Any situation with water where I can’t see my toes, you can count me out.
I live in Florida, 15 minutes from the beach, and I hate the ocean. I get nervous when I watch TV shows about divers. I feel my heart rate climb in panic when I watch my husband play a video game that simulates deep diving and under water exploration. It’s silly, I know, but my strong dislike of water is real and its STRONG.
Why do I dislike water so much? That’s a good question, and to be honest, I have never really taken the time to think about it, but here are my thoughts as I take a little time to think about it now.
1. I don’t know what’s down/out there! There could be something dangerous or terrifying lurking just beyond my line of sight.
2. I could step on or touch something sharp and/or gross and it will cause me pain or discomfort.
3. The saltwater makes me itchy, and my skin gets all salty and white and it’s just kind of gross.
4. What if a big wave or a strong undertow pulls me deeper than I want to go and I can’t get back to shore?
5. What if I get to the point where I can’t keep my head above water and I drown?
As I look at that list, I realize a lot of what’s keeping me out of the water are negative “what ifs”.
I don’t know if you’re anything like me, but I like the things that I can see. I like being in control. I like being able to stand on my own two feet on solid ground and take myself where I want to go. I am more comfortable knowing that I hold the power of what happens next.
As I keep thinking about all of this, I realize that being in a relationship with God is a lot like my relationship with the ocean.
It’s easy to stand on the shore and look at what God’s doing in people’s lives. It’s not even that hard to dip your toes in the water and start experiencing the move of God for yourself.
But, for each of us, there comes a point where you’re going deeper and deeper, step by step, and you’re faced with a choice: “Am I going to stay where I can still touch the ground or am I going to relinquish my control for the sake of going deeper?
Life can sometimes feel like a crazy ride on the waves.
When you choose to go deeper with God and let Him have the control in your life, it can be a little scary. You’re giving Him control to lead you to a place that seems terrifying because you can’t see what will happen next. I have good news. Even if you can’t see the next step, God has already seen your future. He has prepared a way IN ADVANCE for you, and He will never leave you as you go through it.
Satan would love for you to be so terrified by the negative “what ifs” that you never actually see what will come because you allow fear to win over trust. You will stay where you are, and honestly, you’ll probably never even know what you’re missing because you always lacked the trust to go deeper.
When you decide to go deeper with God, you might experience some discomfort. It’s never comfortable to grow but if you stay who you are today, you will never become more like Christ tomorrow and experience the fullness of what He has for you. If you stay in your comfort zone, you may live your whole life never even knowing the depths of what you could have experienced in your walk with God.
That pesky salt I dislike about going into the ocean – it’s a lot like the “saltiness” I get when I spend time with God. After I’ve spent time with God, I look different. The saltiness of God rubs off on me and that allows others to see Him on and in me. That is how I can be a light to those around me, and there is no greater blessing than being used by God to bring hope, joy, love, and more to people He puts in your path!
If you never get “all in” and you only stay on the shore, you will never know the depths of God’s love, mercy, His plans for your life, or His unfailing, unrelenting, unwavering pursuit of you. Once you experience even just a bit of that, you’ll never want to go back to the shallow shores of your relationship with Him again. You won’t be afraid that you’ve gone deeper than you intended because the deeper you go, the deeper the blessing and the more fulfilling your life will be.
When God calls you to go deeper with Him, it can feel like a loss of control and that can feel just as scary as the threat of drowning. BUT the difference between going deeper in the ocean and going deeper with God is when you’re going deeper with God, He will never let you drown. He will never look away and allow you to be abandoned. Even though the waves of life may pound, He will lift your head and give you the strength you need to keep going.
It can seem terrifyingly impossible to go deeper than your feet can take you – beyond the safety of the control of your own knowledge – but the more time you spend with God, the more you’ll come to know for yourself that He is trustworthy. He is strong enough to carry you and protect you. He is trustworthy enough that you can completely fall apart in His presence, and He will rebuild you as you go deeper into His presence. Our God can and will faithfully sustain you in anything and everything that comes your way. He will NEVER let you go. When you know you can trust the One you’re following, it’s easier to take the steps and go all in with Him. It won’t be as scary to give Him and Him alone control to lead you in every decision, through every challenge, worry, joy, sorrow, and every breath of every day of your life.
When we finally reach the point where we decide to lift our feet off the ocean floor of our relationship with God, allowing Him to take us deeper than we even knew was possible, is when we will feel more alive than we’ve ever been.
The choice is always yours and God is extending the invitation to you right now.
He will only take you as deep as you’ll allow Him too. He is a gentleman. He won’t pull you under, but He will guide you through when you hold your breath and take the plunge below the surface. That’s when the real depths can be reached.
What will you choose? Will you stay in the shallows, or will you go all in with your Savior?