We’ve had a week where some unexpected changes left me feeling a little unsteady on my feet. Change can do that to me. It makes me feel like I’m losing control and for me, this loss feels a lot like sinking.
It brought to mind the story of Scripture where Peter and the disciples were caught in the middle of a big storm. As Peter looked out from their boat, he saw a figure walking towards them on top of the water. As the figure drew near, he realized it was Jesus himself.
28 Peter, suddenly bold, said, “Master, if it’s really you, call me to come to you on the water.”
29-30 He said, “Come ahead.”
Jumping out of the boat, Peter walked on the water to Jesus. But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, “Master, save me!”
31 Jesus didn’t hesitate. He reached down and grabbed his hand. Then he said, “Faint-heart, what got into you?” And they climbed into the boat…Matthew 14:28-31
Peter lost his nerve when he saw the waves churning and his circumstances changing. He knew he couldn’t make the waves stop, he couldn’t control his circumstances and he became afraid. Fear made him sink.
I can relate to this..so, so much. When I can’t control what’s going on around me, I become afraid. I begin to sink.
But in truth, my control is an illusion.
But so is my fear that no one is holding the world together.
I do well when I remember that there is One who is over the storm and also beside me, waiting calmly in His boat.
And when Peter cries out, “Save me!” Jesus does not hesitate.
I love the words of this promise: Jesus did not hesitate to reach down and grab Peter’s hand.
The One who controls all things does not hesitate to reach out when we call.
Peter had the courage to look above what was pulling him down, to reach out and to hold on to the hand of hope.
Maybe you’ve had a week or a day or a moment where you’ve become overwhelmed by your circumstances. Perhaps you’re in a space where you’ve begun to lose your nerve and felt the sinking weight of fear.
What if you remember that God’s hand of hope is always within reach?
What would it look like to have the courage to call out & reach out?
For me, reaching out and asking for help is easier said than done. I don’t particularly like asking for help because it makes me feel vulnerable.
It feels vulnerable to show my needs, so I’d rather protect them.
However, recently I’ve learned that vulnerability is the space where I find the connection with others that my soul so deeply craves. But I’ve only begun to learn this lesson…so most days I get caught in my old patterned way of thinking. And this old-way-of-thinking looks like doing everything I can to avoid the vulnerable space of asking for help. I’ve come up with quite a few strategies of avoidance over the years 😉
The first strategy I try is to do everything in my own power to fix the problem myself. This involves me powering-up and I begin to “over-function” as my counselor calls it. Any other over-functioners out there!?
The next strategy I’ll try is to repress or deny any feelings of discomfort and take on the role of “Positive Polly.” I’ve always loved that positivity is one of my strengths, but I recently learned there is such a thing as “toxic positivity.”
“Toxic positivity” is when we choose to be overly positive so that we avoid any negative feelings. (This is my life). However, it turns out that when we try to avoid negative feelings, we actually make them bigger and we magnify that which we are trying to avoid. Talk about counterproductive:(
Or on the bad days, I’ll let myself slip into a victim mentality where I just feel sorry for myself and that accomplishes just about nothing.
But thank the Lord for Peter’s example so that I’m not left to my own devices.
Peter chooses to acknowledge the reality of his circumstances and reach out for help. As things get hard, he holds on to something different than his own power and abilities.
To me, this is countercultural. Our world tells us we must be strong. We must be our own savior. We must be self-made and self-sufficient.
But the way of Jesus teaches us that in weakness, we become strong through His strength. And though God may not move in the way or timing that we want Him to, He does not hesitate.
I found myself hesitating to ask for help this week….kind of a lot. But this story reminds me that the hesitation was one-sided.
God is near and God does not hesitate.
As I looked up and around, I began to see His hand of hope reaching for me in lots of different ways. The question became, would I take hold and receive it?
It looked like a phone call from a friend who was willing to listen, a moment of silence before the rest of the house woke up, reading God’s Word, a peaceful walk to clear my worried mind, a really good therapy session, a fire-pit chat with my husband and a really good nap.
On the days when you feel faint-hearted and and begin to sink....remember that the heart of Jesus never grows faint for those whom He loves.
His hand of hope is within your reach. May you have the courage to reach, the eyes to see and trust to receive.