Since last week was Shark week, it seems only right for this week’s blog to be about sharks . . . Well kind of. I am terrified of sharks; just thinking about being in the water with them makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. When I go to the beach, you can find me laying in the sun or dipping my toes in the tide pool, not out riding the waves. My fear of sharks keeps me where it’s safe and that’s how I like it. A good friend of mine is in love with sharks and actually went diving with them recently for fun. To me it sounds like absolute torture, but she insisted it was enjoyable.
Sometimes if I am feeling really brave (and have someone with me) I will venture out past my comfort zone of the tide pool and into the deep. I love to jump and move with the rhythm of the waves, just bobbing along happy as a clam! But as soon as I feel something in that water touch me, I bail, bee lining for the shore as fast as I can, convinced that it was a shark grazing my leg with its fin just to toy with my emotions before tasting my leg! I am ridiculous, I know and even though I know its probably just a piece of seaweed or a fish swimming by, my fear wins every time.
This is just how I can be in my spiritual life. I stay in the “safe” zone—where I don’t have to be uncomfortable for Jesus. It’s easy, I know what to expect, and what I am supposed to do. There is not a lot of sacrifices to be made and I would probably be content with staying in the shallows, except I know how amazing the ‘waves’ of God can be. Every time I leave the tide pool of Christianity, I am amazed at the refreshment of the depth of grace and love. I become excited and rejuvenated at the rush and power of the current as it moves me with its strength. I wonder how I was ever satisfied in the tide pool . . . then I remember the "sharks" lurking in the shadows and once again swim for the safety of the shore.
Tide pools are where you get accustomed to the water and get a feel for the ocean before you swim out to the deep. They weren’t created for depth and can never contain the waves we were meant to experience. The sharks in our life are anything that keeps us from riding the waves of God’s plan. They can be jobs, relationships, bad habits, fear, stress, worry, depression, or whatever else we struggle with.
I am tired of swimming between the tide pool and waves. The "waves" of Jesus come with the risk of being “shark bait” but also come with experiences the "tide pools" will never be able to give. Jesus needs us in the deep, dark places where some may be fearful to swim into but that is where our faith comes in. There are too many people staying in the shallows and too few swimming with the sharks. When we venture into the unknown, it is scary to think that our boldness could lead us to pain or hurting but it is scarier to think that we could miss out on the most incredible blessing of our life by not swimming past the “safe zone”.
Each time I have decided to face my fears and enjoy the ocean’s waves, I have never regretted it. The same when I wade out of the comfort of my spiritual tide pool. I get scared that the "sharks" of my life are going to attack but I never have wished that I hadn’t been obedient to God after the fact. The sharks aren’t going to go away, so instead of being fearful we must learn how to act when they swim out of the dark shadows and into our view.
God is not going to leave us in the deep alone; He won’t abandon us when we are surrounded by the "sharks" of life, even if they get a quick bite in. He loves us and will protect us but we have to trust Him to keep us safe. We convince ourselves that we are safe on the shore or in tide pools but the only place we are truly safe is with Him. He is our lifeline, our shark cage, our life preserver.
“When the waters saw you, O God, when the waters saw you, they were afraid; indeed, the deep trembled.” Psalms 77:16
“You rule the raging of the sea; when its waves rise, you still them.” Psalms 89:9
Let our faith and trust in the Creator of the waves, overpower the fear of the sharks in our lives. God only wants things for our good but we have to be willing to swim into the deep and believe that He is able to lead us through the waters. We cannot look to the shore for the security that we can only obtain from Him.
“And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.” Psalms 9:10
So here's to a week of swimming with the sharks in order to get deeper with Jesus!
Amanda Williams is a forty-year old wife and mother of two who can still swing her pony tail and display just a tad of sass. She is also a Jesus loving girl who realizes she is nothing without the One who saved her. Amanda has two degrees specializing in serving students with special needs and is currently working in the field of Leadership Development. She is a Christian author, speaker, blogger, and publisher who loves serving beside her husband at her local place of worship, First Baptist Church of Ocala.