My kids love swimming. They love getting wet. Even in the middle of a Melbourne winter they look forward to swimming lessons each week.
Last week as I sat poolside watching my youngest child, five-year-old daughter Ada, memories came flooding back of similar experiences I have had with all my kids. There she was “cannonballing” as she likes to call it as her instructor invites her to dive in. In my childhood days it was “bombing” but Ada looks at me as if I am speaking a strange language. “It’s cannonballing Daddy” as she smashes into the water with little grace, but a huge smile on her face.
As the instructor wipes the water from her face, suddenly I’m picturing PJ, my almost 22-year-old, discovering the joy of deep water when he was Ada’s age. It’s something I’ve experienced with all my kids. They all love the water. They’ve taken after me.
But they’ve all started in the same place; in the comfort and security of the wading pool!
Why did they love the wading pool? They felt safe. The water was shallow. They could touch the bottom. They were in control. There was no risk. There was nothing to fear!
But then things change. Suddenly shallow water no longer satisfies. The big pool beckons. The deep water calls.
Yes, there was PJ – probably about three – at the mighty Lambton Pool in Newcastle. I’m already in the water. He stands on the verge of deep water of the Olympic Pool. He pauses a few times as he prepares to take the big leap. Adventure overtakes nervousness and fear and he jumps. He goes under. Water surrounds him. He quickly makes his way back to the top and he looks at me with a smile I will always remember. He is alive! He has done it. And what are his first words to me ….
“Dad I want to do it again!”
Many years later nothing has changed for Ada Rose. When she is at the pool her favourite activity is jumping in the water. She no longer needs her bubble on. She feels “all grown up” and time after time she cannonballs her way under the water.
All too often in life we can be satisfied with “wading pool” experiences. Life is safe. It is predictable. We like to be in control. We like life on our terms.
But I know for me – and I am sure for most reading this post – the predictably and safety of “shallow water” experiences never fully satisfies. There is often a yearning for more. There is an innate beckoning to experience more of life; to live a more purposeful, adventurous, exciting and impacting life.
Yet sadly all too often we can choose safety over surrender. We can choose to live as we are, even with regret, rather than embrace risk.
And here’s where the big pool comes in. Just like PJ, or Ada for that matter, I’ve learnt that to truly experience and appreciate “the more” that God has for me in life requires faith and risk. Ultimately it requires faithful abandonment.
Yes, the Scriptures call us to live “deep water” lives; to be people who abandon ourselves in faith to a God who has plans and purposes that extend beyond our vision and dreams.
And seizing such opportunities always starts with taking a first step. I love the quote from Martin Luther King Jnr: “Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”
Today when you think of your hopes and dreams – when you think of new possibilities and opportunities, when you think of new doors God may be opening, when you think of the mark you would like to make, when you think of something you might try if you thought you wouldn’t fail – what things come to mind for you?
Opening the door to a new vocation or new business venture, chasing a new ministry opportunity, a restored family relationship, a marriage that looks so different to what it is today, a life free of addiction, a life where fear no longer holds you back, a life where complacency and procrastination are left behind; a life where you are passionately pursuing things you know you are called to and created for!
Today is it time to leave behind shallow water in some areas of your life? Is it time to dare to embrace deep water anew in your life?
It’s hard to believe the first half of 2018 is behind us. Time flies by. It has been eighteen months since Megan and I and some of our children moved to Melbourne to join the Crossway team. Accepting the invitation to join the team here was a big jump into deep water. It wasn’t easy to leave Newcastle, particularly loved family members and friends. I was in a great job but I knew God was stirring change within me. We were very comfortable in Newcastle. Life was good, but Megan and I knew that God’s Spirit was opening a new door of opportunity. Humanly it was scary, but faith calls us to unchartered territory.
And here’s what I have learnt over many years and certainly through our southern move. When you step out in faith in life, when you embrace deep water, God is with you every step of the way. It doesn’t mean the path will be easy. It doesn’t mean there won’t be tough days, even doubts, but our faithful, loving, robust, caring, good God will provide you with all you need. He’s the God of deep waters!
So often in life it comes down to this – faith or fear. We see this tension, this stark choice throughout the Bible. Today where is God calling you to step out of your comfort zone? Where is he inviting you to embrace new possibilities? Today are you ready to “cannonball” and experience more of what God has for you in life?