Fear. Humiliation. Loneliness. Rejection. Failure.
Throughout my life, I’ve really had to fight to not let these feelings mold me into a person I’d never want to become. Honestly, life can feel like I’m on a surfboard sometimes trying to learn how to avoid the Waves of Rejection and the Sharks of Loneliness and I’m doing this all while not even knowing how to swim. (**EDIT: I actually do know how to swim but this is an analogy, people).
I was sitting poolside this afternoon (tough life, I know) thinking about this coming school year and how much I naturally just want to be afraid. While I was zoning off and wondering about the coming next few days, I noticed a little ant crawling beside me. It was just crawling back and forth on the edge of my pool totally unaware of the huge, scary body of water next to it. This tiny thing could be swept up by some random gust of wind and be gone forever. Yet it was totally unaware and unafraid. I imagined myself to be the ant. Just a little, tiny human in a big, giant world, yet slightly more aware and definitely more afraid. Then my gaze moved from this ant to my yard located just across from my pool.
It made me think about how much this little ant was missing. There’s a whole yard over there and it’s here separated from its home by a giant body of water. It made me wish that the ant could be brave enough to maybe float across or to find its way around the pool and over to the grass. Again, I identified with this bug. (I bet you never thought you’d hear that coming from me).
So often I get overwhelmed by how big the “ocean” around me feels that I just stay where I’m at to avoid any sort of difficulty or pain. But in doing this, I’m also avoiding the goodness of what lies beyond it. I tend to become so guarded and hard-hearted that instead of avoiding jumping into the ocean, I kind of just stop trying to swim.
I try so hard to not let fear rule my life. Life is hard enough without the extra baggage, but sometimes, just like all of us, I fail… miserably. Instead of just living my life, I let fear make my decisions for me and I never make it to the metaphorical other side of the pool where true joy is.
So, with that in mind, let me encourage you. The next time you feel overwhelmed by fear of the future, a coming decision, or even fear of failure or hurt, remember that difficulty is real. Sometimes it does feel like you’re drowning and you want to just stop trying to swim. But there is hope and there is something further than the ocean you’re swimming in.
I get it. This blog-post is full of metaphors and it probably sounds super Millennial-ised.
**News Flash: I’m a Millennial, what are you gonna do about it???**
No, but really. Metaphors can help and even if they sound silly or unrelatable, I’m pretty sure everyone can relate to feeling like you’re going to succumb to whatever fear/doubt/feeling is trying overwhelm you. Oceans are huge and scary and full of fish that try to kill you, so I think it works. If it didn’t, Oceans wouldn’t be such a popular Christian song.
ANYWAY. What I’m trying to say is, acknowledge that it’s hard.
Life is hard. Life is painful. Life ISN’T FAIR. (If it were, my brother would’ve paid up on that 50 cents he owes me from that bet we had in 2011).
But remember that life is good and it’s more than pain. There is goodness past it all. Sometimes that goodness is a person you’ll meet or an opportunity you’ll run into. But always, Jesus is a goodness that you can’t find anywhere else. His love, His sanctification, His peace, His forgiveness is something you cannot find anywhere else. His love is enough to reach down like He did for Peter, grab you up by the hand, and save you from whatever you’re afraid of. Right now.
The cool thing about Jesus is that He doesn’t just see us as these aimless, wandering ants. He sees us as His children. He sees our faces and our hurts and He knows what it’s like to feel rejected and alone. That’s why He says to us, “fear not, I’m with you”.
So jump into that pool or that ocean or whatever is making you unsure. Jump in and swim with all your might, knowing that the savior of your soul is swimming right next to you. There’s a big giant yard of goodness out there somewhere just waiting for you to find it. (And it’s probably way better than the one the ant’s headed to).