By Abby Lewis, belovegivelove.com
Have you ever found yourself staring at a page of dots trying to find the hidden picture within it? Remember those? When you first look at one of those illusions, you only see dots—no picture. Then your friend next to you shouts, “I see it, I see the picture—it’s a sailboat!” You think, There is no way there is a sailboat in the middle of this mess; all I see is dots. So you try harder and persevere because you reason that if your friend saw it, then you should be able to see it too. After several minutes of trying, you find yourself getting frustrated; your eyes start to hurt, and you want to give up.
You start believing that you will never see the sailboat. You envy your friend’s delight in finding it in the midst of the mess of dots. In your weariness, you take a deep breath, relax and stare a while longer because you are determined to see the sailboat you know is there. You stay focused, and then, out of nowhere and when you least expect it, the sailboat appears in the midst of all the dots. You are overtaken with joy because you finally see it. Each time you go back to that image it becomes easier and easier to see it. And eventually, the dots no longer cloud the picture; all you see is the sailboat.
So let me ask you, are you focused on the dots in your life or on the sailboat? The dots represent the things that contribute to your chaotic life. The dots could be anxiety, constant worrying, anger, frustration, depression, judgment, control issues, greed, lust, sickness, relationship problems, bad circumstances, financial issues, negative attitudes, negative thoughts and words, a death in the family or addictions, to name just a few. The sailboat emerges as the steady, peaceful presence in the midst of the chaos.
The sailboat is God.
He was there all along, but the chaos, at first, hid Him from your view. But once you have seen Him, you recognize Him every time.
My life used to be completely chaotic. I wasn’t focused on finding God in my mess. I was focused on myself. I was focused on my pain and brokenness, on my bitterness and on blaming others. My fears, worries, and insecurities dominated by life. I wanted to be free from the chaos, but I had no idea how to find that freedom. I ached for peace within my soul and within my life, but nothing I tried truly fulfilled me. I was living my life my own way and by my own effort, and I was failing miserably. All I could see were the dots. The sailboat was nowhere in view.
Finally, when I couldn’t take the chaos anymore, in my complete brokenness, I started looking for the sailboat. With tears in my eyes, I took a deep breath and cried out to God. He responded. This act of surrender awakened me to His presence in my chaotic life, and I was forever changed. I felt a peace come over me that left me hungering for more. I began to seek after God with all my heart and searched for Him in everything. The dots were still in my life, but each time I sought God it got easier and easier to see Him…to see the sailboat in the sea of dots.
I know now that God was right there in the midst of my chaotic life, but I couldn’t see Him because I had the wrong focus. How many of us walk around unable to see Him for this same reason? The Bible says in James 4:8, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” You are as close to God as you are choosing to be. He is waiting, arms open wide, for us to acknowledge His presence in our lives. He wants all of us to get into the sailboat and ride through the dots of life with Him. We don’t have to drown in a sea of chaos made worse by our own self-focus. God will sustain us with His love, His wisdom, His strength, and His peace as we seek Him. I encourage you today to choose to stop focusing on the chaos in your life and to simply draw near to Him. As His children, God says He will never leave us or forsake us (see Deuteronomy 31:6). He is everywhere that we are, and He is for us. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you, to awaken you to His Presence, and I promise, He will amaze you. Keep your eyes open, waiting to receive evidence of His majesty, sovereignty, faithfulness, goodness, love, and care for you. As you look for Him, God will emerge in the midst of your chaos and you will be overtaken by his peaceful, loving presence.
There is a seat waiting on that sailboat just for you. Will you choose to get in the boat?
If you find yourself desiring more of what you just read, then consider reading my book Living Still ~ Walking in Peace in the Midst of Life.
Abby Lewis is a wife of 16 years, mother, author and speaker. Her journey is very simple—it is all about love. She wants to be so filled with God’s love that she can’t help but to be love and give love to those around her. She is passionate about sharing her love for God and her transformation journey in hopes it will inspire and encourage you in your walk with God. You can read more about her journey in her book Living Still~Walking in Peace in the Midst of Life, read encouraging and inspiring blog posts on her website belovegivelove.com.