Our family spent a day at the beach recently. Even though we only live two hours away from the coast, we don’t get down there very often and my boys are still getting use to playing in the ocean.
My nine year old was comfortable going out about waist deep in the surf, which happened to be right where the waves were breaking. He was getting tossed around pretty good as wave after wave crashed around him. I tried several times to convince him to come further out in the water where I was swimming. Even though the water was a little deeper, it was much smoother because I was well past where the waves were breaking.
As much as he wanted to come, my oldest couldn’t force himself to head out for deeper water. First of all, it meant that he had to walk towards the swelling waves in order to get past them. If that weren’t frightening enough, he also had to trust me that he could still touch the bottom if he came out to where I was swimming. He weighed the risks and decided to stay put. I even offered to come pick him up and carry him to the deeper water. No go.
So instead of enjoying smoother water and riding on top of the waves, my boy stayed where he was comfortable and got battered left and right as waves tossed him around. It didn’t take long for him to get exhausted, not to mention water-logged.
There have been times in my life where the waves were crashing all around me. The path to calmer waters was in Christ himself (obeying His Word and trusting His ways were better than my ways.) Instead, I chose to stay in the crash zone.
In hindsight, I can clearly see that I was too afraid to let go of control in order to follow Jesus into deeper but calmer water. Because of that, I needlessly got tossed around by fear and circumstances to the point of exhaustion. Looking back, what a waste of energy trying to live life in my own strength.
As our marriage approaches the two year point of recovery, I realize that Jeff and I are no longer living in the crash zone. We spent the first 11 years of our marriage tossed around by the strongholds in our lives. It has only been in the last year that we have trusted Christ to lead us into more peaceful water.
It wasn’t an easy transition. We had to choose living in truth over living a comfortable lie. We had to honestly deal with difficult issues that we preferred to not even acknowledge. We had to let go of control, including letting go of unhealthy patterns of communication and intimacy. We had to be willing to move out of our comfort zone towards where Christ wanted to take us.
I feel our marriage is much deeper now and certainly more peaceful. Even so, there are times when we are still tempted to revert back to our hold habits and ways. However, we have made a commitment to one another to keep our eyes on Christ, who is always leading us to deeper and more peaceful water.
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