Things Have Got to Be Different This Year
"When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, 'Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.' Simon answered, 'Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.' When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break." Luke 5:4-6 (NIV)
"Something's got to change!"
Have you ever said that in January? I sure have.
It's usually when I'm frustrated with myself for something I'm not doing. For example, my broken-record complaints focus on the same three things: losing weight, better managing my work load, and spending more time with people I love.
It's not for lack of trying my situations don't change; I work hard. But recently it dawned on me that I keep trying the same things in varying measures. I tried adding five minutes to my elliptical routine, and spent more time on my emails. Results: clothes still tight, inbox still overflowing. Time with family? I'm not sure more trips to the grocery store together qualify.
The problem isn't my effort; it's my approach. Something has to change.
There's a story in the Bible where Jesus told a disciple to change his approach. It happened at the very beginning of Jesus' ministry, as He was identifying and calling His disciples.
In Luke 5, Jesus borrowed the boat of the fisherman called Simon Peter to teach the people on the shore. When He finished teaching, Jesus told Simon to put the boat in deep water and let down the nets.
Simon surely was skeptical. Can't you see him raising his eyebrows as he looks at Jesus then at the water? He explains he's been fishing all night and hasn't caught anything. What he doesn't say, but might have thought is: Day isn't the best time to fish. Besides, all these people on the shore have probably scared them away. And no disrespect intended Jesus, but you are a carpenter/preacher—I am a fisherman. I might know a little something about fishing.
But to Simon's credit, he obeys Jesus' unusual request to fish differently. The Scripture records they caught so many fish the nets began to break.
This story challenges my status quo. It's a call to change my approach to problem solving. If I want things to be different this year, I must do things differently.
For me, like Simon Peter, this starts with listening to and obeying the voice of Jesus for new directions.
This is hard for a routine-loving girl like me. I'm not a fan of different because it often feels uncomfortable. I prefer to keep things the way they are... except that doesn't always work.
So I prayed about these three areas in my life, and asked God to show me a fresh approach for each. Being a faithful God, He gave me some options to shake up my routines.
- Rather than go to the gym at night and stick with the elliptical machine, He asked me to go in the morning and incorporate strength training. So I signed up for a morning exercise class at church.
- Rather than try to manage my emails by spending more time on them, I'm unsubscribing to every list. I'll visit websites and blogs on my schedule.
- Realizing I've become too inward focused, I've made a list of special days, activities, and places I want to go where I can invite others to join me.
That day on the lake, Jesus invited Simon Peter to go into the deep waters—a place Simon had been many times before. But under Jesus' direction and with a new approach, Simon saw amazing results.
Can the same be true for me? For you? As we start 2014, may we become women who listen for the voice of Jesus as He speaks new ways into old habits. May we raise our faces to the fresh wind of the Holy Spirit. And may we trust Jesus as He takes us in to deep waters, where under His direction, we'll see amazing results.
Heavenly Father, thank You for being a God of new things. You have called me in to new life with You, and Your ways are higher than mine. Help me see those areas of my life that need a breath of the newness of Your Spirit. I want to be a woman who sets aside her comfort and routine to fish in deep waters with You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
What problem have you been trying to solve in your life by using the same approach as always?
Pray and ask God to show you one thing you can do differently starting today.
Luke 6:46, "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?" (NIV)