“A Little Deeper”
My two year old daughter stood hesitantly on the shore, the Gulf Coast waters just inches away from her feet. “I’m scared,” she says adamantly. “It’s okay,” her aunt coaxes, “just take one step.” Obediently, her tiny feet take one baby step. “Okay,” says Aunt Nikki, “now just a little deeper.” She takes another small step and then another while trustingly holding her aunt’s hand. “A little deeper. Now a little deeper,” Aunt Nikki continues to whisper. 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 experience 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 anchored ourselves to the shore. Where are these insecurities rooted in our lives? Likely in many places, but here are two of the most common.
Our Past Failures
Nothing can kill ambition (and faithful obedience!) faster than the memory that 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. Paul reminds us in 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…” Good words for any of us regarding our past failures!
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 people just waiting around to criticize our efforts. Often, it’s folks close to us too, because they feel they have free reign to express their opinions to you, about you! It’s 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. In 1 Corinthians 15:10 Paul again encourages us, “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain…” It’s the grace of God that defines us, not the criticism of others.
So ask yourself today, “Am I stuck up on shore, longing to go out deeper?” Jesus is not holding your past failures against you and Jesus will not criticize your efforts. Jesus does not want us on the shore, but lovingly He holds our hands, 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.”
You can see all of the articles by Sarah on Sunday School Zone.