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Safe Shores

"Umm.. I'm not sure because I can't really see a lot." Standing on the beach in Turks and Caicos, my husband tried coaxing me deeper into the vast ocean, but there I stood on the shore water lapping my ankles. With near memory of people running out of the water all at once from some mysterious underwater presence, I wasn't too excited about jumping into the unknown. I was faced with the decision between staying on the certainty of the shore and immersing myself in the unknowns of the water. I chose the shore and John chose the water. I felt a tinge of sadness about not experiencing the water, but felt content in the safety of the shore.

The next day, I overcame my hesitancy,  jumped in the water and experienced the beauty in a more tangible way. I was cold and a bit uncomfortable, but when the discomfort subsided I saw things I couldn't have seen from shore. Instead of looking out at the ocean, I was surrounded and immersed in its beauty. I felt my smallness and the ocean's vastness. 

Unfortunately, this is how I am finding I have lived a lot of my life in areas. I like the known and avoid unknowns if at all possible. I take certain risks, but others I walk away from finding them daunting and intimidating. Quietly in my times with God, I am hearing an invitation. An invitation to take more risk, to know that the God who holds the world holds my life, to trust the God who loves me both in my failures and my successes and to realize that much beauty, joy and celebration will be missed without the risks. Sure, there will be some heartache averted, some pain not felt, some disappointments not experienced, but there will also be joys not experienced, successes not celebrated, and good unknowns never seen. What if the risk would have been worth it? 

Following God is a series of being called out of our comfort zones and into new things. Sometimes they are things we are excited to do and sometimes they are things we are unsure of. Some things take more risk than others and if we're not careful, we can choose the comfort of safety and familiarity over answering the invite. This has been a year of risk taking for me and the more I have said, 'Yes' the more I have seen God acting in, around and through me. 

The 'shores' of life are the securities of my own making. This is where I stand when I am really trusting my own way over God's. Here I am tethered to fears and the unknowns instead of God's ability to work in me and through me in whatever He has called me to do. The shore is anti-obedience, anti-flourishing and anti-life. It is a place of unfulfilled longings and regret. I am learning I don't need to stay on the shore because I am with the God who walks on water. 

While journaling the other day about an opportunity, I felt God say, "Unless you step into the water, you will never know what it's like to be immersed in Me fully. I am inviting you to step off the shore. You fear the water and that you will find failure and fears, but it is in the water you will see Me acting with you. 

What about you? Are there things big or small that God is asking you to do and you are not sure it is worth the risk? 

Maybe it's:

-Mend a relationship

-Write a book

-Write a song

-Apply for a specific job

-Do something in ministry

-Have a neighborhood party

-Start a group

-Join a group

-Create something

-Learn something new

-Take a relational risk

The possibilities are vast and our lives are a series of yes's and no's' I don't know about you, but when I look at my life, I want to have said 'yes' to the right things. Our yes's to what God is asking is really an invite from Him to work with Him in and around us in the places He is already moving.