[callout]REMINDER: Only 5 DAYS LEFT to apply for my 2017 Inspired Life Mastermind! My team is neck-deep in the planning of our coaching content and face-to-face gatherings, and I’d love for YOU to be a part. But here’s the deal: The application link closes on October 15th, midnight. Need more information? Ready to apply? You can find everything you need here. Can’t wait to do more life with you! ~Michele [/callout]
Some problems can’t be tackled by trying harder, but by trying less.
I thought three grade-schoolers who loved to swim would know how to float. They’re fish, I tell you. Whenever a body of water is within reach—a lake, a swimming pool, a bathtub—they’re ripping off clothes and cannonballing in.
For a week they’d been swimming in Mimi’s pool. By 10 a.m. each day, they’d donned suits and sunscreen and dove into the deep end of the pool. At some point, they decided to give floating a try.
Look, Mommy! I’m going to float!
Piece of cake, I thought. No problem. Anyone can float.
Only they couldn’t. Not even close. They tried, I promise you they tried. But floating was the furthest thing from what actually happened. Instead, they sank. Like rocks. To the bottom of the pool.
So I climbed into the water to demonstrate.
“Lean back, like this.”
I allowed my body to fall backwards, to rest on the surface of the water. I inhaled, exhaled, closed my eyes and felt the weight of the water pushing against the backs of my legs, my waist, my shoulders, my head.
A glorious slice of heaven in the center of Mimi’s swimming pool.
The sun warmed my face as the water buffered my ears, blocking out the sounds of life. My heart settled, my mind calmed … and I nearly forgot the children watching and waiting for me to resurface.
I popped back up.
“See?” I shrugged. “It’s easy. All you have to do is float.”
With bobbing heads and smiles all around, they leaned back into the water, determined to follow my lead.
Instead they sank. Hard and fast.
I tried again.
“Relax,” I told them. I must’ve said that word a dozen times. “Just relax. Let the water do its job. Lay back like you’re laying on your bed.”
Again smiling faces and nodding heads. Certainly they understood.
They leaned back.
This time, however, I watched. A doctor determined to diagnose. And this is what I saw:
Every muscle was clenched. Every limb taut and straight. There was no resting or relaxing or weightlessness. Instead, these children of mine exerted tremendous effort to force the float, to take control and make it happen.
As a result, floating alluded them.
I spent a solid hour that day trying to teach my kids to float. I used every trick, showed them countless times what to do—or not do, as it were. In spite of my best efforts, floating never happened. It took me a while, but I finally figured out why:
They didn’t trust the water. They only trusted themselves.
But floating isn’t a product of human effort; it’s the result of the water’s strength.
And that’s when a lesson in the pool became a hardcore lesson for my heart.
I don’t know how to float either. In the pool? Yes. In life? No. I know how to work hard, get things done, fix problems and arm-wrestle solutions. I know how to be in control, take charge and make things happen.
But to lean full back and trust God’s sovereignty to hold?
Not so much.
Sure, I believe the water is strong. I talk about it, play in it, enjoy it even. But too many times I don’t trust it enough to lean back, relinquish control, and let it carry me.
Instead, I smile, nod and then clench every muscle in my body trying to be my own savior.
As a result, I start to sink.
For example, I woke up this morning at 4:00 am. I should’ve gone back to sleep for another hour. Instead, I started mulling about a couple unresolved and uncomfortable situations. I turned them around in my head, imagining all the what-ifs and if-onlys:
What if I make the wrong choice, do the wrong thing?
What about that upcoming appointment? What if it doesn’t go well?
I’m so unqualified. What am I doing?
By 4:45 am, it was clear sleep wasn’t going to happen. Then I remembered the pool. My sinking children. And me.
Relax, Michele. Let God lead. His strength will not fail.
This is the terrifying glory of the Sovereignty of God. When faith becomes less a outward demonstration and more a inner disposition. When everything in you wants to rely on your own strength and faith requires you to rely on His. Faith is believing He is stronger than your greatest strength, more wise that your greatest wisdom. And that no amount of human effort will outmatch the strength of a trustworthy God.
Whatever it is that has you fighting sleep at four o’clock in the morning, it does not require more of your work and worry and wrestling. But it does require more of your faith. The real kind. The kind that knows how to float.
It won’t be easy, you know. This oft-hard life is a vast expanse of water that threatens to make you drown.
I know, I know. Bad things do sometimes happen.
But the sovereignty of God can be trusted. His love will not give way, give out, or give up.
Relax. Lean back. All you need to do is float.
[Image Copyright: pressmaster / 123RF Stock Photo]