Earlier this year, I was a bundle of nerves. Rest and relaxation were far from me as I strove to orchestrate my life to match what society defined as success. I didn't like my current circumstances and decided I had to do something to change.
The first area I tried to tackle in February was my relationship status. This was still during the lockdown, so my options to meet people were limited. I found out about online speed dating, and decided to try it. Bad idea. While there were some genuinely nice guys on there, none were a good fit for me. The two men who did contact me afterwards were both a little pushy. The first guy left me alone after I said I wasn't interested, and the second guy was much too young for me.
Obviously, my own attempts to find someone were pitiful. I argued with God over what He wanted me to do, because my efforts were going no where and fast. I thought I had two options "sink or swim." If I did nothing, I would never meet anyone and end up sad and alone. However, my doggy paddling was spinning me in circles, tiring me out so that sinking seemed inevitable regardless of whether I tried to meet someone or not.
After listening to me exert a lot of energy and frustration, the Lord told me there was a third way. I maintained, no, the saying is "sink or swim." There were only two possible outcomes. God then told me to float. He saw how trying to swim was eating away at my vigor for life. The Lord resolved my dilemma by telling me to trust Him. I was to lay on my back and rest. As I soaked in the light and warmth of the sun, He would hold me up and have the currents carry me to where He wants me. I just need to float.
I was shocked. It seemed to easy. Just float?!?!? Surely that couldn't be a legitimate option. God reminded me of Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths" (NKJV). If I would but trust Him, even when I didn't see Him working or understand what He was doing, He would direct my paths to where He wanted me to be. I had to admit the visual of floating was freeing.
The Lord told me that He wanted me to float in every area of my life during this season. I also have uncertainty over my long-term life plans and where I want to live. I tried for a month to buy a house, but was never chosen. I thought it was the Lord's leading, but maybe it wasn't His timing. I quit looking and have such greater peace. God will let me know if and when to try again.
Choosing to float is a daily decision. Some days I rest with warm waters lapping around me and listen to the gentle whispers of the Lord. He's in control. He's got good things for me. He won't let me drown. He is leading me to where I can best be used for His glory. As these truths fill my mind, my heart rate slows. Floating leaves space for me to hope for what God has for me without fretting about the hows and whens.
Sometimes, I try to swim again. I stick my head above the water and flail my arms about in the sea. I get news that looks like a shut door that I wanted open and try to find a way to swim under it. God tells me to keep floating. That may still be my door, just not yet. There are other doors I really wanted open that the Lord has painted a resounding No on the front. Those are not for my entry. They are off limits. I remind myself often of Psalm 84:11-12, "For the Lord God is a sun and a shield; the LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly, o Lord of hosts, blessed is the man who trusts in You! (NKJV)" If God says no, what I want is not good for me. He won't give me garbage.
I don't know where you are in your life right now. Maybe you've been trying to swim like crazy to get where you think you ought to be. Take time to rest. Turn over, lay on your back, and relax in the Lord's provision. God is Sovereign and good. We can trust where He leads us.
It's hardest to float when the waves are choppy. However, when I think of Peter, when he kept his eyes on Jesus, he walked on water. The Lord will sustain me even in the ocean. While sometimes seasons are dedicated to floating, even when I need to swim, I still must follow the Lord's leading. The key is to trust God. As I learn to float and rest in the Lord, He will carry me safe to shore. God will do the same for you.
Joanna Eccles has led Bible studies for over ten years and completed the year-long C. S. Lewis Fellows Program. She is passionate about discipleship and helping people know God better. Joanna enjoys coffee, traveling, and reading, and currently lives in Virginia.