Fear is a Trip
Matters not if you’re young or old, when you can’t swim, the fear of drowning will make you act a plum mess – especially in the shallowest of waters.
I remember a beach visit when I was in 3rd grade. Scared to get water in my face or ears, squinting because I had to leave my glasses back at the beach chairs – you couldn’t tell me I wasn’t drowning! See, I’d lost my balance due to the mesmerizing motion of the waves, felt the sand disintegrating beneath my feet, and before I knew it, I had water flying everywhere, flapping my arms and yelling my head off! Like I said – a plum mess.
Imagine my embarrassment when I finally realized where I was in the water; I found my bearings, and did something totally amazing – I stood up…in waist-deep water! I was able to water-hop two feet to safety on the foamy sand and sit my crazy self down somewhere. Even I had to laugh at myself.
But, that initial feeling of drowning? That despair in the depths of a drowning moment? Not a laughing matter at all.
Are You and Fear Besties?
Sadly, Team, some of us know the fear of drowning all too well. It’s scary, we feel all hope is gone. But you know what’s worse? Sometimes, we’re feeling this level of fear and despair in trials of life that are really just shallow waters.
I hear you. “But Kim, you don’t understand…THIS is the end of the world!” Yes, I do understand. Remember, I’m the little girl in 3ft of water who was actually about to drown herself AND anyone who came to help. In my adult life, I’ve felt the hopelessness of loss…the pain is real, the fear is real, but is our reality actually true?
Here are some recommendations to keep us all from drowning in shallow water:
1. Be still and settle down.
If we can be honest, we all have moments of being a loud mouth, a jumper to conclusions, and driven by reckless emotions. It’s hard to assess any situation when you’re up in arms, all over the place, loud, or “in your feelings”. Try to quiet yourself and your surroundings. Say “no” to going-going-going; get somewhere and sit quietly in prayer and meditation. God’s still, small voice has an answer for us, and it’s saying, “Just stand.” Ephesians 6:13
2. Tap into the strength you never knew you had.
That’s right. Look, there aren’t mothers going around lifting cars off their children for nothing. There is an inner strength inside you that you’ll never know you have until you call it forth! Tap into your hysterical “Never-say-die” vs. “I’m-gonna-die!” Some trials in life come to push you towards an introduction to your supernatural strength. It’s a strength that can become your norm, but you’ve got to recognize it and practice putting it to good use. Acts 2:21
3. Get positional clarity from the stories of others (and God).
Have you ever been in your woe-is-me moment, and turned on the news to see REAL devastation and disaster? Right. It’s all about perspective, how we perceive our current position.
When we ruminate in our sorrows and frustrations, we begin to believe ourselves – “No one has it as bad as me!” Guess what, Team – things could always be worse! Look around you. Are there others in the same or worse waves and depths as you – and they’re still standing tall? God will give you the same grace and strength. Isaiah 40:29
4. Accept honest help from others.
Sometimes the truth is – you don’t “got it”, or else you’d be OK. Have you ever tried to help someone in trouble, e.g. they’re financially strapped and you’re a financial planner, or they’re stuck in their current job and you’re a career counselor – and they want to tell you how to fix THEIR problem?
Team, don’t be that guy/lady. Just as you have to stop kicking and swinging when you’re drowning in water, and relax your body so the lifeguard can save you – you have to relax your intellect, your ego, and your know-it-all to accept help from others who can actually guide you out of trouble. Proverbs 15:22
5. Measure the circumstance against your existence – does it hold water?
Ask yourself, “If this takes me under, does it take me OUT?” Can you realistically (check #3) see yourself living past the hardship? Maybe the waves will toss you around, but you’ll emerge a different and better person.
You will come out alive! And if you’re alive, your purpose is still in play. The trial may bring the end of one thing, but the beautiful beginning of something new and better. Bottom line…keep living (see #2)! Psalms 126:5
I hope this helps someone who’s been feeling like you’re drowning. Been there. Sure, it’s easier said than done – but with the right mindset, determination, and help – it’s more than doable. Jesus is cheering us through the deep waters, as well as the shallow waters we’ve made deeper than they really are.
So, What’s the Play Call?
STAND UP and see, Team – you’ve got this, and Jesus has got you!