us to reflect Him.

Then God said, “Let us make man in Our image, after Our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” ~ Genesis 1:26 (ESV)

Just last month, as I kayaked for the second time in my life, Jesus showed me something beautiful about where the water meets land. Just as we were created in His image, we have been called to reflect Him in our lives.

Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (ESV).

You see, our lives are like water—crafted with grace, influence, the capacity to move quickly or sit still, with strength, peace, and a beckoning to all who gaze on our beauty. Even more than these is our purpose to reflect the Creator, or in this case, the trees and all-encompassing shore.

As the person in the kayak, we choose to control our lives by rowing one stroke of the oar at a time. Here is where God struck my heart… Just as rowing generates ripples in water, when we take control of our lives, we disturb the reflection of Christ in us. It becomes skewed and difficult to discern.

Before I get carried away with this word picture, bear with me. This does not mean we have a free pass to take a backseat and do nothing. We are called to pursue Him which requires action on our part. Sitting idly by is not always God’s intention for our obedience. So, the comparison to any stroke causing ripples and thus disturbing the reflection may be too broad. The point is this: we are meant to surrender our lives—including control—to Christ. We need to give up our oars.

We can still take action. We are still called to exemplify Love to those around us. These are necessary things. But, at the forefront of each step (or stroke) is Jesus. He steers, He writes the story, He nudges us in the right direction or brings us back on track after we fall astray.

The next time you see a reflection in water grow hazy through ripples, think about the ways God is calling each of us to relinquish our control to Him. It will not be easy… As someone who desires control of circumstances, I know I battle this all the time. If that’s you, know you are not alone. Still, no matter where you find yourself, I pray Jesus will use these words to bring freedom and peace in Him.