Maybe today is just hard. You might be anxious about something. You might be thinking about the future and wondering how on earth you're going to make the decisions you need to make. Maybe your healing from something that caused you pain in your past, and you're frustrated with how long it is taking. Maybe it's a pain day. You might be angry at someone, confused, stressed out, lacking energy, tired. Whatever it is, do you feel like you're in the water, barely keeping your head above the surface? I felt some of this this morning. I woke up late with a sore throat, emotions from a dream I had last night weighing heavily on my mind, a test and speech looming up in front of me, and pressure from past hurts sitting on my heart. Bleary-eyed and willing myself not to swallow, I stumbled into the kitchen for a glass of water and a cough drop. Time to get ready for school. A whole day stretched before me. It was like I had slipped into the middle of a sea and was treading water, already tired before I had barely begun.
You might find that you're good at treading water. At least at first. You've done this for years, built up muscle against the waves. You're momentarily great at keeping yourself alive and moving. But it never lasts. No one has unlimited strength, and each person is fighting a hard battle in his or her heart.
Often, I end up treading. If you're like me, you're on autopilot to depend on your own strength, push through the stress, suppress the worries. It's not until I consciously remember God that I notice it. It's like I've been in the water alone all this time, completely blind to and unaware of the vast and mighty ship resting in the water next to me. Before, there was nothing but clouds and grey, and then suddenly, sun, and a colossal shadow across the navy ocean. It takes a lot of effort, but if I turn and swim, grab on to one of the rope ladders, and allow myself to be pulled up, I can finally rest. I collapse on the planks of the ship, completely out of breath from the physical exertion of working to stay afloat. I can relax now. I don't even have to steer the ship. I can just lay on the deck, breathe in heavy, ragged breaths, and watch the reflection of sea in the sky while I learn to be at rest.
When I asked God for help on my drive to school this morning, He answered. He taught me how to accept peace from Him. I stopped trying to swim and tread and struggle on my own and finally just climbed on the ship. I've been finding that I need to do this every morning, mainly because when I first wake up, I sometimes forget that I can claim truth.
This comparison is not supposed to be a Jesus Band-aid. Oh, you're hurting? Well let me just slap on a bandage with a picture of the Jesus-boat, and you'll be all better. This is simply an illustration, a parable of sorts, one image of the great love and protection God offers. It starts when you stop trying so hard, humbly acknowledge that you're not strong enough, and let the Lord heal, care for, and steer you.
You have always been loved, you are loved, and you will always be loved. If you have any questions about this or how it works, send me an email or set up a coffee date with me and let me tell you about the hope you can have every day.