What image came to mind when you read this title? Did you picture a bottle or a piece of wood or a leaf in some body of water, slowly and silently slipping away? Or perhaps you saw yourself nestled in a black inner tube, bobbing down a lazy river; or even on a blow-up float on a serene lake with a gentle breeze guiding you across nearly calm waters.
The word drift has been on my mind lately. It conjures up images of some weak, yet inexorable force that moves me along. It is without charts or course or even a rudder to steer. This force seems benign…but is it?
I look in the rear view mirror of life and see seasons of drifting. Those were not times of outright commissions of sin or grievous acts. Believe me, I’ve had more than my fair share of those and they fit into another category. No, what I’m talking about is the slow drifting away from first loves of God and loved ones. I didn’t intend to drift, but when I looked up I was far from shore. Some unseen current led me away from where I really wanted to be.
As I ponder this I believe drifting is part of the human condition; some glitch in the way we are hard-wired. We don’t mean to, but we look up one day and realize it has been…goodness, has it been that long since I spoke with my brother? And my wife, I can’t remember when she and I got away for a weekend. Let’s not even talk about the last time we attended a conference and heard dynamic speakers inspire us and challenge us to…well, not drift away from our first love.
The Old Testament gives us a clue on how to combat drifting. At regular times throughout the year the people would cease their toils and celebrate. Their calendars were fraught with festivals whose names are foreign to our ears, but had one basic purpose, to keep them from drifting; to pull them back to safe shores and pleasant places.
What I am learning is this: to combat drifting I must be intentional and vigilant. Spontaneous escapes are wonderful, but there is a real need to plan regular times of intimate communication with the special people in my life and communion with my Lord.
Hmmm… this will take some work. Joyce…where is a calendar? We need to make some plans for next year.