Monday, September 2, 2013

Living as Mist

[caption id="attachment_171" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Image courtesy of dan at Image courtesy of dan at[/caption]
Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money."  Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring.  What is your life?  For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that."  James 4:13-15

As I read my Jesus Calling devotional on Saturday, this scripture stood out to me and in particular the descriptor, mist.

When I hear the word mist, two images come to mind.  In one, I think of spending the day at Six Flags Over Texas in the heat of the summer and occasionally stumbling upon an oasis of misters spraying the finest spray of water that offers a brief refreshment, but not a thorough soaking to the bone that you will experience on the Log Ride or "the Flume" as my grandmother refers to it.

The other image is one I have rarely experienced in the hot Texas weather, but it is in the beauty of an early morning right before sunrise when misty droplets hover over the grass with only the slightest hint of the day that is about to dawn painted on the sky above.  This mist I have seen more in photos like the one above and draw me to think of the far off British Isles as a place where mist may dwell more frequently.  But what does it mean to be mist?

1.  Brief

Our time is brief.  I think of how quickly my experience with mist vanishes as soon as the sun burst forth and it is those moments that help me recognize my place in the world and remind my too frequently puffed up self that it's not about me. In the book of James we see this concept of planning out life and I think of my paper planner recently purchased from Target and filled with dates of events for the months ahead and I remember: I am mist.

The writer of James seems to think that planners are okay, though.  He doesn't say throw out all plans, organizational systems, Google calendars...  Instead, he gives focus to the plans.  He encourages a new context.  He reminds us Whose the plans are.

"If the Lord wills."

What would my days look like if instead of making plans here and there on my own, I first consulted the Creator of all life.  I think a lot of the planning challenges I face: overprogramming, disappointment, loneliness, etc. might look a little different if entrusted to the Master Planner first.  Would my stress level drop if I sought God's guidance?

I think of a recent and special event I helped plan: my and my husband's wedding.  It was the most beautiful day of my life, but would I have been more calm and at peace in the days leading up to it, if I had constantly remembered my mist-like state?  Yes.  Without a doubt.

Focusing on God in any planning stage puts the emphasis where it belongs -- on Him!  It is so easy to get wrapped up in our world and lose sight of our only Hope -- Jesus Christ.  It is only through Him that we have meaning and purpose at all.  When we recognize our lives belong to Him and actively seek His plans, we will not be over scheduled and overburdened because we will be resting and trusting in Him, recognizing His guidance and direction.

How our perspective changes!  Let's begin this today, knowing Jesus wants to be an active part of all of our life.  So before we commit to a request, let's pray about it and before we make a decision, let's pray about it and before we invite friends for lunch...pray. about. it.  The Holy Spirit will guide you.  Plans bathed in prayer are never disappointing because they are God focused, so when maybe things don't turn out as we thought they would, we have peace because we are resting in God.  I want to add that because there is sin in the world, situations may occur out of our control, but nevertheless, God is with us no matter the circumstance.

2.  Refreshing

The other word I would use to describe a mist is the refreshment it brings.  Whether at Six Flags on a blazing day or the peaceful refreshment of an early morning, the mist has purpose and meaning.  It may not last long, but still it is valuable -- you have value.  Your life is so valuable to Jesus -- "You were bought at a price" 1 Corinthians 6:20 -- don't forget that.  We are called to be light in the world.  We are called to bring refreshing hope and love to a world that is desperately overburdened.  I think recognizing our brevity helps to give more focus to the meaning and purpose in our lives.  What are gifts God has indwelt within you?  What do you love?  What are you passionate about?  Seek God's plan in those things!

Ahhh, the refreshing perspective of living as mist.  Let's refocus and face our day renewed and refreshed ourselves, so we can refresh the parched desert that surrounds us.

Blessing for the journey.

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