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Living each day with purpose and determination

Who would have thought that a white-water rafting trip that I took in college (a LONG time ago!) would be such a help to me in my current job! Not that there are many similarities between my present employment and plunging into a roaring river (well, maybe…I DO run a daycare!), but it has helped me nonetheless.

I remember standing beside the river, life jacket strapped on tight, clenching my paddle with white knuckles, hot summer sun high overhead, water rushing close by. I wasn’t exactly terrified, but neither was I filled with “inner peace.”

Our guide was explaining how to sit, how to paddle, what to do to safely navigate down the river. And then he said something that has stuck with me for almost twenty years.

“Don’t sit in your raft, scared to death, afraid to paddle, just holding on. You’re safest when you are anticipating the rapids, leaning into them. You’ve got to be forceful. Go for it. Paddle with everything you’ve got. Attack that river.”

“Attack that river.”

It’s a great piece of advice.

What does it mean to attack a river? I mean, that’s kind of an abstract concept, isn’t it? (Unless you’re King Xerxes of Persia, who ordered his men to whip the sea after a storm destroyed a bridge he was attempting to build in 483 BC. True story. You know these kinds of things when you have three teenage boys in the house.)

Anyway, back to the river. Our guide was telling us, with his admonition to attack the river, to get into the raft with purpose and determination, not fear and timidity. He was telling us that we had a much better chance of succeeding (staying alive and having fun!) if we put all our strength into paddling through the white water, instead of merely hanging on and hoping we stayed afloat.

And how does this translate into running a daycare? Well, there are days when I feel like hanging on and hoping I stay afloat until quitting time. But I have discovered that if I don’t dive into each day with purpose and determination, the day does NOT go well.

On the other hand, if I enthusiastically implement plans for active play, fun learning, and some craziness with my kiddos, the day goes much better. I’m not saying all the problems magically disappear, but an enthusiastic attitude gets me through the day in a much better frame of mind!

God encourages us to have this type of attitude in Colossians 3:23, where He tells us, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.”

In other words, if you’re going to do something, do it with all your heart—for God, and not for the applause of people. Don’t live your life half-heartedly; live it to the fullest for the glory of God.

How would our lives change if we adopted the “attack the river” motto? If we lived each day with purpose and determination? If we refused to let fear control us?

Would we take steps to pursue a dream instead of merely talking about it?

Would we relentlessly seek a more intimate relationship with God?

Would we take some risks and follow a road that we know God is calling us to take?

Wherever you are in your life today—whatever river is before you—I encourage you to attack it with all you’ve got. Don’t just float down those rapids, hanging on and hoping to stay afloat. Instead, grab your paddle with purpose and determination. Refuse to let fear intimidate you.

Attack that river!