I shared last week that I think “We are At Low Tide”, if you missed that post, please read it before you read this one. As I shared it was a word given to me years back that has fresh relevance for me as we experience lockdown here in South Africa. We are coming to the days where we have lost count and need to check a calendar to see how far we are in lockdown. It is also a time where our days in “low tide” are becoming overrated and we wonder when it will come to an end.
Today I want to focus on what has been my word for the year: “Momentum.” Your first thought may be, “What does momentum have to do with the responsibilities of low tide, or even lockdown?” I had the same thought.
It seems that low tide as enough responsibilities of its own, so that preparing for momentum does not quite seem to fit in with the picture of low tide. However, low tide has the “sand of feelings” that settle down on us, feelings of down-ness; tiredness; sorrow; boredom, being offended. As time goes on, and each wave washes over us during low tide, more and more sand settles on us. The sand of idleness, indulgence, depression, lack of energy, ambivalence, laziness, bitterness, extended TV watching, longing for that which we do not have or the pursuit of pleasure etc.
This is just like standing in the waves and allowing sand to wash over your feet, so with time, it is possible that sand accumulates onto your feet and the end result is that we get stuck in the sand.
Stuck in the sand of bad attitudes, loss of passion, poor health, fear of the future, laziness, lack of preparedness, debilitating depression, lack of energy. Then in the process of getting stuck, we shrink back from what God has planned for us, we opt out of what is happening around us and in our lives and we surrender to the fight instead of taking our stand.
Then, when the tide suddenly turns, it takes great effort to pull ourselves free in order to keep our balance and get moving into the waves again.
Very often, the fact that we first have to free ourselves from the sand, may mean that we miss the opportunity of the wave and all the possibilities it presents. So it is important to be free of sand when the tide turns.
This I have come to understand during my lockdown as God’s call to me to prepare for momentum. To do this, you need to wriggle your toes and move your feet. You need to constantly shake off the sand that each wave brings and keep moving so that when the tide turns you are not stuck. In Hebrews 12:1-3
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy that was set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
The instructions for maintaining momentum are clear:
1. Consciously throw off things that may hinder you when the next wave comes, or when lockdown ends. These may be bad habits, lack of preparedness, loss of zeal or passion, poor relationships etc. As it says in Hebrews 12:12 “…strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. Make level paths for your feet so that others may be healed. It hints at a bit of self-management, self-discipline, self-control as guided by the Holy Spirit.
2. Deal with sin before the Lord (1 John 1:9), but also look at your own wrong thinking that is not according to the truth of the Word, and take captive thoughts that are not obedient to Christ (2 Cor 10:5). To me, this suggests making sure you are still functioning according to the Word and not your own thinking, ideas, or imaginings.
3. Prepare your mind and heart to run the race with perseverance. This means spending time in His presence, reading the Word of God, praising the Lord, fasting, praying, and going to church, even if it is online. In the process you will “fix your eyes,” the focus of your life more clearly upon Him and as you “consider Him” our Lord and Savior and everything He is in our lives, the end result is that we will “not grow tired and weary and lose heart”:get stuck in the sand.
It is important to prepare for momentum, to throw off, deal with and prepare and in so doing shake the sand off. Then, when the tide turns, we are ready, standing on firm ground, waiting expectantly for the first wave.
For me this has meant that I have had to make huge efforts to develop some personal discipline; correct some attitudes; develop some self-control; give myself a good talking to on a few matters; make a conscious decision to think and speak to myself differently; be honest about a few matters. I had to make an effort to prepare: be it my heart, my mind, my environment, my focus so that in the future it will “make level paths for my feet.”
What would be the sand that settles on your feet during low tide? How would you have to maintain momentum in your life, heart and mind in order to be ready for a turn in the tide? How would you need to prepare for when the first wave comes, when lock down ends?
We are entering a season where great faith will be required from us. We cannot grow weary and shrink back.
“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.”
And, “But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.”
But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved. (Heb 10:36-39)”
Father, help me to prepare for momentum and not to allow anything to “settle” onto me during this season of low tide. I understand that You bring low tide for a purpose in my life: to finish a season and prepare for the next high tide. Help me to focus on the activities of preparing for momentum without neglecting the responsibilities of low tide. Help me to throw off that which hinders, to be honest before You and to focus myself on You, the author and perfector of my faith.