A few days ago, I went swimming with a friend of mine and his little niece and nephew. He and I swam circles around them as they just bopped around in their arm floaties. It didn’t matter if we swam up underneath them and caught them in our arms or if we threw them up in the air to land in the water, they were open to all the dare devil stunts because they knew they weren’t going to drown as long as they had their floaties on.
However, if the little girl was left floating by herself for too long, you could see the panic start to gather in her eyes. She would start kicking and then let out a scream. When this happened, we would swim over to her and remind her that we were right here and she was going to be ok. A few minutes passed after calming her down and she screamed again. My friend swam over to comfort her and behind me, I heard him say, “You know how to swim. Don’t forget that you know how to swim.”
My favorite part about this entire scene is that, like Jesus, in the midst of doubt and paranoia, he doesn’t acknowledge her floaties at all, but simple reminds her who she is.
There was no warning on the box the floaties came in against fear of drowning, only a statement that they would protect against that situation. Isn’t our entire world ironically similar to that claim? We want to do this thing and we want to have our lives to the fullest, but so often, we’re faced with the fear that we simply cannot swim without our floaties. Some of you have floaties made out of money, but you’re still wondering if happiness actually can be bought. Some of you have floaties made out of boys that tell you you’re pretty, but you’re still unsure of what you believe about your own self-worth. Some of you have floaties made out of the friends you always wanted, but you’re still pondering the idea that it’s not enough. That you’re not enough.
This idea of security that we chase so hard after is debilitating. It drives you to invest in temporary things that leave you screaming out in fear minutes later. It drives you to stay in those relationships you know are toxic because you’re more afraid of what will happen when you finally let go. It drives you to do anything that will keep you having to face the fact that nothing the world has to offer can supply the peace of Jesus.
But you were never left without assurance. You were never left without a promise. Your confidence must come from the One who knew all along that you would doubt. Your peace must come from the One who longs for nothing more than to give you His own. So lean in to His heartbeat today. When the paranoia rolls in and you lose trust in the things you had faith in to keep you afloat, be still and let Him remind you who you are and that you belong.
And that you know how to swim.
words by Lauren McLemore and photo by Tianna Munro