The Surface will Distract You
I have NEVER been afraid of the ocean; I think it is mesmerizing. There is nowhere on the planet that I feel closer to God than in the ocean. Maybe it’s because of the happy memories that I have of going to the beach as a child, or maybe because of the warmth and calming feeling that you feel when you’re near it. But I think it has more to do with the unknown.
Think about how HUGE the ocean is and how much we do know about it… then think about the fact that 95% of the ocean is still unexplored. People are afraid of the ocean because they can’t always see what’s around them or what could happen next. However, that’s exactly why I love it. The ocean gives me a physical example of faith and how I feel about it in my own life.
You never know what’s around the next corner of your life. You never know what is sneaking up on you, when the next wave will hit, when the next storm is coming, or what kind of damage you might see from it in the future.
I’ve been knocked down by some pretty big waves in my past encounters with the ocean. I’ve been pulled under and pushed ashore by waves and currents. Do you know what the secret to avoiding a big wave is? Dive into it! You don’t fight it. You don’t pretend like it doesn’t exist. You accept the fact that you’re going to have to get wet and dive into the problem head first.
I had the incredible experience of becoming scuba certified on Christmas in Montego Bay, Jamaica. This has been a long-time bucket-list item for me. First, we practiced in the pool; we learned all the skills, how to use the equipment, what to do if something goes wrong. Afterward, I was confident and ready to experience a true dive.
Once we were on the boat and ready to head out to our first dive, our instructor told us “When you jump off of the boat, get ready to go under as soon as possible – because when the waters are rough, the surface will distract you.” I didn’t understand what he meant exactly. But I wasn’t afraid of the ocean, so I didn’t pay the comment any attention.
When I jumped off of the boat and into the rough water, I realized that my goggles were not tight enough. Water was leaking into them through the sides. I had to tread water on the surface in order to get them fixed… and this is when I understood his comment.
I’m not even sure that my words will be able to describe the feeling that I had during this time. The waves around me caused me to feel like I was being suffocated by my own breathing. I was trying so hard to stay on top of the water that my own anxiety over the situation and heavy breathing was actually causing me to not be able to breathe.
All I heard during this experience was “the surface will distract you – breathe normally and go under.” I thought to myself, “Are you crazy? I’m not going underwater in this kind of situation. I’m ready to just get back on the boat.” However, I was not about to chicken-out on diving on Christmas Day in Jamaica…. so I went under. And guess what? Everything stopped.
When you are completely underwater, you can’t tell how rough the surface is. When you face your problems head-on, especially when you are scared, frustrated, ready to quit or give-in… eventually all of the noise will fade away. Eventually, you will find the strength and peace to fully enjoy what you worked so hard to accomplish. The surface of a situation doesn’t always tell you the whole truth, and it certainly doesn’t show you what’s really underneath.
Remember when I said I wasn’t afraid of the ocean? Well, I had never been afraid until that particular experience. So the point of me mentioning that is this: sometimes even the confident people who know better struggle too. We all have ups and downs in our lives. There will come a time when each and every one of us is faced with some kind of wave that we weren’t expecting. It doesn’t matter how prepared you thought you were, sometimes life is just going to knock you down.
But even when you are faced with a sea of problems rushing in to suffocate you, don’t be afraid to go under. Dive into the problems that life throws at you. Show the world what you are made of. But most importantly, call out to Jesus to help you through it. Because at the end of the day, your own strength will never be enough to dive through a lifetime of waves. But if you let God guide you into and through the waves that come at you… then you can never truly be defeated.
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Until next time,