The ocean was picture perfect. Shades of blue swept beautifully as the clash of water hitting land reverberated. My toes sunk in the softness of the sand as I walked barefoot, staring at the sun as it began its slumber with a lovely pink hue.
What a sight to behold in beautiful Maine.
I could feel the ocean calling me. With open arms it offered an invitation to jump in and experience the beauty for myself. I walked closer and began to feel the coolness of the water. It slowly swept over me, forcing me to cross my arms to keep warm. My thoughts lingered on its charm until a gust of wind brushed by, sending chills from my toes up to the rest of my body.
I stepped back with one foot. Not today.
I stepped back with the other. Next time.
I walked away, leaving behind a trail of footprints. I dared not enter; it was too cold for this southern girl.
I’ve always enjoyed the breathtaking beauty of the ocean, but I’ve never been one to swim very far. Sure, I jump in occasionally, but I stay in the shallow end. When the waves start to pull me out, I fight them and swim closer to land.
My feet always touch the ground, if not, I get a little fearful because it’s then when I feel like the waves have control over me, and they can choose whether to toss me about deeper or sweep me up further.
I don’t like it when I’m not in control. I don’t like it one bit.
I felt for a while that God was asking me to surrender. Surrender to Him. His plan. I thought I had, but He was making it clear I hadn’t.
I still wanted to control my life. The one I planned for myself was taking a new direction I didn’t anticipate. He was calling me deeper, a large contrast from the still waters I much enjoyed.
Surrendering is not easy. I found that each time I felt His gentle hand pulling me into the waters of the unknown, I fought with flailing hands. I felt as if the waves were pulling me under as they pulled me further. Learning to surrender in uncharted waters felt very much like I was learning how to float.
Less fighting – more abiding.
Less resisting – more resting.
And while I didn’t know where I was headed I knew the One who guided me. As I drifted into unknown waters, I said goodbye to the shallow end – and welcomed the deep end.
It was there – in the deep end – when I realized that is where you drift into God’s greater plan for your life. My friend – the deep end – that’s the place where life fully thrives.
Because in shallow waters – you don’t know what it’s like to swim in faith and ride the waves with trust. You don’t get to thoroughly experience the peace that comes in the storm and the anchor of hope that keeps you from sinking.
You know what I came to understand when I stopped fighting God and yielded to His plan? That while He calls you to the deep end, in what sometimes feels like murky waters, He’ll bring you back to dry land, to a place in life you wouldn’t have arrived at had you not followed.
And He’ll keep there for a while until He calls you out again – deeper.
But when you find yourself at this new place – enjoy it. Stick your toes in the sand, bask in the sunlight, dance in the rain – and remember.
Remember that when fear said you would sink – you didn’t. And when fear said you would never make it to shore – you did. Yes, you made it. And you arrived with a story to tell.
After a couple of days, I kissed Maine goodbye, waved farewell to the crystal-clear waters and drove back with family, all the while wondering what would have happened had I chosen to jump into the ocean like the others who had done so. I left that trip wanting to experience something more. That’s what happens when we choose shallow over deep.
The shallow end is not where we belong. God calls us to a life of deep meaning, and you can’t find that treading water.
Let’s stop wading in the shallow and follow God into the deep end. Take the plunge and see where He leads you.
“He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them—he remains faithful forever.” (Psalm 146:6, NIV)
I’m tired of shallow living. Take me deeper. I want to live a life that calls me away from the known and into the unknown. Help me to fully surrender to the beautiful plan You have for me. And through it, may I glorify You in all I do.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.