“Your level of relationship with God will only go as deep as your comfort level”
This quote was spoken this past Sunday by my pastor. What type of relationship are you seeking with God? What is keeping you from going deeper? What is holding you back?
Our relationship with God is decided by you and I. God has laid it out before us, and He wants all of you, but He allows you to decide. I have never been a huge fan of swimming in the ocean. I love the beach, but when it comes to swimming, I prefer a pool. I don’t like the thought of fish swimming around my feet, especially if I can’t see them and I don’t really like the salt to get in my eyes. One thing I do like about the ocean is floating on the waves. The motion is so soothing and calming. When I think about my level of relationship with God, I think about the ocean.
Some people may prefer to stand at the shoreline and just put their feet in, letting the waves just reach the ankle. It feels safe, they are in the water, but in a place where they still have control. More than likely, you won’t be taken over by a wave and if someone yells “SHARK!” you can quickly get to safety. No risk, but no great reward either. You could go in a little further and let’s say you’re now waist deep. Still able to touch the bottom and have control, but you can feel the current. There may be a strong wave that comes along and causes you to get a little scared, moving back to the safety of ankle deep. At this point you can decide to go deeper or turn around to where you feel safe. The next level, which is my favorite if I’m in the ocean, is floating. You can get so entrenched and feel as though you are one with the ocean, allowing the waves to drift you about. You don’t have control, but you can experience all ocean has to offer; the sounds, the sun on your face, and the wonderful motion of the water.
Control is such an interesting concept to me. I don’t know many people who don’t like to have some sort of control. It creates a false feeling of safety and comfort. What is so great about control? I read somewhere “everything in our lives we choose to control or hold onto becomes our responsibility to maintain”. Oh boy! Think about a yard. A yard has to be maintained or it will get out of control. If you don’t trim back bushes or cut the grass, it will grow wild. The same could be said for situations in our life. If we choose to hold onto or control areas of our lives, they will spiral out of control and become hard to maintain. I truly believe me having control is just a façade. As my husband and I went through our years of infertility I realized how little control we actually had in creating life. It boiled down to God’s timing, His will, and His plan. And when we handed over control of that area of our lives, He smoothed it out. He came along side of us and guided us in His direction.
I’ve been at every level with God. I’ve been ankle deep where I wanted to keep things safe between God and me. Where I still control my life, but I go to Him when trouble comes. I’ve been waist-deep where I’m allowing God to have some control, but afraid of what He might ask of me … I would take the control right back. Telling Him how I wanted things to go whether or not that was what was best for me. And I can honestly say I have floated allowing God to have control knowing and believing that His ways, His plans, His direction is what is best for me. That whatever He asks of me is worth it because His plans are to prosper me and turn things for good. I’m not saying I’ve done it perfectly, believe me, I have not. It’s so easy to want to take back “control” when you don’t understand what is going on. When that happens, you go to God, and you apologize for thinking you have the better answer, and you hand it right back to Him.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. Jeremiah 29:11
Many times fear plays a role in keeping us from going deeper with God. Fear of what we might lose instead of hope in what we might gain. God may call you to tough things, but He will not leave you to handle it yourself. I think trust or lack thereof, also keeps us from going deeper with God.
“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” Proverbs 29:25
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.” John 15:4
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make straight your paths” Proverbs 3:5-6
We can continue taking control and trying to do things our way, but this verse clearly states that He will make our paths straight. When we try to control it and call the shots, the paths always get crooked. When we aren’t abiding in Him, we cannot bear fruit. I want to bear fruit and I want to walk a straight path.
I have found that going deeper with God brings more peace, less fear, and more comfort. I’m not saying there are not struggles in this life, but I am saying that when I lean back and allow God to control it, those things are much easier to handle. Trusting these things about God comes with having a relationship with Him. You have to get to know Him.
You can start right where you are. If you’re not even in the water yet, please message us so we can show you how to get in the waters of a relationship with Jesus Christ. If you’re ankle deep, what’s the next step for you? Ask God to show you what is holding you back. We’re all at different levels with God and none of us have perfected it. It may take a while to get to the point of floating and giving God complete control. If you’re waist deep, what’s keeping you from getting on a float?
I challenge you all (me included) to go deeper. That may mean start reading your Bible, start praying more, get involved in your church, find a group of friends you can do a Bible Study with or be accountable to. Whatever that means for you, start somewhere. You will not regret it.
~ Mandy Edwards