“Turn into the waves. You won’t tip, if you go straight into the waves.” When a friend told me this, I was pretty sure she was insane, or lying. Our group of friends likes to prank each other. You never know.
Going into the waves, goes against every emotional and logical thought I have, when I face rough water. I want to: turn away, stay in the low parts, avoid the swells and crests.
Except, she is right. I have a bruise across my ribs this week as a reminder of just how right she is.
“Noah, ready? Hold on! I’m going to open it up!” I taste lake water and smell a happy blend of watercraft exhaust and fresh air as we skim across the water. I feel my newly teenaged son’s hands grab the straps on my life vest for a better grip. I plant my feet and press the accelerator with my thumb. The jet-ski speeds up. I swivel my head like a radar, watching for boats, fishermen and birds.
I start to giggle. So does Noah. “Faster?” I call. “Yes!” He shouts over the engine and wind. I press the accelerator all the way to the handlebar. We are flying. We race birds and win. (I don’t care if they know we’re racing. WE WON.) About three fourths of the way across the lake, the waves pick up. They are coming from the side of the ski. We sway sideways, up and down on the swell. I turn away from them. Bad idea. I loosen my grip and the ski slows down. Also, a bad idea.
With a “Thump!” my chest hits the handlebars. I’m glad I’m wearing a padded vest. Noah is not glad that he’d put his hands around my waist just as we started to speed up. “OUCH!” We both yell, as the ski drifts to a float like driftwood.
After checking for injuries and discovering none, I ask if he wants to go for more. “Duh. Faster!” He replies. Shaking his hand in the air in a way thst lets me know it might hurt a little..I am- however, happy to oblige. We start the whole scene over again. This time- when the waves start- I turn into them.
A little change of direction and we’re flying over the waves like rabid seagulls. No more feeling as if we’re about to tip. No more body slamming into the handlebars and crushing hands. We laugh like crazy people and swallow a few bugs. Protein. We don’t care. The sun is out and we’re flying on water. No more fear. We are brave.
I go from scared to brave in an instant. Because-I know what to do.
The same holds true on land. (Just to be clear-not when you’re driving a car. Unless you’re in a spin. Then turn in the direction of the spin. I think. But then, I barely passed driver’s ed, so your mileage and lifespan, may vary.) Anyway- too often, I try to turn away from the waves that crash across the lake of my life.
Here’s the thing: when I turn and try to avoid them I crash. (I usually turn to food, shopping, do gooding, Netflix binges, bossy prayers and frantic housework to avoid waves. It’s my special brand of pseudo-control avoidance crazy.) I end up smashed against the handlebars of my faux-control with bruises across my chest. Each attempt fails me like a dollar store life vest. (Side note: I made that up. But, if your local dollar store sells life vests.I don’t recommend buying one. Just sayin. Some things are worth what you pay for them. Like: life vests.)
Maybe, if I changed direction, and headed into the waves and held onto the one who’s really in control I’d ride the waves on land as I do on water. With joy. With abandon. With trust. Bravely. (Hint: it’s not me in control. It’s probably God. Who knew?)
Maybe, Jesus is even more right, than my friend. I’m sure brave on water…..
Or, maybe it’s the water that makes me brave. (It sure makes me happy.) If so- I should start wearing oversize rain boots full of water 24/7.
Maybe not. I think I’ll try turning into the waves and holding onto Jesus. I think I read about that somewhere once…..
27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”
28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
29 “Come,” he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33 Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Dear Lord- you make me brave- you call me out beyond the shore into the waves…. help me not to be satisfied with sitting on the safe boring shore trying to avoid all waves and crashes. (Well- maybe crashes. I’m not a fan of pain, but it does heal.) Give me courage to turn into the waves of life and face them in your power and grace- whether they are exciting challenges or storm driven rages…I love you lord. More than sunshine and surf and even the jet-ski. Amen.
I’ve been obsessed with this song all year…<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/6Hi-VMxT6fc?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>
Gee, I wonder why?