In Over Your Head? Great!
Four years ago, God breathed an invitation through my headphones and my heart locked onto the words. They stirred me and called to me, words I was made to live out.
“Further and further my heart moves away from the shore.
Whatever it looks like, whatever may come, I am yours.
And you crash over me, and I’ve lost control but I’m free.
I’m going under; I’m in over my head.
Whether I sink, whether I swim,
It makes no difference when I’m
Beautifully in over my head.”
--Gentile, John-Paul, We Will Not Be Shaken, Jenn Louise Johnson, Bethel Music Publishing, 2015, Track 11, https://bethelmusic.com/albums/we-will-not-be-shaken/
My husband and I were ankle-deep in our plans to move halfway across the country, following nothing but a conviction that something waited on the shores of Lake Michigan, some call of God that we couldn’t fulfill by staying put, as we’d planned.
Even as logistics fell into place, it was so easy to want more information, more surety. Emotionally, I felt capsized, dumped in the ocean like a Navy Seal to tread water and wait for the next order. The next several months were nothing less than a battle for survival, as I struggled to make sense of the conflicting emptiness and chaos I felt, even in the will of God.
I didn’t feel like I was swimming. I was sinking. I was completely in over my head and I hated it.
Even once I started to tread water—going to work, going to church, connecting with family—I still chafed at the empty space before me.
I was staring hard at the waters God had called me to walk on, wondering when that would start, when I would feel brave enough.
Until the day I realized it was never about me.
It was never about me being stronger, braver, a “better person” who could tough things out in her own power.
This realization came over time and all at once. “It’s not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6).
And I started to realize the waves were nothing to fear, even as they crashed and pounded. It wasn’t about waiting for everything to turn around again and go back to the way I was comfortable with. It was about learning to keep my faith breathing while underwater, while upside down, while capsized. Living in a realm where I didn’t know how to breathe kept me daily connected to the Source of my daily breath because auto-pilot didn’t work anymore. And down there, I grew new lungs. Lungs of faith. I learned to breathe Him in.
We like to glorify the idea of being outside of our comfort zones but when it actually happens, it’s hard. Painful. No other way of describing it. But it’s not pointless pain. It’s growing-pain.
He strengthened my sea legs and brought me out into a broad place, because He delights in me (Psalm 18:19)!
And the journey is far from over. When I heard the notes of that same song coming from the worship team on Sunday, my heart started to pound, but joyfully. It’s time for a new adventure!
You don’t have to fear being in over your head. Because Christ is the Head (Colossians 1:18).
If you’re willing, He takes you to places where His supremacy and sufficiency are preeminent/paramount...any other big words I can think of. Where you need Him to accomplish anything, experience anything! He’s after your effectiveness, your fruitfulness, the genuineness of your faith being polished to come forth as gold. If you’re willing to water the clay of your life with your own tears, you will stay soft and pliable in the Lord’s Hands and He will be able to shape you into a strong vessel that can withstand any heat! Set in silver, remember?
If you’re in that place, rejoice! You’re being drawn deeper into His Presence where He will unearth some of the greatest treasures that have been lying dormant in your heart. You may forfeit some of the things you want right now in order to see things you’ve always dreamed of. You will learn to cherish the lessons of this place, as God equips you for what’s coming down the road. Embrace Him and steward your waves, even if it feels like you’re completely capsized. Our God is Goodness itself, with many good plans for you, good works for you to walk in.
He’s already cut a path through the waves, and if you keep your eyes on Him, you’ll learn to walk on them.