Read- Matthew 14:23-31
Power verses- Proverbs 3:5-6
My two year old daughter stood hesitantly on the shore, the Gulf Coast waters inches away from her feet. “I’m scared,” she says adamantly. “It’s okay,” her aunt coaxes, “just take one step.” Her tiny feet take one baby step. “Okay,” says Aunt Nikki, “now just a little deeper.” She takes another step and another while trustingly holding her aunt’s hand. “A little deeper, now a little deeper.” In a few moments my brave little girl is triumphantly standing waist deep in the shallow water. “I’m in! I’m in!” she shouts and does a sweet toddler dance of victory. How often have I cheated myself from that same feeling of victory because I am too scared to follow Jesus out a little deeper? How often have I chosen to stay up on the shore of insecurity? Our insecurities make so much sense to us, don’t they? We have very rationally chained our self to the shore. Where are these insecurities rooted in our lives? Likely in many places, but let’s look at a few of the most common sources. What holds us back from truly swimming in the deep of Christian life?
• OUR PAST FAILURES. Nothing can kill ambition faster than the fact you have failed before. Failure is often the natural effect of trying something. Failing doesn’t make you “a failure”! You are only a failure when you quit trying. It doesn’t matter what the ambition is: a new diet, an exercise program, nurturing your marriage, making a craft, homeschooling, witnessing to a lost person. You name it, from the most natural everyday task, to the most spiritual undertaking. Go ahead and tell yourself, “I may fail at this. I might do it wrong. And if I do I will take note of my mistake and then try again.” Failure is God’s way of telling you, “That wasn’t quite right, pray, and let’s try it a different way.” – Philippians 3:13 Brethren I count not myself to have apprehended but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before.-
• THE CRITICISM OF OTHERS! Unfortunately even when we have rustled up the courage to pursue our ambition and have put our past failures behind us, there will be actual people just waiting around to criticize our efforts. Often it is folks close to us too, because they feel they have free reign to express their opinions to you, about you! It is important that folks in our life feel comfortable to express those opinions. None of us want people walking on egg shells around us. Wisdom, however, is in knowing when to take the criticism to heart because there is a legitimate point to be made, and when to just let it roll off. Ask yourself: are they criticizing because it is just their habit to criticize? Are they criticizing because they are frustrated about something else not even related to my ambition? If so, then politely take the high road. “Thank you for your opinion, but I feel very confident and excited about this ambition. Please pray for me.” 1st Corinthians 15:10 But by the grace of God I am what I am; and the grace of God which was bestowed upon me was not in vain…-
• PLAIN OLD LAZINESS. If you’ve never tried something it’s natural to be insecure about it. If you never try anything then you have LOTS of stuff to feel insecure about. It is so easy to wrap yourself up into a comfortable little bubble of familiar experiences and never attempt to move beyond that. This is not a happy, healthy or spiritual way to live, though. And again this can apply to the simplest of things or the grandest. Trying a new hairstyle because you think your husband would like it, or heading to the mission field (also because your husband would like it.) Laziness is not just sitting on our fanny watching TV all day. That is physical laziness, but few of us ever address our spiritual laziness. Spiritual laziness is an attitude of refusing to push outside our bubble and grow as mothers, sisters, friends, church members and Christians. – Ecclesiastes 3:10 Whatsoever they hand findeth to do do it with all thy might-
So ask yourself today: Am I stuck up on shore, longing to go out deeper? Jesus is not holding your past failures against you. Jesus will not criticize your efforts and Jesus does NOT want you to remain spiritually or physically lazy. Jesus does not want us on the shore, but lovingly holds our hand coaxing us out to where true intimacy and victory can be found. “Just a little deeper, now a little deeper,” he whispers. I want to feel the same joy my two year old felt as she happily danced in the waves, the feeling of victory over my insecurities. The path to that kind of joy lies out “a little deeper.”