My family and I are heading to the shore to squeeze out the last bit of summer. I heard from friends that the water is fierce and chilly. The kids are excited to jump the waves and body surf the swells...me, not so much. I am already bracing myself for the requests to go into the water and play.
Here's a post from the archives sharing a lesson I learned, and am still learning each summer.
I like the beach. I like the water, but not cold water. The first day we were at the shore the kids were thrilled to go into the ocean. Even though it was windy with a slight chill in the air, the kids ran with abandonment into the waves. They didn’t see the words scribbled with chalk on the lifeguard stand stating that the water temperature was 63 degrees. However, I did. No matter how many times my children called my name, I couldn’t bring myself to go into the water.
I was perfectly content to sit with my feet in the sand, snuggled in a blanket, reading my book. I managed to get away with this for the first two days. By the time the third day rolled around, I knew it was time suck it up and get wet. The kids were not going to leave me alone until I went swimming with them.
I stood at the ocean's edge cringing as the cold water washed up on my feet. As I watched my little ones, I was amazed at how much they loved being in the water more than they loved being warm. I couldn’t remember at what age I started loving comfort more than the joy of being in the ocean.
I convinced myself that it was worth it. I could do this; I could sacrifice my comfort to make memories with my little ones.
The kids and my husband yelled back to me “The water’s not that bad. Once you get in, you get used to it.” I knew it was true, but I also knew about the initial discomfort and shock I'd feel when I went under, and that’s kept me on edge.
Really? Couldn’t I just watch and take pictures from my comfy beach chair? I could make wonderful memories playing board games back at the house or riding bikes around town. Why did my kids so desperately want me to swim in the cold water with them?
As I fought my stubbornness, I wondered, what else and I missing out on because I am not willing to be uncomfortable, if even for a few moments?
I have become comfortable in my cute little Christian walk. There are things that I want, but I am not willing to do the work. I say I want to be healed of past hurts, but I am still won’t go there, let myself feel the pain so I can release it to God, and forgive. I say I want to be in community, but I don’t take risks to extend myself to others. I say I want a better marriage, but often I don’t engage, share my feelings, or put my husband first. Comfort Trumps Desire.
I am afraid of the discomfort I will experience necessary to achieve what I say I desire. Just like the water, I know the initial displeasure will not last, but everything within me resists taking the first step. I also know the freedom on the other side is worth it, yet I hold back.
So I find myself praying.
Lord, give me such a strong desire for the freedom, blessing, and unity, that I am willing to be uncomfortable. Remove the apathy that plagues my heart and mind. Give me a vision of what’s in store if only I would trust you.
My children were thrilled when I finally went in, underwater and all. They made such a big deal about me being in the water that I felt bad for the days I sat out. We splashed each other, jumped waves, and body surfed together. Even though I was only in for a little while, I enjoyed myself, and I know the kids did too.
I also found myself looking forward to going in the next day.
Is there something you have persisted pursuing because you enjoy the safe and the comfortable more?