I love the beach. I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I cannot resist a good trip to the ocean.
In May, a week after my college graduation, I found myself knee deep in the Alabama gulf coast. The wind was strong, and the waves were fierce but so much fun. I waded out into the water with a bright orange float wrapped around my waist, laughing as the salt water splashed my face.
It was fun fighting the waves, jumping the frothy water and picking the perfect one to ride in to the shore. It was fun, but it was exhausting. I could hear my muscles screaming, “No, no! Not any further! We’re not as young as we used to be!” Whiny things.
I was out with a friend of mine, and though my goal was to pick the biggest wave to hop aboard, her goal was simple. Get deeper. Get behind the waves.
Now, I’m not one who has ever been terrified of the ocean, but I do have my limits. I prefer for my feet to touch. My five-foot-ten frame can go further than some, but when my toes swipe and miss when searching for the sand, my caution flag goes up. I can swim, but so can a lot of other unseen creatures beneath me.
Yet, I am always bolder when I am not alone. So, as Amber swam further out, I followed right behind her.
Suddenly, we made it. I could feel my body relax against the float as the waves turned from fierce foes to gentle rockers. I put my chin on my arms and gave in to the waves as they swayed me back and forth.
We stayed out there for a while, talking and floating and watching the waves. It occurred to me that the waves had grown calmer the further out I swam, and from way out here, the waves didn’t seem as big as when they were crashing down around me.
In those moments of silent floating, I had plenty to think about. To wonder about. To worry about, mostly. I was a recent college graduate, unemployed, and unsure of where I was going next. As anxiety threatened to take over the quiet moment, I heard a still voice inside my heart speak to me.
“There is peace in the deep.”
Traditionally, the shallow end is the safe place, and the deep end is the one to be feared. But sometimes, it can be harder to stand where our feet can touch. Wave after wave of uncertainty hits. And just when we’ve recovered from one blow, we are hit with another. Each one looks so much taller from our vantage point of looking up. Every inch of the body struggles to stand against the aggressive water pressure. And with each passing wave, we grow more exhausted.
But why do we insist of planting in the shallow end when God has called us to the deep?
We fight for our spots in the edge of the water, digging our toes in deep in the sand for one simple reason: control. Our minds lie and tell us we have it. Our society says we need it. Our fear says we won’t survive without it.
But let me tell you what’s behind the waves. Buoyancy.
Behind the waves, the water does the work. Moving to the deep end requires a new level of surrender. Here’s where the problem comes in: surrender and control cannot coexist in the will of God. He hasn’t asked for you to give Him some of your fears. He wants them all. He wants to hold every expectation, every nightmare, every hope and every dream. He wants your heart, the whole thing.
He’s waiting patiently for you to surrender your spot in the sand, move to where your feet can’t touch, and trust Him to hold you above the waves.