Mary Jane had done my morning cleaning for me the night before, after the preschool open house, so I didn’t need to start the workday early. I was still awake at my usual time and the sky was filled with stars so I loaded up my kayak and headed to the lake for the sunrise. By the time I got to the lake, the clouds had overtaken most of the sky and a brisk breeze was blowing in from the north. It made for an interesting couple of hours on the lake and I was frozen when I finished, but I managed some early morning photos that I liked. By the time I was finishing up on the lake, one of the bald eagles had shown up at his usual location so I was able to get some good photographs of him.
After stopping by the house to unload the kayak and get some warmer clothes on, I made my way to work where I continued the tasks of sermon refinement and retreat content preparation. By late afternoon it was time to refuel my mind and body before beginning the evening cleaning, so I made a quick stop at the river on my way to lunch/dinner. Today’s photo is from along the river as I found this squirrel intently eyeing the path ahead. It had made its way up the trunk of the tree to the point where the branches left it two options. It had passed the first option but then stopped for a rather long time, appearing to study the route ahead before going on. In our fast-paced society, it become far too easy, and too common, to rush forward with no consideration of where we’re going. Yes, a life of faith means that we trust God for what’s ahead that we cannot see — but we also must use wisdom and discernment in the matters that we can see. Gazing forward can not only help us avoid some problems, but it can also make us aware of the faith needed to overcome what is unseen. Eventually this little guy had surveyed the path ahead as much as he could and had to continue his journey one direction or the other. He chose to move forward into whatever he saw, or didn’t see, and it wasn’t long before he disappeared from my sight. Yes, we need to look ahead and consider if the path we’re on is a good one, but there comes a time when the looking and consideration must change to movement — you can’t just sit there!
After my lunch/dinner break, it was back to the building to take care of the weekend cleaning to have the building ready for Sunday. While there are some tasks that require focused attention, most of the cleaning process has become a routine that makes it an ideal time to pray more intentionally as I work. Tonight as I cleaned, I began to wonder how often we’re more concerned about the cleanliness of a home or building than we are about the cleanliness of our life? Many times we are more concerned about a person saying something that might make us look bad than we are about our doing the thing of which they speak. In the Psalms, David asked God to create within him a clean heart and to renew within him a steadfast spirit. That is a good prayer to pray at any time, and the times when we are cleaning physical object can become great reminders for us to pray about a more important cleaning that needs to take place.
As I reflect on the day, here are some thoughts/lessons that stand out to me:
- Looking out a window will not always lead to an accurate conclusion about what it is like outside — appearances can be deceptive.
- Rough waters can make life more difficult, but they can also add to its beauty.
- Expecting things to improve isn’t the same as them actually improving.
- If you’re not prepared for current conditions, you might become rather uncomfortable before the conditions become what you would like.
- When faith and godly wisdom work together, we find that we go in the right direction at the right time.
- Character and integrity are more important than image alone. If who we are, what we do, and how we do it align with God’s standards, our image will be right in the eyes of the One who counts.
- A clean heart and a steadfast spirit are always good things to seek and to ask God to create within us.