Adventure is a super positive word by my definition. To me it means that unknown and unique experiences are ahead, and that's exciting. While not all adventures have positive circumstances or end up with positive outcomes, every adventure leaves behind memories, lessons learned, and new paths that can be followed. So, I like adventure. But, I also like to be prepared. Just ask my poor husband who has to pack the car before our adventures! I want to know that I have the necessary items to meet any challenges we may face, tools to help navigate our way, and nourishment to give us strength to complete our jouney.
This week, I started a new adventure! One I have long wanted to take, one I have prayed for, hoped for, and worked towards. I am now a fourth grade teacher. I am overwhelmed with gratefulness for this opportunity. I'm also just a wee bit nervous. Okay, sometimes, I'm scared out of my mind! I've got the tools I need to make this a fantastic adventure. I've got kind, smart, and helpful co-workers to help me navigate my way. I've got precious, loving friends and family who provide nourishment with their encouragement and support. But when I woke up Monday morning, so excited that I couldn't sleep, I wanted something more to help sustain me. I needed the peace that only God can give.
Naturally, I checked my e-mail first. How checking my e-mail was going to give me peace, I have no idea. But, I was immediately drawn to my daily e-mail message that provides a Scripture verse for every day. I eagerly clicked on that link, hoping for a sweet reminder of how much God loves me. Or, a promise from Scripture about how He is always for me and with me. The verse: 1 Peter 1:13, "So think clearly and exercise self-control." (New Living Translation) Seriously? Not one mention of love, joy, hope, grace, or peace. (Unitl you read the next sentence - but I didn't at the time.) Really? Nothing about how God will be with me, protect me, or strengthen me. No, just a command. "Think clearly and exercise self-control." Where's the blessing in that? How does this help nourish me? I sat back in my chair, rather disgusted.
Hear me out. I just couldn't believe that God had not provided me with what I wanted. I realize that it is an automatically generated e-mail sent to thousands of people a day, and not meant just for me. But God so often uses those verses to minister right to my heart and soul. I had been convinced that when I opened the e-mail the nourishment I needed would be staring back at me. So I stopped and pondered. Was it possible that there was indeed a blessing in those words. To my surprise, there was. As I 'thought clearly', I became aware that when I choose to think clearly I have a much greater capacity to make good choices, use the talents I have been given, and perform the tasks set before me. When I choose to think clearly, I can identify and find the extra tools that I need face any challenges that may arise. When I choose to think clearly I can navigate my way so much easier. That indeed gives me strength and gives me confidence. That allows us to be at our best.
An extension of clear thinking is self-control. When I choose to exercise self-control, I avoid situations that drain my strength. When I choose to exercise self-control, I say and do only the things I know are helpful for me and those around me. When I choose to be self-controlled, I don't allow my emotions to interfere with my actions. And again, that allows me to at my best.
What a blessing. What a great reminder. One last series of sweet thoughts came to my mind as I began to return to my all important e-mails. When I think clearly, I remember that God is always with us. I remember that God is for us, not against us. And I remember just how much He loves us.