Thank God I don’t live by the sea! This was the very thought I had whilst driving down the M42 back towards my home in the midlands, just over 30 miles away from the place deemed the ‘furthest away from the coast’ by ordnance survey. Now I know it’s a really weird thought to have, and I particularly love the sea and hearing the waves, but seriously – living by the sea would be a really dangerous thing for me right now. You see, recently I made the decision to start stepping out in faith and as a result, God has been showing me new and amazing things. But with this decision has also come the huge hurdle of actually stepping out and doing whatever God wants or leads me to.
Cue the large whale…or in my case, whales!
You probably all know the story of Jonah and how he ran away in fear of the Lord, eventually being eaten by a whale for three days until he agreed to do what was asked…well you guessed it, I am pretty much like him, and possibly even worse because unlike Jonah, I do this on a regularly basis! And like this picture, I’m not sure the whale would be too happy about being near me either!
The thing is that making the choice to do all that God wants, was initially difficult. The decisions to put my life (and especially my control!) into God’s hands was not an easy one to do, and even now, I must intentionally continue to do it. But it turns out that this was, and is, the easy part. Ever since making this choice I have been thrust into an ever-increasing battle between doing what God wants and asks of me and at the same time not wanting to do anything risky or that would make me look like a complete plonker! I long to do great things for God and to reveal His glory to those around me, but how do I do so when it is often contrary to everything in the world around me and almost certainly a risky business in all earthly senses?
It is often hard for me to read about the amazing people in the Bible, particularly those in the New Testament, who had to endure great trials and hardships when doing all that God asked of them. I am a mother to an amazing two year old girl, and the thought of being imprisoned or shipwrecked (yet another reason to live in the middle of the UK!) or to endure any kind of suffering for God is not one I want her to go through. As her mother, I want to be there for her and to watch her grow and to witness the woman she becomes. I want to protect her from the evil of the world and the great pain that it can, and often does bring. And yet, I also want to be the best role model I can for her, and this includes showing her that our faith and relationship with Jesus is the most important thing in our lives. In Luke chapter 9, Jesus says:
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.” (Luke 9:23-24)
It is inevitable that when we choose to step out in faith and do all that God asks of us and all that He calls us to, we must deny all the things we deem as risky (as well as the things that are often desirable) and instead, offer them to the Lord and align them with His will. And to be honest, this isn’t something I am able to fully do yet. I am desperately trying to give all I have to God, including my family, my circumstances as well as my hopes and my fears, and yet I know that in less than half an hour of doing so, I am clawing back the control with every ounce of strength I have and trying to put safety measures in place and write ‘to do’ lists galore. Well… thank goodness for the grace and mercy of Christ!
From those I have spoken to, I know that I am not alone in this struggle and it is both encouraging and strengthening to know that I am not the only one who battles with it. We all must work hard to continually give ourselves to the Lord and rejoice in the victories (both small and large) that we gain. For me, this could be as huge as not taking control back for an hour, or a victory on a gigantic scale of speaking to someone about God when the Spirit prompts me to. Both of these things would be huge victories for me (I am currently at serious risk of being whale bait from the latter at present) and are goals I would love to achieve. But until then, I rest in the knowledge that there are smaller victories we can all achieve and whilst I know that nothing is impossible with God….at least I don’t live by the sea!