Today is her birthday. She's four years old. We've had the pleasure of raising her from the tender age of six weeks old. She's our Golden Retriever, Precious. We couldn't comprehend all the fun that was in store for us, when we brought her home. And yes, she certainly has lived up to her name!
This past weekend, we decided to take her out on the boat for a little pre-birthday celebration. The sky was bright blue and the air was thick with humidity - the perfect day to enjoy Lake Lanier. She sat at full attention, eagerly taking in the sights and smells of her new surroundings. She was ready for an adventure. And what could be better than sharing the adventure with her 'people'?
After cruising around the lake for awhile, we dropped anchor in a cove, sheltered from the traffic of the main channel. With a heat index topping one hundred degrees, the lake offered cool refreshment. Even Precious seemed eager to put on her float coat, the equivalent of our life vests, and clamber onto the inflated tube. The tube provides a great platform for lounging and later, rolling off into the water when the heat gets too intense. Precious had the lounging part down pat.
With my husband, daughter, and I, lazily floating around the tube, coaxing her to jump in, Precious edged closer and closer to the water. Although she clearly wanted to join us, she was unsure of herself. This was new territory for her and she wasn't convinced that she should leave her comfort zone. After several unsuccessful attempts to get her to jump in, my husband finally lifted her into the water.
Panic overtook her. Precious dog-paddled furiously to get back to the tube. Legs thrashing wildly, she didn't realize that the float coat was providing the buoyancy needed to keep her head above the water. She refused to relax. In a desperate attempt to reach safety, she literally wrapped her front paws around my husband's arm and refused to let go. He reached the rear deck of the boat and carefully lifted her back to solid ground.
Sometimes my Heavenly Father coaxes me to leave my 'comfort zone. ' Maybe it's moving to a different location, starting a new job, or developing a new friendship. Whatever the case may be, it's unfamiliar territory to me, and may even prove uncomfortable. I see how the Lord has blessed others in similar circumstances, but I'm too comfortable with my familiar routine to step out in obedience to His call.
He continues to beckon until I can no longer refuse. I step out of my comfort zone to unfamiliarity. The choice is mine: panic or peace. The Lord is my divine 'life jacket' - providing safety and guiding me every step of the way. His word offers reassurance, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27; KJV). His presence, a lifeline, "...and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen" (Matthew 28:20b).
When you're challenged to leave your comfort zone, step out in confidence knowing that your Father's presence and peace are there to accompany you on a journey that is sure to increase your faith, and draw you closer to Him!