I love adventures. So when my brother invited me to go kayaking with him on the Arkansas River, there was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity. But because I hadn’t kayaked in a while, I didn’t feel very confident about going on this adventure with my brother.
On the morning of our planned day on the river, I started to feel sick to my stomach. I was nervous, and I felt like my mind was clouded by fear. I couldn’t seem to think straight because of all the negative thoughts that were crowding in. I knew I had to do something to regain my focus and confidence.
In stressful situations, turning to prayer helps me tremendously. In every difficult situation I’ve encountered, I’ve always been able to rely on God and trust in God’s care, just like I learned to do in Christian Science Sunday School. I’ve experienced the fact that I can trust God to protect me, because God creates only good, so I must always be safe.
I felt like my mind was clouded by fear.
As we were driving to the put-in location where we would launch our kayaks, I was praying, and I remembered the spiritual definition of river from the Glossary of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “Channel of thought.
“When smooth and unobstructed, it typifies the course of Truth; but muddy, foaming, and dashing, it is a type of error” (Mary Baker Eddy, p. 593 ).
This passage helped me realize that I could shift the way I was thinking. I needed to clear my thought of anything “muddy . . . and dashing,” including fear and nervousness, and allow my thoughts to instead be smooth, unobstructed, and filled with good ideas from God.
While we were paddling, I flipped out of my kayak once and had to swim down the river for a bit while my brother chased down my kayak. After that, I realized I really was completely capable of safely getting out of my kayak if I flipped again, but I still wasn’t convinced I could make it through the larger rapids. So, we decided to “take out” before we hit that section.
My brother and I spent a little time discussing where my abilities come from. Strength and courage don’t come from me; they come from God, who is my source. And God is giving me the ability to express those qualities, as well as skill, joy in everything that I challenge myself to do, and trust in His protection.
God is giving me the ability to express strength and courage, as well as skill, joy in everything that I challenge myself to do, and trust in His protection.
We decided to continue our adventure by going down another portion of the river, and this time our dad and two of my brother’s friends joined us. I felt so surrounded by love—from God and from the people there with me. I was also feeling more confident and was able to truly enjoy going through some easier rapids and just being on the river. Finally, my thoughts weren’t muddied anymore by anything fearful but were smooth—peaceful.
Even though I flipped one more time, I was able to regain the calm and confidence I had found before. And I was grateful for all the ways I was reminded of God’s presence while I paddled down the river.
This experience taught me how prayer can help us find a solid, spiritually based calm, even when we’re confronted with “foaming, and dashing” thoughts. I look forward to taking this new understanding into my next adventure!