Standing on the edge of the shore, I peered out into the ocean as far as my eyes could see. Way out there, the waves appeared so huge and powerful.
I sure wouldn’t want to be caught out there! Those waves would crash over me, taking me under to be drowned.
Caught up in anxious thoughts, the water suddenly splashed around my ankles. The bubbling water refreshed my tired feet, white foam tickling my toes. This felt invigorating and relaxing as my feet sunk into the wet sand. Soaking up the moment, I looked out once again at the huge waves in the distance. And that’s when it hit me.
The threatening waves that started out enormous, had gradually diminished into tame wavelets by the time they reached the shore.
What was viewed from a distance brought fear and anxiety. But when viewed up close, now appeared tame and subdued.
This image paints a powerful picture of what we do with the fears and worries of our life. When we peer into the distant, unknown future, our minds get tangled up in waves of anxiety. Things that haven’t even touched us yet threaten to pull us under, drowning our faith with fear.
What will I do IF that happens?
How will I survive IF they do such-and-such?
I will surely crumble IF this comes true.
While these enormous waves of fear build their power and momentum, we allow defeat to crash over us, drowning out every ounce of peace and joy.
Viewed from a distance, these fears lurk heavily in our mind. But if only we would wait…
Wait for those fears to lose their momentum. Wait for those threats to diminish. Wait for those worries to dissipate to wavelets.
By the time our “what ifs” reach the shore of reality, we will often realize that the very things that once threatened to drown us, are now tame ripples we splash with our feet!
The things that appear powerful are now powerless. The things that seemed overwhelming are now manageable. The things that looked impossible are now hopeful.
In past seasons of my life I have allowed the waves of fear to pull me in. I’ve allowed my thoughts to run wild with worry instead of letting God’s peace soak up my thirsty soul. I’ve learned that when I live my life out in the distant waves, I can’t possibly enjoy the abundant life back on the shore.
On the shore there is solid ground. On the shore I can stand still. On the shore I can soak up the sunlight.
Just as the bubbling water foams around my feet from the broken waves, God’s presence and peace soothe my aching soul.
So how do we live on the shore when the waves threaten to drown us? I truly believe the secret is where we focus our eyes.
I can glance at the waves in the distance, but I don’t stay there. I can get a glimpse of an approaching storm, but I don’t get caught up in it. Instead, I focus in the other direction.
The day I stood on the beach at the edge of the shore, I turned around and heard the laughter of children. Their shrieks of joy drew me in. They were picking up shells. They were running back and forth, splashing in the ripples. Some were flying kites, throwing balls and building sand castles.
They were too busy having fun to notice the huge waves in the distance. They lived in the moment, enjoying the blessings of life.
I didn’t see any child looking out and focusing on the waves that could swallow them up if they drifted out. I didn’t see any child paralyzed by fear, refusing to budge from their beach chair.
Maybe this is a picture of what it means when God tells us to become like a little child. A child playing on the shore, refusing to get pulled under by the waves of fear. A child trusting their father to take care of their every need.
Where are you today? Are you living in fear from the “what if’s”? Are you letting the waves of worry control your every move?
If that’s where you are, I urge you to turn around. Walk upon the shore.
Trust God with the things that seem to threaten you. Enjoy the abundant life He wants you to have. Surrender to Him your fears and worries you see in the distance.
I pray that the peace of His presence will refresh your tired and weary soul.