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Apr 8, 2020 by: (in)courage

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he told the disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” Taking along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. He said to them, “I am deeply grieved to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake with me.”

Going a little farther, he fell facedown and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
(Matthew 26:36-39 CSB)

After a year of recovering from a broken leg – ten months that included two casts and a boot; a wheelchair, walker, and crutches; and more doctor’s appointments and physical therapy sessions than I can count – my oldest daughter was finally ready to start exercising again. We considered basketball and karate, but both intimidated my girl. Finally, we decided on swimming. With the goal of regaining enough strength to make it on a summer swim team, she began swim lessons at the community center.

It’s gone pretty well so far, with my tall tween out-swimming the younger kids in her beginner class after just a few sessions. And after a year of so many challenges and struggles, she’s really enjoyed her reunion with the pool (and her ability to accomplish a goal). Despite her enthusiasm, though, my daughter still hasn’t progressed to the next level of classes.

She’s a star student every week, following instructions and doing her best as they learn basic swimming techniques. But when it comes time for the students to practice diving into the deep end or jumping off the diving board, she digs in her feet, shakes her head, and says simply, “No.”

Ah, yes, that’s my stubborn girl.

“Just jump in!” I tell her. “It will be fun! I promise.”

“Have I ever told you to do something that hurt you?” I ask.

“What is my job?” I prompt. “Right. My job is to keep you safe. Jumping in is safe!”

“And so fun,” adds my husband. “I love jumping in! You’ll love it too.”

I’ve gotten so frustrated watching her across the pool, shaking her head and mouthing to me, “Nooooooo.” Before every lesson, we’ve talked about diving and jumping in – and how it will be fun and she should do it. She agrees, reluctantly, and I think, Yes. Today will be the day!

But it’s not. It’s not the day, and we are back where we started. And I feel disappointed that she’s not doing this great thing that she’s supposed to do, this thing that she’ll love doing, this thing that she’s here to learn. I’m frustrated that she won’t believe me, that she doesn’t trust me.

And I wonder if this is how God feels about me sometimes…

“Just jump in!” He says. “It will be great, I promise.”

“I will always keep you safe,” He says, “and besides, this will be so much fun.”

“Why won’t you do this? This thing I made you to do? Why won’t you trust me?”

Sometimes I think I’m pretty brave, but when the Lord puts a new mission in my heart, I feel anything but brave. I feel overwhelmed and under-qualified and unprepared. But mostly, I feel scared. The [metaphorical] pool is big and it might be deep and it’s probably cold and I’m just not sure anyone will catch me if I jump.

I don’t want to be a scared little girl, afraid to jump, missing out on the amazing thing God has for me, but sometimes a calling can feel like it’s just too much. It can feel too big, too hard, too different, too heavy. Sometimes I want to paddle back to the shallow end of the pool, where it’s safe and easy and comfortable. But I know that God has more for me – and for you.

Have you ever dug in your feet and refused to move out of fear? How did that situation end or resolve itself? Can you think of a time when you jumped right into the [metaphorical] pool, bravely following where the Lord led you? What was it like? How did God show up for you? Reflect on these questions, and tomorrow we will look at our calling – what God has prepared you for in this very moment.

This is an excerpt from Journey to the Cross: Forty Days to Prepare Your Heart for Easter, from the (in)courage community. If you are enjoying this series, you can purchase the book to experience forty days of encouragement and guided Scripture, reflections, and prayers.

About This Series
Journey to the Cross

In Journey to the Cross, you will be guided through forty seven days of encouragement that will help prepare your heart for Easter during the season of Lent. You will be pushed to set aside the chaos and concerns of everyday life to focus on Christ.

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