Monday, March 17, 2014

When you're completely out of your depth

I remember when I first learned to 'swim'. It was in a swimming pool in Selly Oak in Birmingham in the UK. I was 11 and we were home on furlough, three months in the UK after three years in Pakistan.  Dad was teaching us in the public pool and I eventually managed to swim one width of the pool, straining so much that I almost vomited with the effort of trying to keep my head above water. China Bro who is two and a half years younger and fairly competitive turned round and very determinedly swam the same distance for the first time but with ease. I've never forgotten that experience but similarly I've also never forgotten the subsequent swimming lessons where Dad encouraged us to go further and further into the deep end and the sense of panic at being out of my depth.

It's an interesting thing but I think that those same emotions keep cropping up in other life situations... and I think they do for most people. When the expectations or curve balls of life exceed our capabilities, panic and the desire to vomit ensues. I am at my most stressed when I feel unable to do what is required of me.

Parenting does that a lot to me.
Being overly busy and physically having more work than time available to do it in does it to me.
Situations where the outcome is completely out of my control does that to me.

Ironically, absolutely anything to do with faith requires that we trust God to do the very things that we are unable to do. Trusting God involves relaxing and not panicking. It's a deliberate act of will.  Like swimming it involves practice.

The other morning the hubster and I were talking and he had been reading about the Israelites entering the land of Canaan under the leadership of Joshua. What he said really stuck with me:

Here were a group of people who had been slaves for 400 years in Egypt, they had no training for war and at best they probably had knives for weapons. And yet God called them out to fight (and win) against giants. Even though they were slaves, they were called to be giant killers.

At the beginning of this year, I posted about dreaming the impossible. Slaves killing giants who were trained for war is the impossible. Laughable really and yet it happened.  

You might, like me, feel you have dreams that God has put on your heart that you are completely unqualified to do. Sometimes mine are as simple as being a good parent and not screwing my kids up, other times they are financial goals or starting something that seems completely out of reach. I find that I often limit God by the label I put on myself, by allowing doubt in, but I'm really excited by the thought that if we allow ourselves to trust him and not be daunted by the impossible, God will take us and turn us from slaves into giant killers.

Recently our connect group has been watching Christine Caine's series Undaunted. She's a prime example of someone whose heart God touched to do something completely impossible and yet she dared to believe that God could use her to do something she was unqualified to do and something she often felt out of her depth to do. 

What are you facing that is daunting, that you feel unqualified to do? A new job? Parenting? A broken relationship that you have a heart for reconciliation for? Reaching out to a particular group of people? I'm being challenged again to stop thinking within the bounds of the possible and start training my mind to take steps towards the impossible.  


  1. yes, great post Sophie! I haven't seen this book/series but I so identify with that sense of being called to trust for impossible things and not being sure how much i should do and how much I should trust??? xx

  2. Perfect Sophie! We need this reminder this week, and also just me in my day to day parenting :) xx

  3. Timely post for me.....and that book has been on my to read list...must make it a priority xxxx


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