So I have a confession to make…I’m not very good at floating. You know, like in the water.
See, the thing about floating is that it takes a total commitment to the water. And to be honest, I’m not sure I’m ready to make that kind of commitment. To float effectively, we have to surrender to what we know about the water, to trust that it will hold us up.
But like I said, I’m not very good at floating. I always have this urge to lift my head up and see what’s going on while I’m trying to float. I just want to make sure that everything’s still okay, you know - that I’m still above the water - that I’m not sinking. Ironically, when I try to look around, that’s when I begin to sink. And sinking makes me, well, panic. If I continue to sink, I could drown, or maybe get water in my ears and never be able to get it out.
So I start to move my arms, thrashing at the water in an attempt to counter-act this feeling of sinking. But the more I thrash, the more I sink, until eventually I’m straight up and down in the deep end, frantically treading water just to keep my head above the surface.
My failed attempts at floating do have their advantages though. You’ve never seen someone doggy-paddle the way I doggy-paddle. If they existed, I would win the tournaments.
When floating doesn’t work out, you better have a back up plan. And for me, it’s treading water. Sure, it’s a lot more work than floating. It takes a whole lot of time and energy, but it offers me something that floating can’t – control. When I’m treading water, I can control my position in the water. And if I work hard enough, I’ll always be able to keep my head just above the surface.
But what I’ve found is, treading water is no way to live your life. It leaves us exhausted and afraid, scared that we won’t be able to stay above water for much longer. Every day we feel a little heavier, our muscles a little weaker.
...treading water is no way to live your life. It leaves us exhausted and afraid, scared that we won’t be able to stay above water for much longer.
And what we fail to realize is, the very water we are fighting with, is the same water that has the ability to support us. After all of our striving on our own, all the thrashing around, all the exhaustion and fear, we realize that all we had to do was lie on our backs. We start to see that relief is found in giving up, that freedom is found in surrender.
The thing about God is, He knows all this stuff about us. He knows that we’d rather have control - that we’d like to stay afloat on our own. And He also knows how exhausted and afraid we are as a result. But the cool thing is, He still offers an invitation, every day. Each day He offers relief from the exhaustion, freedom from the panic. And all we have to do is lie on our backs, with our tired arms and legs extended, with our confused eyes pointed toward the sky, and feel the support we’ve been so desperately searching for.
When we finally stop fighting the water, and frantically looking around for some shred of control, we realize that we’re not sinking after all. That the arms of the Father have been there waiting, hoping that we would give up. Hoping we would one day trust Him, and relax in the support of His strong embrace.
He offers us something much better than just treading water, something more than frantically trying to keep our heads above the surface. And all we have to do is give up. There’s freedom in floating, He’s strong enough to hold us.