For I Am With You

These past few weeks I have been battling fear to embark on my yoga journey this year. I began questioning my ability to teach and to lead and doubting my ability to succeed. The Lord has been merciful in redefining my perception of success. Although it is good to have tangible goals to achieve, sometimes my unrealistic expectations can mislead and deceive. You are not good enough. You do not know enough. The lies go on and on.

What I’m learning is that success is not measured by the amount of goals I check off my list. Success, to me, is about keeping my eyes on Him and walking in obedience to Him, regardless of where that might take me.

It reminds me of a passage in Matthew 14:

When the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” and they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take heart, it is I. Do not be afraid.” And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. Matthew 14:26-32

The disciples immediately respond in alarm. Jesus immediately asserts there’s no harm.

In this moment, Peter’s greatest fear is the mighty storm that has drawn near. He feels the crashing of the waves. He feels the wind against his face. He sees Jesus, and then he prays—and not just any prayer. He asks to step into the storm’s warfare. He asks to step into his greatest fear because he sees Jesus, and he wants to draw near.

“Come.”

That’s what Jesus said to Peter. That’s what He is saying to me, and that’s what He is saying to you.

But I need to be honest. Sometimes I hear His invitation, but I decline in trepidation…what if I sink?

My natural response is to give fear authority. I would rather stay where I am than risk sinking…failing…falling. But Peter—willing to submit his fear—steps out of the boat. And when his eyes are fixed on his Comforter, he walks on the water towards Jesus.

It sounds nice and easy—just take a step of faith. But there is more to it than that. It isn’t just stepping out of the boat—it’s keeping our eyes on Him as we step into what appears to be chaos. That is where the real challenge is for Peter. The storm takes his attention, he takes his eyes off of his Comforter, and he begins to sink.

We can’t do it alone. We can’t step out of the boat with our own power and will. It doesn’t matter how much we want it or how hard we work or how perfected our skill—in our own efforts, we will continually fail.

But what if the goal isn’t to step out of the boat? What if the goal is to be closer to Him? What if the intention isn’t to walk on the water (no matter how cool that may be)? What if the intention is to keep our eyes fixed on Him, to walk with Him, and to walk toward Him?

Inevitably, most of us are familiar with the feeling of sinking when we are trying to walk toward Him. We are lured by temptation or our own expectation or fear and frustration or too much obligation. But when Peter’s eyes shift and he begins to sink, He doesn’t just sit and accept defeat. Peter prays. And He doesn’t pray a long, sophisticated prayer. He prays the cry of his heart in the midst of despair: “Lord, save me.”

“Lord, save me from financial burden.”

“Lord, save me from pride.”

“Lord, save me from fear.”

“Lord, save me from depression.”

“Lord, save me from grief.”

“Lord, save me from addiction.”

“Lord, save me from perfectionism.”

“Lord, save me from shame.”

“Lord, save me from insecurity.”

“Lord, save me from anger.”

“Lord, save me from impurity.”

“Lord, save me…”

new-15.jpg

Jesus reaches out his hand and takes hold of Peter. Jesus reaches out his hand and takes hold of you.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. . .Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, people in exchange for your life. Fear not, for I am with you. . . Psalm 43: 2-5

For I am with you. 

Jesus asks Peter, “Why did you doubt?”

He takes hold of Peter and calms his fear, and it isn’t until Peter feels secured that Jesus asks him where his eyes were lured. Jesus knows that Peter fears the wind, but Jesus doesn’t reprehend. They get back in the boat, and then the winds cease. Jesus declares over Peter’s fear, “I’m the Prince of Peace.

We are called to step out of the boat in faith. We are called to fix our eyes on His face. We, indeed, will continually fail, but His love and His mercy will prevail.

What big prayers do you need to pray? What step of faith will you take today? What is your gaze wandering to? How will you respond when fears pursue? Let me tell you something I’ve found to be true—it doesn’t matter what you do. He will say, “For I am with you.”

So here I go, beginning my yoga journey once again and attempting to keep my eyes on Him—even amidst the doubt and fear, because I know that He is near.

My kick-off class will be Saturday, September 28th from 9:00am-10:15am at Abilene Performing Arts Company—1049 Industrial Blvd, Abilene, TX 79602.

Come ready for some yoga, worship, and time together. Looking forward to seeing you soon!