(note: I do not have a class-prescribed journal entry for you all this week, as the topic we wrote about was not the stories that I want to be in the habit of posting. so, instead, just some thoughts that I’ve been having lately and a glimpse into my life!)
It’s a funny word, and one that automatically puts an image in our heads that we don’t want there.
If you are anything like me, you are picturing a large body of water, arms thrashing above the surface, and maybe even someone crashing into the water from the side to make a courageous rescue.
In the literal sense of the word, this is what drowning means and can look like.
However, I’m thinking of a different kind of drowning.
My “drowning” has nothing to do with water, or lifeguards, or swimming.
My drowning has to do with life itself.
I am in the middle of some of the busiest weeks that I have had: homework and appointments and meetings and groups and future decisions are weighing heavy on my mind. I don’t know the last time I had a good nights sleep, or the time where I had a day where I was not packed full of things to do (or had an empty day packed full of the homework I couldn’t do the other days).
I realize that this is the type of thing that I was warned about when I decided that signing up for 19 credits of graduate school credits was a good idea. I realize that I could have cut some things out months ago that would make times like this a little more bearable. I realize that there are a lot of things still going right, but they are easily lost in the busy and the chaos.
Isn’t this how things often go with us humans though? We take and take and take and go and go and go and then, suddenly, we realize that we are in the middle of something much deeper and bigger and greater than we are, and we can’t handle it. We panic and flail and before we know it, we are drowning. Maybe in water…but more often than not, it’s in something else.
Work. Family. Friends. Obligations. School. Perfectionism. Dreams. Projects. Helping. Giving. Taking. Running. Wandering.
We are often drowning, and before we realize it, it’s too late. We’ve been talking about addictions in one of my classes recently, and I think that addictions are a lot more prevalent and pervasive than we think they are. Addictions can be to any of the things named above and millions more. I know I have plenty of them in my own life, and I know that more often than not, they can push me into the deep end before I ever know what’s going on.
I’m sure that some of you can relate to this. I don’t know what is happening in each individual reading this (but thank you for reading anyways), but I can promise you that there is an addiction and a feeling of drowning somewhere close by. It may be you, it may be a friend or family member or co-worker, but it is close and it is very real. We are never far from drowning.
One of my favorite characters in the Bible, Peter, found himself to be not far from drowning either. In Matthew 14, we read about Jesus taking the disciples out in a boat and then WALKING ON THE WATER. If you don’t know this story, seriously, look it up – talk about mind blowing! But what is even crazier is what happens next: He tells Peter, one of the disciples to get out of the boat and walk over to Him. ON THE WATER. And my favorite part? PETER DOES IT.
….well, kind of. Peter tries. He gets out of the boat and starts moving. I can only imagine the exhilaration and adrenaline and fear that was rushing through him, and the heart pounding realization of “What in the world is happening right now?!”.
Then he gets scared. He realizes where he is and how far away the boat is and he takes his eyes of of Jesus. Matthew 14:30, “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
He got scared. He realized what he was in the middle of and panicked. Sound familiar?
But what comes next is the best part of the story. Check out verse 31: “Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said,“why did you doubt?”
That’s it. Jesus caught him.
I forget, easily, in the midst of busy times like this that I’m following the same Jesus that caught Peter. I forget that I just need to keep my eyes on HIM and that He will provide the way through the deepest of waters and the strongest of winds. I forget that, more often than not, I’m in over my head because I’m panicking and making more of a mess than needed. I forget that the One who has brought me safe thus far will continue to guide me home, and that all I need to do is focus in on Him.
So, I don’t know where you are tonight. Or this morning. Or in the grand scheme of life. But, if you are feeling the weight of the water and the wind and the waves like I am, whatever form they are taking, know this:
We have a Guide who walks on water. Who made the water. And who will catch you whenever you feel like you are slipping or falling or even drowning.
Because that’s just what He does for the people that He loves.