Tag Archives: ocean

Strategies for Staying Above Despair ~ Lessons From the Ocean

Ocean wavesGod, help me to rise above despair.
To stay afloat
With my back to its gloomy bog
And my face lifted high;
Upward, unafraid.

I have always been a decent swimmer, which probably has something to do with the fact that I grew up near the ocean.

Swimming in the Atlantic was not easy.  Its forceful waves and rigorous currents presented many aquatic challenges, especially for a child.  However, since I was the only girl, I was not about to let my brothers outdo me.  Rather than buckle, I allowed the strong waves and my competitive spirit to make me a better a swimmer.

I do recall at least two frightening experiences, though.  One was a time when a particularly strong wave smashed into me unawares, taking me under and pinning me to the ocean floor for longer than was comfortable. 

The other was the time I encountered a small riptide.  Fortunately, my dad had prepared us by instructing about how to swim out of one.  However, the forceful pull happened so fast that by the time I realized it, I was already in water over my head, further away from shore.

Strategies for Staying Afloat in the Ocean

Following my dad’s instructions, I swam perpendicular to the current and broke free from its insidious grip.  Because I had so far to swim back to land, though, I tired quickly.  To conserve energy, I alternated swimming with floating on my back, a survival strategy when struggling to stay afloat.

I never felt afraid of losing my life, but it was a wake up call about the dangers of open sea swimming.

At times, the storms in life can make us feel like we won’t make it.  Very often, they ravish our hope and bring despair.  They require similar strategies for survival.

Strategies for Staying Above Despair

Like a riptide, devastating circumstances can come upon us suddenly, making us feel as though we are being pulled apart at the seams.  With their onslaught, they make life seem as though it is catapulting out of control.

Rather than succumb under the pressure, we can instead allow the Lord to lead us in a direction opposite the raging torrent.  With His help, our spirits can rise upward, perpendicular to the current.  In His presence, no more will the hurtful tide overwhelm.

Since the difficult problems of life do not always subside as quickly as they arrive, it is easy to grow weary.  To conserve energy, these are perfect opportunities for turning over and floating on your back, so to speak.  Of letting go of all the worries and frustrations, and staying afloat by fixing your eyes on Christ and resting in His embrace.

Remember.  God is always there to help you navigate the tide and equip you to stay above despair.  Through Him, we are not just survivors; we are over-comers.  He can even lift us up to walk on water!

****

“In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
John 16:33

This version of Oceans is different from what I have heard on the radio.  By a male artist, Hillsong United ‘Zion’

© Sue Nash/2014

Weekly Photo Challenge: Horizon ~ What Lies Ahead

On the horizon

On the horizon ~ shoreline in California

None of us know what’s on the horizon in life.  Only God knows what lies ahead.  Trust in Him.

“And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.
Deuteronomy 31:8
NKJV

For similar posts, see Weekly Photo Challenge

From The Daily Post

God Directs Our Steps

Photo I took along the Pacific shoreline

Photo I took along the Pacific shoreline

I love walking by the ocean.  I love the fishy smells, and the way the salty breeze warms my weariness.  I love the feel of cool water on my feet, and the sounds of the waves lapping against the shore.  Nobody has to force my steps on a sandy beach, since by the sea is where I feel most at home.

How comforting is the passage above from Proverbs, to know that since God directs our steps, we can trust Him throughout our lives.  Some may argue that this verse is suggestive of predestination on God’s part, and that as such, why bother with a life of faith.  Not at all that, this is actually a poignant reference to God’s sovereignty and love, but there are some issues inherent in it worth addressing.

God Does Not Force Our Steps

God controls the universe, but out of love gives us the choice whether to accept His guidance.  God’s ways are best, but not everyone accepts this notion.  Because of that same love, though, He goes a step further.

God Uses Circumstances to Direct Our Steps to Him

Many do not understand the message of the cross, but it is not complicated.  God sent Jesus to offer a Way back to Him.  He will use circumstances your entire life to direct you to Him.  By accepting and following Christ, we merely return to where we belong.  If really His, though, our lives will then change.

God Will Direct Us Away From Sin

Some people think that after saying a sinner’s prayer they can then go out and continue living a life of continual sin.  If God is directing, though, our lives change from pursuit of wanton pleasure to that of pleasing Him.  God will never direct someone into sin, so if wrongdoing is still rampant, there is something amiss.  This brings up yet another issue.

God Directs Us to Let Go

In the passage, there is the implication of letting go ~ and ~ letting God direct.  We cannot be in charge anymore, but need to let God lead our lives.  For many, this is where the rudder meets the wave.  In our egotistical culture, we think we can figure things out all by ourselves.  God knows this, yet still loves us and has a wonderful alternative.

God Directs In Order to Bless

Many despise the idea of giving God control, but those of us who know Him wouldn’t have it any other way.  With God at the helm, we no longer have to figure things out, but can instead trust His wisdom and understanding.  This is not at all weakness, as some suppose; rather, by yielding to God’s directing, we trade control for a blessed peace.  We can trust an infinite God, who knows the beginning from the end, to guide our ways.

The true blessing comes from knowing that with God directing our steps, they will one day walk on streets of gold on heaven’s shore.

With that in mind, what is holding you back from letting go and letting God direct?

Along the seashore,
I hear His footsteps best.
It reminds me ~
  As I follow Him,
He directs my steps

Sue Nash/2013

Proverbs Post

For similar posts, see Proverbs Post