Can He Keep Me From Going Under?
I’m not strong enough. I can’t take any more.
How can being the hands and feet of God compete with: "Can He keep me from going under?" Help, I don't know what to do! I'm going under. I'm not strong enough to remain afloat. I can't take any more. I'm too exhausted to push through! "My shipwrecked faith will never get me to shore."
Such words of bewildered desperation are illustrated perfectly in Elena Kalis' photography depicting the near drowning of emotions when life becomes hard. These daunting pleadings are expressed all too often and are common with failed expectations, losses, and even the fears of the unknown.
These pleadings don't always signify depression, but it does express a depleted soul with dry, brittle bones in need of being filled with living waters that only a relationship with the Lord could breathe life back into.
Perfect love casts out all fear (1 John 4:18) because fear has to do with punishment.
Are you drowning underneath a sea of debt? Overwhelmed with balancing work and school? Spouse left you for another? Are you on the front lines engaging in battle with your children or stepchildren?
This sounds more like an infomercial without the pity party. Pity parties are great when you're trying to become a loner or in need of releasing a Noah's Flood.
How about, instead of extending your "special peeps" with grace and mercy waving your white flag of surrender, is your anger resembling more of an automatic weapon spewing out flaming arrows and emotional darts leaving carnage strewn about?
Better yet, are you trying to carry your cross underneath a mountain of persecution? Oh, I just walked through that valley of the shadow of death myself. Can I say brutal?
So what can we do when we feel we're drowning and our fears override our faith? How many times do we scream for help, run towards some sense of consolation, in places where solace and strength cannot be found? Fear immobilizes us from moving forward victoriously, but so do our behaviors.
I don't know about you, but I used to lean towards the temporary fix of denial which clearly interferes with swimming through a sea of problems. Builds raging seas instead.
When I tried to face the giant (the fear), it usually started through the numbing effects of alcohol, you know, good 'ole liquid courage, to take the edge off. That usually just left a headache with a need to drink more to numb the pain that the alcohol brought on from temporarily diffusing the affliction.
Mouthful I know! You get what I'm saying, right?
Then I gravitated towards long hours of work so I didn't have time to face the giant lurking. Talk about a white elephant! This left the impression on my heart that I was in control and could handle it. Ha!
And then how about the infamous feel-good natural high of endorphins that retail therapy delivered? Hello... my 'ole time favorite! A girl's gotta look good, you know, or have a dozen sets of silk sheets just because...
Most probably, the usual vice we all use: The extensive coddling and stroking that our friendships and family offer. That might be good initially, but usually they are only going to tell us what we want to hear anyways because they are so much like us and do not want to offend us in fear of adding more insult to injury. Now we've trapped them into our battleground of F-E-A-R!
How does brave faith face the fear without drowning or causing more harm? We do live in a quick-fix technological mindset where we want what we want NOW! The only wisdom I can share being sustained with victorious courage in walking through these dark periods is found when we Faith the Fear! We can only Faith the Fear by engaging in a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Two beloveds I know shared similar pleas with me this week that mirrored the desperation depicted in Elena Kalis' photograph along with matching lyrics found in Casting Crowns' amazing "Oh My Soul" song. Their heartache is prompting me to start a new series entitled "Faith the Fear." My life was built on fear and I want others struggling the same to know how God removed those shackles through faith.
When we are feeling we're not strong enough, and we can’t take any more and are drowning underneath the sea of our fears and tears, not to mention how we feel our shipwrecked faith will never get us safely to shore; Jesus tenderly reminds us, You can let go and lay it down. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). I am your life preserver.
Face the God you know. God will NEVER belittle you, nor tell you, "I told you so." That's mankind's conditional love aspect that we have sadly grown accustomed to. God tirelessly digs underneath the piles and layers of dirt and disease until He excitedly finds us. He lovingly unearths His treasures by washing away all the dirt and muck and yuck bringing clarity and light to the Beautiful gems we are.
He's so proud of His masterpieces, His very own creation, that He serenades over us as He quiets our hearts with His Great Love (Zephaniah 3:17). He delights in us and even rejoices as He painstakingly takes the time to carefully dust off all the dirt whereas not to scratch and harm us. He washes and polishes off the dry and rough edges until we can see the love in His eyes as He proclaims through celebration, "There you are, Beautiful, my rare and precious treasure. I love you."
Until next time...
Thank You For Being Brave, Beautiful You!