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Pummeled by the Waves

Jennifer Slattery

 

Do you ever feel like you’re struggling to keep your head above water? Like you’re surrounded by fog and never-ending waves? Maybe you’ve become so exhausted, you’ve begun to wonder if you’ll remain lost at sea forever.

Often, when I face a rough period, I'm reminded of my last open water swim, back when I competed in sprint triathlons. The water was cold and somehow the 500 meters across the lake seemed double to the 20-lap equivalent in the pool. There weren’t any clearly marked lines painted along the bottom. Only a blur of feet pelting me in the head and face and the occasional buoy shrouded in fog.

As wave after wave swept over me, filling my nose and mouth with murky lake water, it felt like I was fighting a losing battle. For every exhausting stroke forward, the current seemed to take me two strokes back. The harder the current pulled, the harder I kicked. Before long, my tense muscles killed my buoyancy. My legs sank, throwing my entire body off alignment ... for about two minutes. Then, muscle memory kicked in and my body relaxed, allowing me to follow the gentle ebb and flow of the current.

The result? The minute I quit fighting and striving and pounding the water, I started to relax. And a relaxed body floats much better than a tense one. Before long, I fell into a nice, smooth rhythm that carried me to shore.

I think the same holds true for our spiritual life as. We’ll hear God’s call. Maybe it’s to start a new Sunday school class,  join a ministry, or return to school after 10, 20, or 30 years out ... and all we can see are the crashing waves, threatening to hold us back.

We begin to sink under a torrent of to-do lists and expectations, forgetting that the God who told us to jump in is ready and able to carry us to the shore. The waves don’t surprise Him; the fog doesn’t daunt Him. He knows which way the wind is blowing, which way the waves will crash, and which currents will carry us the farthest. In fact, He’s got our entire journey mapped out and has assumed full responsibility to get us there.

“Then he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts” Zechariah 4:6 (ESV).

It is our choice, then, how we will respond. We can relax, surrendering to God in whatever direction He carries us, knowing that He won't let us drown. Or we can battle the waves, beating ourselves into a frenzy of exhaustion as we fight against the current.

Are you tired today? Feeling discouraged? Pause to meditate on the words of your Savior:

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NIV).

Jesus knows exactly what you are facing and how hard it is. He’s got a plan and the power to carry out. Trust in Him, and wait for Him. He won’t abandon you nor close His ears to your pleas.

Let's talk about this! Can you share a time when you felt overwhelmed and found power through surrender? What are some ways you intentionally rely on Jesus each day? Share your thoughts in the comments below or engage with me on Facebook, because we can all learn from and encourage one another!

And make sure to sign up for her free quarterly newsletter to receive short stories, recipes, devotions, and more! You can subscribe HERE. As a thank you, subscribers receive a free, 36-lesson study based on 1 Timothy (ebook, with a link to download sent in a separate email). 

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Fun news! Her latest release is current free (Kindle version) on Amazon (through Oct. 10th). Snatch a copy HERE. 

Jennifer Slattery is an author, speaker, and ministry leader passionate about helping God's children reach their full potential and live fully surrendered to Christ. Find her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com.

In her new podcast Faith Over Fear, Jennifer helps us see different areas of life where fear has a foothold, and how our identity as children of God can help us move from fear to faithful, bold living. You can listen by clicking on the link below or by visiting LifeAudio.com.