I was reading something today that used the image of the ocean to depict the journey of life. It struck a cord with me.
When we’re at the beach we typically wade into the shallow end, hover a little, or in my case a long time, before diving into deeper waters. My boys, Dan and Jake, are very quick to get into the deep – they’re confident swimmers and love the thrill of being at the mercy of such power and conquering it when they successfully ride a wave. Even being dumped is an exhilarating sensation: you had a go and the power of the surf gotcha this time. Oh well, let’s have another go and see who wins out. Riding a wave into the shoreline is a fantastic feeling being in unison with nature for a few seconds.
Ten years ago I ventured into the deep and thrashed around for a while, as I wrote my novel. I got tired of the battle and needing money, took the easy option to swum back into the shallows. And stayed there for almost five years whilst pining for the deep. Having made some great progress spiritually, in my relationships and with the manuscript, I retreated. I soon got sucked back into the whirlpool of work, my workaholic tendencies resumed and my heart retracted.
Don’t get me wrong, there were some real enjoyable moments, doing what you’re good at is fun and comforting, and working with some great people. But the ache of the deep wouldn’t leave me.
Soon the monotony of swimming laps along the shoreline became boring, moments of exhilaration of achievement were sparse. More significantly, my heart waned, no longer charged by the wonder of being terrified and elated simultaneously.
Circumstances were forced on me – thanks God.
I believe I’m now being called into the deep. To swim way out beyond anywhere I’ve ever swum. To follow my heart and, to trust.
Yes, I’m bound to take in water and maybe I’ll go close to drowning but it’s what I got to do. To satisfy my yearning. To fill my void.
To be obedient.
I take great comfort from God’s words to Joshua as he set out to take back the Promised Land. “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5)
How do you practice obedience? And what tips do you have for those moments when you’re taking in water, self-doubt and sheer panic set in? It’s too late to turn back; you’re in too deep.