Are you feeling tossed around, caught in the edge of a rough surf in life?
What is causing you to feel that way?
What can be done about it?
There are many days when my life as mother of 5 little kids feels just that way - noisy, busy, exhausting, relentless, unending, and messy. The "waves" never end. The house continues to be a mess no matter how many hours I spend cleaning it. The kids will still whine, or cry, or scream, or fight tomorrow no matter how many times we've dealt with the same issues before. There will still be meals that need to be cooked, laundry that needs to be washed, boo-boos that need to be kissed, fights that need to be mediated, and on and on the waves continue. I keep getting frustrated and am exhausted.
Will it ever end? Is there really an end to the craziness of mothering?
For others of you, it may not be about mothering. Your "waves" are different. Each day you are buffeted by fears, insecurities, anger, bitterness, disappointment, rejection, addictions and more.
When will it end? Is there really an end to all this?
What are your choices?
You could get out of the water - go back on dry land. But at some point you will most likely have to go back in (especially if you are a mother. You can't just walk away . . . though I know you are tempted some times! I know I wanted to get on a plane this weekend and just take off for a week!). But how do you keep from getting stuck in the surf?
If your "waves" are due to fears, anger, addictions, etc - again - you could get out of the water. But it's not the water that is the problem. It is the land. . . . . . it is "the world" around us.
God calls us to go deep with him . . . . deep out in the water. The world is "calling" us to come closer to land. There's a battle going on - between the water and the land. It's in the in between stage, at the shoreline, in the "shallow" water where the bruises, exhaustion and struggling occurs.
Yes, it seems fun on land . . . . parties, activities, you get to stay dry and warm and you don't have to get wet. But after awhile, the heat is oppressive, some of your friends have gone home and you are getting quite thirsty. The water starts to look more appealing than it did before. You decide to try it out - to test it and see if it is as cool and refreshing as some people have told you. You can see (or at least hear) people way out there - calling to you - telling you how wonderful it is. So you dip your foot in.
It does feel refreshing. The sound of the waves is enticing. You put another foot in. Oh, that feels good. You reach down to scoop up some water and take a sip of the fresh water (not salty). It's ok. It's cold and it does quench your thirst, but you get a little sand in your mouth. That's not what you really want, but it will do for now. You decide to go out a little deeper.
Now the waves are starting to crash right against your legs. At first it's fun - it's exhilarating. You giggle and invite more people to join you. See - it's not so bad. It's better than you thought. But as you go deeper, you realize you are getting further from the shore. That scares you a bit. It's unfamiliar. It's a bit scary. You are not sure you want your feet to leave the comfort of the sand below. So you decide to have the best of both worlds - the water and the land. You stay in the surf. This is awesome! You can do both - enjoy the land and the water! Who would want anything else?!
You ride a few waves onto land and go back out again. You stay and play and talk with others in the surf. You all seem to be having fun and enjoying yourselves. But a wind blows, a storm comes and the waves get a little bigger. To keep from losing your footing on the sand and getting into water over your head, you move back into shore a little bit. But doing this seems to cause the waves to only crash harder against your body - not just your legs. You are being tossed and turned and beat up with each crash of water. The white foam blocks out your view of the bottom, and you can't see the land beneath you. You are getting exhausted, and are tired of feeling this way. The water isn't as fun as you first thought. You are ready to get out.
You talk with your friends in the surf and many of them agree that this just isn't "right" - it doesn't "feel" or "look" right - this can't be good. Your friends on land urge you to come back out of the water. They say you look foolish trying to stay standing amongst all the waves. Why should you have to put up with this - with these waves attempting to beat you down every chance they get?
They weren't this big when you got in? Why did they have to change? If only the storm hadn't come. If only the wind hadn't picked up. Then the waves would be tolerable and comfortable. Then you could enjoy the shallow water of the surf. You might have even been able to find a seashell or two in the crystal clear water you had originally been wading in. But not now. You've had it. You want out.
So out you go. Some of your friends join you. You all vow to never go back into the water again. It's not worth it. Why would you want to get beat up and feel exhausted all the time when you could be partying and enjoying the warmth of the sand with your friends - not having to worry about whether the waves are getting bigger or smaller. I'm sure someone will come along to bring refreshments at some point. There's got to be other ways to get refreshed.
As you look back out to the water, you see a few of your friends that didn't return with you. In fact, they are not even staying in the surf. They are, unbelievably, heading out into the deeper water. Are they crazy? Why would they ever want to put themselves into a position where they couldn't touch land - where they had to let go and just float . . . . or possibly drown?! They might not ever be able to get back to land and enjoy it ever again! You are so glad you didn't join them. You think to yourself - "They are so foolish! They will find out soon just how stupid a decision they made! Look at them. They can't even touch the ground anymore! I'm glad I'm not out there with them."
You turn your back and continue on, trying to enjoy the land as the sun beats down, your skin perspires, and you realize that there really is no substitution to refresh you like the water did. But you have made up your mind to never turn around again to even look at the water. And so you don't.
The others that decided to take the chance and go deeper are suddenly surprised. They were afraid to leave the land just like you were. But they continued to listen to the urgings and encouragement of the others that were farther out in the water. They took a step of faith and moved out deeper. The waves got bigger. They were scared, but they learned how to dive under some of the waves to keep from being tossed around so much. "Wow. That was easier", they thought. Soon they didn't even have to dive under. The got to a point where they could easily float over them. They laid back and looked up to the sky and just floated - enjoying the gently rocking of the waves - the same powerful waves that were pummeling them at the shoreline. The same power, but less of a threat now. In fact, the waves were actually enjoyable and bringing a sense of peace to their lives. Everyone out in the deep was floating peacefully and had no fear. Occasionally they dove down deep into the crystal clear water and saw wonders they never knew existed - things they couldn't see from land or even the shallow shore. They drank from this water, and realized that there was no sand causing a gritty taste in their mouth. It was pure, refreshing, life-giving, and peaceful.
The people in the deep realize that it wasn't really the water that was the threat to them - that was causing them to be tossed to and fro. It was the land. When the water hit the land, it caused friction - it caused the waves to rear their heads and come crashing down. Any little storm or wind in life only intensified the waves. But it still wasn't the water's fault. It was the land's. But that doesn't mean the land is more powerful than the water. In fact, the opposite is true.
The water is powerful. Despite it's cool, refreshing appearance, relaxing sounds, and peaceful qualities, the same water can dig caverns into rock, erode thousands of miles of sand away, knock down tall buildings, and capsize boats. It is not something to be taken lightly. But when you know the man who controls it, you do not have to be afraid.
Yes - I am not talking about really playing in the surf today. I am talking about your walk with the Lord, with your struggles in life, and your view of Christianity, religion or the church.
If you are having issues that keep beating you down - take notice of where you have your feet planted? Are you still touching the land (the "world")? Are you just testing the water? Or have you taken that step of faith to follow God's gentle calling to come deeper with Him? It seems scary. The waves seem bigger. How will you ever get back to land?
Trust me - trust someone who has gone out into the waves and learned how to dive under and then eventually float on top of them. Trust someone who has tasted the unsatisfying refreshments of the world, the semi-refreshing sips of the surf, and the fully quenching wonders of the deep.
Storms and waves are much easier to handle in the deep, next to my Savior, than in the surf with the other surfers.
What will your choice be?
Go DEEP!! I don't think you will ever want to go back to the land again!
The Offer of Life or DeathDeut. 30: 11-19 Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, "Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?" Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, "Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?" No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.
See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to LOVE the LORD your God, to WALK in his ways, and to KEEP his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.
But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.
This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the LORD your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the LORD is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.