I'm not the best swimmer in the world.
A fact which is possibly quite evident in the way my daughter (six-years-old) somehow managed to teach herself to swim underwater, yet panics and sinks when she attempts to swim above it.
The analogy there could drown my heart in equal measures of faith and doubt.
I went to the lake last Monday.
Time to rest.
Spent several hours burning off deadline stress, work stress, single-mommy stress, emotional stress, creative stress.
Just me on a boat, with good friends and good food, floating under a periwinkle sky littered with cotton
ball clouds--and a little lizard stowaway we dubbed Marcus.
I realized something while swimming in that dirty lake water, the kind that splashes grit in your mouth and stains your toenail polish and squishes solid between your toes - I realized I am most at ease in the water when floating on my back.
A little odd for a not-so-strong swimmer. I can hold my own in the water, but it takes effort and concentration. I'm not naturally good at swimming. I was never taught professionally through lessons. I tend to get cramps really easily. It's not that I'm regulated to doggie-paddling only, but I get tired easily, and don't like being in over my head without something nearby to grab onto.
But when I'm floating on my back, I can relax. Cease striving. I can let the water do the work, and carry me with ease. I don't get tired. I don't fight cramps. I'm not spitting water out of my mouth or feeling anything unwanted between my toes.
I can let the water embrace me. Hold me up.
And I can rest.
When you float on your back, the most vulnerable part of a person - their belly - is face up. Exposed. Our stomachs hold life, our most important organs, the core of who we are as humans. It's considered the ultimate sign of trust when a dog rolls over and offers his belly for a good scratching.
Again, the analogies here threaten to drown me with equal waves of faith and doubt.
In the deep water of life - in those deep waters of deadline stress, work stress, single-mommy stress, emotional stress, creative stress - I can float.
If I stop fighting the tide...let it embrace me...carry me...
I can rest on top of it.
If I surrender my vulnerability and my exhaustion and my gifts to that overwhelming tide...
I can rest right in it.
Who controls the wind and waves?
I know Who.
Who controls the tide that laps and tugs and pulls?
I know Who.
I've got to stop fighting the stress, fighting the current of obligation and responsibility and duties, and consider it my resting place. Everything I stress over is actually a gift. Because that list would include my daughter, my finances, my job, my source of income, my friendships, my relationships, my home, my ministry - all gifts.
What am I even fighting?
It's time to stop fighting. And float.
As I said - I'm not the best swimmer in the world. A fact which is possibly quite evident in the way my daughter somehow managed to teach herself to swim underwater, yet panics and sinks when she attempts to swim above it...
When I try to rise above my obligation and responsibility and duties, when I try to master them instead of going with the flow of them, I panic and I sink.
When all along, all I had to do was float.
Let go. Relax. Trust.
The wind and waves still know His name.
And so do I.