I love the movie Finding Nemo. Probably because I love Dory so much. I understand her… I think…I can’t really remember. But some of the greatest advice of all time comes from that movie. Dory reminds Marlin at one point, “When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do? Just keep swimming!”
Not so long ago, life got me down. A series of unfortunate events put my husband and I in a position we never thought we would experience. It was devastating, unbelievable, mind-numbing. Feeling like I had been kicked in the gut, gasping for air, we moved through the first few days in a fog. With no one to lean on except one another, we did what we had been training to do for our whole lives — we turned to Jesus. Taking shelter in the shadow of his wings, together we faced the storm.
You see, I had a plan. A plan for my life and how it ought to look and what I needed to accomplish. And then THE STORM came. It wasn’t really out of nowhere. There are always warning signs when a storm is imminent. You know — temperature changes, shifting winds, dark clouds, a few drops of rain. All of that happened. But it wasn’t until the storm came that I understood what needed to change.
For a really long time I had been fighting the current, going upstream. Are you a swimmer? Maybe you kayak or canoe? Moving against the current is so difficult. You know they make in ground swimming channels that simulate a current so you can swim in your own backyard without going anywhere. It is great exercise, but it doesn’t get you anywhere!
And that is what I had been doing. You see, I had a plan. I had decided what success meant and I knew what was worthwhile and what was not. And I struggled against the current…the current of life in the Spirit. I did not trust that God knew best. There were just certain things I had to do!
THE STORM changed everything. Throughout the next year I continually heard the invitation from God to relax into him and let go. The image of a river kept coming to me, with the current being the movement of God in my life. I could continue to fight the current to go upstream, but the river moved swiftly in the other direction. If only I could trust enough to let go and swim with the current. Where would it take me? What would I have to let go of in the process? Would I lose myself? Or find myself? After all, the current was the Spirit of God. But relaxing into the current seemed so irresponsible. I struggled. I cried. I prayed. I grieved.
And I let go. I stopped fighting against what was happening and decided to embrace it. Embrace this movement of God that I didn’t expect or even desire. Changing directions has not been easy for me. But in my journey toward truly authentic living, this was an invitation to continue the process of becoming my best and true self.
Psalm 37:4-5 say, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you.”
Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”
If I believe what I say I do then, based on only these two scriptures, when I put Jesus first, the desires in my heart will be from him and he will equip me to accomplish those things. And, ultimately, they are things he planned a long time ago for me to do. He isn’t bound by time or method or locality.
Two years later, life has settled into a new cadence. I still make the choice every day to swim with the current of the Spirit in my life. It looks different than what I expected. I fight the voices that tell me I should go upstream. And I hear Dory’s chant in my ears…keep swimming, just keep swimming.
I invite you to stop. Breathe. Take a few deep breaths. Are you in a storm? Is there an invitation from the Father you are ignoring? Does it feel risky? Is He in the invitation? Take a moment to talk with him about it. Let him know how it feels to let go. See what he says. I believe that someday you will say with me that God met you in the storm.
I did not invite THE STORM, but…
I learned in THE STORM, because..
I met God in THE STORM. And no one can take that from me.
Until next time…
May the Lord bless you and protect you.
May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.
May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.
Image: Walt Disney/Pixar