The surf is where I like to sit in my chair, feet in the water, listening to my kids laugh, watching them boogie board and seeing them running around with a net trying to "catch" fish. While I can't necessarily see to the bottom (it is the Atlantic Ocean...)I know what to expect there. Some soft sand, maybe a shell or two, possibly some seawood (blech!) and lots of kids. It kind of lacks commitment though. Don't you think? The surf carries with it a sense of safety; a sense of comfort. Kind of like old, broken in pajamas.
But if we stay all day in our pajamas, we can't (or really shouldn't) leave the house, right? Yes, they are comfy. Truth be told, I would stay in mine all day if it was allowed. When I come in from work, the first thing I do is change out of work clothes and into my jammies. But, being in my jammies keeps me at home...or in the safe, soothing waters of the surf.
You can have a lot of fun in the surf, but the surf is not where we are supposed to stay. I have watched many times while one of our kids looks longingly to go to deeper water where the other kids are. They want bigger waves to ride in on their boogie boards. Certain things have to happen though....
They have to know how to swim.
They have to want to be there.
And they have to have a healthy respect for the deep water.
Because, let's face it...deep water is unpredictable. Bigger fish. Bigger waves. Bigger globs of seawood.
Take this picture below. This wave is not just a pretty picture of the white caps of a big wave. This wave has my nephew Trey in it somewhere...it bounced him around pretty good.
And he did not want to go back into the water for a long while after this one. I can't say as I blame him. I was probably the one who said, "Just sit in the surf with me, bud. You don't have to go back out there."
But he did go back out. Because he was too big (in his mind) to stay in the surf.
I was challenged this week to go deeper. Not in the ocean (oh, how I wish I were still there, though), but in my walk with God. We get so content to stay in the shallow water--where the waves lap at our ankles but don't even really wobble us at all. The shallow water where my faith is not tested, challenged, ripped apart by the rough waves I have to make it through if I go out deeper. I have spent too long in the shallow water. It's time for me to learn from Trey and realize I am too old in my faith to stay in the shallow surf.
How can I know God is real when I don't give Him a chance to show me? How can I realize how strong and mighty my God is when I don't give Him the opportunity to shower me with His protection. Sure, the waves may toss me around a time or two (or ten) but if I trust what God has told me, then I know that I am resting safely in His hands no matter how many times I tumble in the big waves.
So going deeper is possible. And now I have to actively get out of my surf-loving chair and walk out to the deep water. Sure it is a little scarier, but man I am excited to learn how big my God really is!
There are some things I have to do in order to make it out passed the surf.
I have to get into God's Word and really study who He is and what He promises me.
I have to have a desire to go deeper because it takes commitment and faith.
And I have to have a healthy respect for God and His power. Not in a scary sense, but in an awe-inspiring sense, in a trust sense...I have to KNOW and claim that He loves me just as much in the deep water as He did in the surf.
I don't know what you are facing that makes you want to stay in the shallow waters of your life--maybe it is a move you did not want to make, a new job, a broken family, a death or the fear of the unknown...but I want to challenge you (as I challenge myself), let's go deeper with a mighty, awesome God.
And when He shows up out there with you, take note and then come back here and let me know what you learned about Him. I am excited to see what He is going to do with all of us when we begin to tread water way out passed the splashing surf and start to trust Him to take care of all our needs.