Learning to let go

photo courtesy of Jen Gusey

One warm summer day, Little Miss Sunshine asked me if I’d help her learn how to float on her back. Over the past couple summers she’s been eager to learn how to swim, yet she’s much more cautious than T-Rex who thinks he is part fish.

She took her arm floaties off and we sat in the shallow end of the lake. I instructed her to lean back and relax as if she were laying in bed falling asleep. Time after time, she tried, but could never fully relax. I put my arm under her and assured her she was safe. I told her that relaxing and letting go of control was the only way to float. I made sure that she knew that even if she did sink, the water was so shallow all she had to do was sit up. Still, she could not let go. She kept repeating to herself, “Relax! Don’t be stiff!!”

Finally, after about 15-20 minutes of trying, she floated – for two seconds. Her eyes lit up. “I did it! I felt it!!!” She gradually extended her floating times, slowly learning what it felt like to relax and let go.

Watching her learn to float was like looking in a mirror. I have the hardest time learning to let go and not be in control. I want to know that something is going to work, or that I can MAKE it work. Letting go, and facing the possibility of sinking is frightening.

Yet, we are never really in control are we? Even when we think we are. Faith is learning to let go – to relax and put things in the Hands of Someone Else. So often it boils down to whether or not we trust God. Do I trust Him that He will keep me afloat? That He won’t let me sink? And that even when circumstances say I’m sinking, do I trust that He still knows what He’s doing and that He still loves me and has a purpose for me?

I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be Peter, walking on the water to Jesus. I can’t envision that brief moment of what it felt like for my feet to float on the surface. Peter was impetuous. Peter was bold and brave. For a brief moment, he learned to let go and relax in His faith in Jesus. But it was a brief moment.

Matthew 14

28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

29 “Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

The problem was that Peter took his eyes off his faith in Jesus and looked at the wind. He looked around him at the danger and tensed up in fear.

I love that in Peter’s fear He cried out to Jesus, rather than trying to swim or fix the problem all on his own. He knew He needed Jesus. Immediately Jesus caught him. He picked him up and put him back in the boat, lovingly confronting Peter’s doubt.

Are tensed up trying to control things in your life? Are you looking at the wind and waves around you in fear? Cry out to Jesus and let Him pick you up and teach you how to float in faith.

Amelia Rhodes lives near Grand Rapids, Michigan and has been married to her high school sweetheart, Kedron, for 15 years. She is also mama to two young children. If she’s not writing, you’ll find her in the garden, at the sewing machine, or out running. Amelia is a contributing author to Chicken Soup for the Soul’s books “Here Comes the Bride” and “Inspiration for Writers.” Her first full-length book “Isn’t it Time for a Coffee Break? Doing life together in an all-about-me world,” takes a humorous and practical look at relationships. Filled with Bible-based encouragement and real-life stories, it is perfect for personal or small group study.

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