Don’t tread water. Swim. Passionately swim.
It’s not a skinny-dip-life I’m wanting to live. I want a
fat-dive-life. But the honest truth is that I often discover that I’m
treading naked in the dark with no reserve energy left. After swimming a few laps in life, I often
grow tired and tend to take a pause… pulling up and waving my arms
and legs aimlessly about just to stay afloat. Sometimes it’s a
distraction that has worn me out during the swim… sometimes it’s a
craving outside the bounds of the swim that caught my attention.
Sometimes I find myself interested to wade into a different life situation…
a hot tub of comfort or temptation… a crystal clear pond of
certainty… a controlled-chemical pool. The real life swim can feel too overwhelming… too vast… too murky… too unknown. So instead of trusting the Creator- and instead of enjoying
the freedom and excitement of the swim- too often I begin to flail. And in doing so, I settle for the
lesser life… a motionless dog-paddle. Inevitably, this treading of
life wears me down and leaves me ever-unsatisfied. It’s as if I’ve
chosen a a stagnant stream of living rather than a thrill-ride in the
Pulling up from the swim and losing focus on a life immersed in God
results in a life that never reaches a destination, never passionately
embraces satisfaction, never really goes anywhere good, never really
aims for joy. Craving after God and his life-plans, however, produces
a life that swims the backstroke, the breaststroke, the butterfly…
all at once. Craving after God and his life-plans provides affirmation
and hope, miraculous buoyancy and momentum. It is a life resistant to
the acidic water of this messed up world… and it is a life immersed
in the living water of Jesus.
The fifth section of Psalm 119 (the letter "He"), resounds with this kind of true craving:
God, teach me lessons for living
so I can stay the course.
Give me insight so I can do what you tell me—
my whole life one long, obedient response.
Guide me down the road of your commandments;
I love traveling this freeway!
Give me a bent for your words of wisdom,
and not for piling up loot.
Divert my eyes from toys and trinkets,
invigorate me on the pilgrim way.
Affirm your promises to me—
promises made to all who fear you.
Deflect the harsh words of my critics—
but what you say is always so good.
See how hungry I am for your counsel;
preserve my life through your righteous ways!
[~Psalm 119: 33-40 (The Message); artwork "Treading Water" from Bill Bragg)]