“Use what talents you possess: the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.”
(Henry Van Dyke)
A friend of mine posted a quote a couple of weeks ago that I can’t seem to get out of my mind:
“Promise me you will not spend so much time treading water and trying to keep your head above the waves, that you forget, truly forget….how much you have always loved to swim.”
(Tyler Knott Gregson)
Once we have discovered how we are going to pursue God’s purpose for our lives, it’s easy to be so involved in the busy-ness and working hard to make our dream come true.
It’s sort of like planning a wedding. There is so much to do, so much expected – both from yourself and others. You get caught up in getting things done in minute detail. And often what is supposed to be a fun process for a wonderful and intimate event winds up being about treading the water and keeping your head above the waves. For a moment you may lose sight of the fact that you chose to do this and that the future does not depend on the furiousness of the preparation. Hopefully you slow down, readjust priorities, and get a fresh perspective. And start to enjoy the swim again.
When we’re pursuing our purpose the flood gates open. Everything is new and exciting and the opportunities seem limitless. We love it. Then as the hard work seems to get harder, or we choose to move in a particular direction and run into a roadblock, or have a major breakthrough that leads to brick wall… then we don’t love it so much anymore. There are days when we push and push and push but have nothing to show for the effort.
So what do we do in all our human wisdom? Tread the water. Press in harder. Work our fingers to the bone. Criticize ourselves for not living up to our expectations. Start to blame someone/something else for bogging us down. Get angry at God for not giving us what He promised. And soon all we’re doing is protecting and defending ourselves. We forget how much we “love to swim.”
Sure there are plenty of Bible verses that talk about fighting the good fight (swimming the good swim?) and being strong and pressing forward. But there are also plenty that tell us to be still, and find our strength in quietness, and have peace and rest in God.
The trick is to know, when you are in over your head, whether to press in and fight or to pull back for a while. Want to know my easy 3-step method for determining this? I don’t have one. I wish I did. However, what I am in the process of learning is that when I become fixated on “the thing” that needs to get done and I think that accomplishing it is my only hope of realizing my purpose… then I am off track. I wish that I could recognize it before I’m actually drifting… but I probably never will. And that’s okay. Achieving perfection or arriving in splendor at my purpose is not what it’s all about. It’s about making my way through the waves and the strong currents and enjoying the challenges of the swim before I reach the shore. Come on in with me, the water’s fine!