It’s that season again. The sun, fun, and re-creating of summertime is upon us.
Last year I mused a bit about the stress of vacation prep. Pre-getaway tensions are nearly inevitable. Whenever normal routine is disrupted – even for noble endeavors – the potential for conflict is ripe.
Lately I’ve been working to minimize that potential by lessening my control of minutiae. I’m going wide-angle with perspective and focusing on the mission. I’m doing lots of self-talk, convincing myself the up-front labor will yield a more deeply appreciated relaxation on the backend. But the past haunts me as I recall times of being wound-up long after the last grain of beach sand was shaken from pant pockets.
My household is presently ramping-up to some very ambitious undertakings. Once in a lifetime experiences. We are all quite excited! But juxtaposed with this euphoria is my angst of being car mechanic, route planner, camper putter-upper and downer, financial backer, house securer, and emergency fix-it guy. Those roles collectively conspire to rob my joy of being the glad captain of our adventure-seeking crew. But unlike last year’s Tour de Stress, God is coaching me toward a gentler, more patient launch.
Recently I was re-reading stories of David in First Samuel. A unique thing about Scripture is that revisiting familiar stories is an opportunity for God to reveal new facets of truth. To discover fresh bits of encouragement that were previously dull.
In my most recent review of the tale of David and Goliath, I was captured by this phrase: “As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him.” (1 Samuel 17:48 NIV) The mythic battle between D & G was drawn around a man – a giant man. A man to whom thousands cowered, and thousands more pledged allegiance. But another man – a young man – stood with defiance. Without shield or sword, he fought with five stones, a sling, and supernatural courage that welcomed confrontation with a spectacular giant.
Spectacular or not, we all face giants. Our Goliath can be a colicky baby, a frustrating job, a short-fall in the budget or a moldy pop-up camper. Some Goliaths seem small, like spilled milk. But sometimes milk is the last solider to join a platoon of daily frustrations. Before you know it, there’s a Goliath in the room.
Life’s Goliaths can sap our energy. Drain our confidence. Paralyze our engagement. Many times I’ve seen a Goliath and felt the urge to tuck-tail and run. Sometimes, I have. Ashamedly, there have been times when I was like the Israelite army who were “dismayed and greatly afraid” as they succumbed to the taunts and threats of a boisterous Goliath. (1 Samuel 17:11)
My current circumstance has brought my deep into giant country. Perhaps that’s why God graced my recent review of David and Goliath with the freshness of a first read. In it, I found new encouragement to run toward my giants. To confront them. To speak to them. To stand confidently upon the ready strength of my giant-killing God.
Who didn’t rush to fight because he thought himself the ancient near-eastern combo of Maximus, William Wallace, and Aragorn. Instead, he firmed his grasp on a leather sling, caressed a stone in his pouch, ground his feet into the dry Palestinian soil and claimed with confidence what he knew to be true about his God.
Everything I do is a reflection of where I put my confidence. A moment-by-moment testimony as to whether I’m the main character of my story, or God is.
The giants are here. They will laugh and jeer and do their best to mess with me. I’ll take some blows, for sure. Vacation prep will never be rainbows and butterflies. But as I grow to understand more about myself – and more about my God – I can enter the fray with God-backed confidence.