Several years ago I attempted to learn to water ski. Some friends had the cabin and the connections – an awesome lady who was a professional water skier and a ski instructor. The plan came together with ease and I said yes – eager to try something to new.
But there was a big part of me that was afraid. I wanted to learn to ski but water skiing involves water apparently. I’m not a fan of water since a rafting trip went terribly wrong in 1997. I was a volunteer on a youth mission trip to Wyoming and we were rafting the Snake River. My raft of youth and adults hit some waves at the same time a gust of wind blew through – flipping our boat and flinging us all into the water. Despite what I knew about using my hands to guide myself to the edge of the raft, the rapids moved the boat continuously, preventing me from getting a handle and from surfacing. When I thought I had absolutely no choice but to inhale water, I popped up in an air pocket created between the raft seats. Gasping for air in that tiny space, I got my bearings. Thankfully, we all made it out fine. The only things that remain with me to this day are the memories, claustrophobia and a fear of water. Seriously – even typing this causes a physical, anxious reaction.
Occasionally, I get the nerve to try and regain confidence in the water. This water skiing trip was one of those attempts. We boated out to a quiet cove area where the only sounds were the boat motor and my rapidly beating heart. I watched as my friends plunged into the water, strapped long, slender boards to their feet, grabbed a plastic triangle and then gave a “thumbs up” to the driver. Off we went and a few moments later, my friends stood up on the water with the elegance and grace of a Victorian lady. It was sickening and inspiring.
My turn came and everyone was handling me with kid gloves. So, I put on my bravest, most confident face because I hate looking weak. But there was not one ounce of confidence in me as anxiety flooded my heart and mind and my confidence sank to the bottom of the lake. As I assumed the position that I had seen modeled and explained, I gave a shaky thumbs up. As the boat soared away and I saw the rope straightening out in front of me, my panic rose. The tug met my arms and I knew that I simply needed to let the boat do the work and make sure I was in the right position to respond. But about half way up, the water would start spraying my face and I would panic, let go and sit back down in the water. Over and over. I could never get over the hurdle of fear. I could never trust the boat to do it’s job. I was never able to enjoy the thrill of flying on water.
God wants to take us on a ride – an amazing ride that is a transformed life powered by His grace and His Spirit. God instructs us on the right posture to take and He waits for us to give a thumbs up. Then, God takes it from there. God is the one who makes transformation happen; we just need to be ready to respond and allow God to pull us up and forward. But I catch myself giving a timid thumbs up and then, when things start to happen and water starts to spray my face, fear sets in and I let go, sinking back down to the safety of the water. I can hear God cut the motor and we both bob for awhile; God being patient with me, compassionate with me. God doesn’t give up or run out on me. He waits. He prods. He asks, “Ready to try again?”
There is so much baggage that we insist on carrying around and we try to hold onto all of it and get up. We can’t. It weighs us down which is why God insists that we let it sink to the ocean floor. It causes us to fear, to give up and to let go of the rope connecting us to God. Instead, we need to let go of the fears so that we can fly. We need assume a posture of readiness, grabbing the bar with both hands and trusting God to pull us up and transform us into His vision of grace.
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. Psalm 37:3-6
What are some fears you have? What keeps you from trusting God and letting God bring forth His will in your life?