I hate swimming in pools. I did get into one the other day, because this is something I truly wish I could be free in, but it’s really hard for me to have a good time thinking about all the bodies in that water. Bodies that get dirty, sweat and … do other unmentionable things. In the water. And when I get in, that water is touching me. Every part of me. Just thinking about it makes me almost throw up in my mouth. Do you know what pool is short for? Cesspool. And that is not a joke.
For the same reason, I also hate lakes. I like swimming in rivers, as long as I can’t see people swimming up-stream from me. I do hope to swim in the ocean in a few weeks, which is why I braved the swimming pool … to overcome my phobia so I don’t miss out on swimming in the ocean when we go to Florida in a few weeks. I want to enjoy my first adult vacation, which will also be my kids’ first vacation.
I’ll bet you’re wondering where all of this is going? Just this: I stepped out into the sea of humanity, just me and Jesus, and went to a concert. That’s no big deal; I go places, just me and Jesus, all the time. The amazing thing happened while I was there. I felt that familiar anxiety come on of wanting to run home and enjoy my isolation, snuggled under the blankets. “What do Danny Gokey and Johnny Diaz have that I can’t get from Jesus on my own at home?” Instead of running, I stopped and prayed. “God, what is it that I suddenly feel so vulnerable to? Why do I want to run again? God, what are you wanting to do in this moment?”
See, I am finally catching on to Satan’s tactics. I run. A lot. From anything uncomfortable. From anything that might require more of me than I feel confident I can give. And even when I don’t run, I push away until I’m alone again. I can deal with aloneness. It’s not lonely to me. It’s safe. It’s nice. I enjoy my own company, and I can sit for hours with my own thoughts. I’m a writer. This seems like a prerequisite …
Anyway, God answered my prayer yesterday by directing me to go back to the concert and approach a ministry about something very specific that He wanted to do for them. Something I have been equipped to help in. So I did. And I saw God move mightily in something He had been preparing all of our hearts for, for quite a while.
As I sat next to this group of women during the concert, the Holy Spirit said something so profound to me: You’re in the sea of humanity. You’ve stepped into the water. Come out of your comfort zone and allowed God to work through you because of your obedience. You have prayed for years, begging God to show you how you can walk in His purpose and His will, but you’ve been hiding. You can’t work out God’s will in your life tucked safely away at home. You have to step into the water. Step into the sea of humanity. Because it’s there that God’s work must be done. He can’t use someone to rescue people who will not get in over their head. That’s where the drowning and dying are.
Maybe you’re like me. Maybe you like sitting on your couch listening to itunes and singing your heart out to Jesus, just the two of you. But don’t like being around others because you feel lost, scared, hated, misunderstood, or just plain awkward. Maybe you have this vision of ministry that is burning you up inside because you’re thirty and it just isn’t happening yet. Listen up:
STEP INTO THE WATER!
Step into the sea of humanity. Release your anxiety. Look at the Lord and say to Him, “Now what?” Be free there until He directs you to move. But get in there! If you want to see people saved, you have to get out there and be around people. Stop hiding! Stop running!
STEP INTO THE WATER!