I took my oldest two children for swimming lessons when they were very young. My son, only six months old, really enjoyed the water and happily began swimming. However, Sally, my oldest daughter, latched on to me with all her strength. I literally had to pry her off. She did not trust the water! It was embarrassing. She was the only child there screaming and crying as I tried to teach her to relax, hold her breath, and float. She finally got it, but I doubt she ever appreciated the lessons!
Sometimes we are like Sally. We don't like the situation around us or the lesson the Lord wants us to learn, so we latch onto anything that feels safe rather than trust the Lord and swim in His grace. Thoughts like, What if something goes wrong? What if I get sick? What if I don't have enough money? What if I fail? push us to fear. And the more we worry and grasp, the larger our fear grows and the tighter we cling.
We will never learn the depth of God's grace and ability while hanging on to our self-made safety net. This is so akin to deceiving ourselves. We prefer control - self-control. We want things easy and not fearful. We strive to create boundaries and parameters that protect us from harm, but they are all false. We do not have that much control of life. Yet, every time we encounter difficult situations, we start thinking about how we want them to turn out and obsess about everything that could go wrong instead of laying them before the Lord and trusting the water!
There's an interesting little article I read about how to survive drowning. Listen to these pieces of advice. "Float, don't swim to avoid drowning. Fight your instincts, not the water, to help stay alive. Sudden immersion in cold water triggers the instinctive but life-threatening reaction to gasp uncontrollably and swim hard, which can quickly lead to drowning. (The Mirror, Alice Wojcik, 25 May 2017)
Do you see the correlation between drowning and our irrational fear? When we are faced with these difficult, scary situations, our knee-jerk reaction is similar. We hyperventilate, try harder, and follow our instincts.
God says, instead of gasping for air, relax. Even the air you breathe is a gift of God. So take a deep breath. He already knows about the situation and the outcome. You can trust him. "What time I am afraid?" Remember that verse? "I will trust in thee," the Bible tells us. (Psalm 56:3)
Instead of trying harder, buoy yourself in the water of the Word. 1 Corinthians 3:7 reminds us that God gives the increase. He is in charge. Ephesians 1:11 assures us that everything works according to the purpose of his will. There are loads of other scriptures to hold you up and point you to His strength instead of your own. So, there's no need to be flapping about! These verses serve as life jackets so make sure they are strapped on!
And, in place of following your instincts, choose to follow Him. Let go of whatever you are grasping on to and follow God's instructions. This choice will take you straight to the "I will" passages of Scripture. I will trust, I will sing. I will obey. And you will find Psalm 94:19 so true, "In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul."
Like learning to swim, learning to trust the Lord takes time, and you get stronger along the way. So, pry yourself off your circumstances and start grabbing hold of God.