Moving Beyond the Shallows

Jesus invites us to plunge in, to go deep, to experience Him in all His fullness. But I think we find it easier to just skim . . . to slum along in the shallows. I know I do.

It’s hard when I can’t “see” what He’s doing. When everything looks like it is tinged with corruption, when it seems like the darkness is snuffing out all light and evil is winning every victory.

When all I see is pain and suffering, I can lose sight of what I know to be true. 

I don’t like walking through seasons of darkness and suffering, but I think part of going deeper with Jesus includes experiencing the fellowship of sufferings. And that will include exposure to the brutality of evil. I hate that part.

When I enter the shallow end of the pool, everything is easy. I’m not in fear of drowning; the steps leading out of the pool are easily accessible. The water is calm and easy to manage—I’m not having to fight to keep my head afloat in a three-foot environment.

Living in the shallows is easy.

What gets more challenging is when I move out to the deep end. When there’s no longer anything solid beneath me, I lose my footing . . . I’m trusting that I’ll stay afloat, but sometimes it feels I could easily drown. The solid surface at the bottom of the pool, while maybe only inches away, seems as if it is miles beyond my reach.

I’m in a place like that right now. I’ve moved beyond the shallows, and I’ve left much of the familiar, not at the other end of the pool but, on a far distant shore. I’m in that uncomfortable place where the safety of the solid ground feels as though it is miles away. But there is one thing that is holding me secure: God’s lovingkindness.

No matter how far from the familiar shore I’m being thrust. God is not changing. It’s as though He’s my unseen life preserver. I know He has brought me out to the deep waters for a good purpose, but I keep looking back to the shore, my heart keeps longing for the shallows, for the old and familiar. But He’s pushing me out to the beyond.

And I know that no matter how frightening this feels, He will not forsake me, He will not abandon me, He will not allow me to drown. I don’t want to stay in the shallows, because I know He will teach me things in the deep waters I could never learn in the shallows. I am clinging to His steadfast love. That is my unseen life preserver.

[box]“Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD.” (Psalm 107:43)[/box]

Are you in the shallows today?

I’d like to hear how God is at work in your life! 

Image courtesy of Tuomas_Lehtinen/


  • Julie Musil

    My goodness, this is MY LIFE. Right now. This is THE season of casting me into deeper waters. It’s been very uncomfortable, especially in the beginning when I wasn’t yet close to the Lord. He is growing my roots deep, preparing me for something. I feel that so strongly in my heart. Preparing me for what? I have no idea. I’m learning to trust Him.

    Kimberly, we are in this deep water together. You have a beautiful way of putting it into words, and I’m grasping at those words and learning so much. Thank you.

    Not sure if I told you this, but at the end of last year you encouraged us to choose something we’d like to grow deeper in. At that time, I chose “trusting God.” Well, not too long ago I had to let something very valuable go and give it to God. I’m learning to trust Him in a way I never thought possible. I realized later that it perfectly lined up with the area I’d told you I wanted to work on. Amazing how that works, right?

    Praying for you in those deep waters…

  • Donna

    Oh my….you do have a way to speaking the truth to my hurting heart. I miss the closeness I have felt in days of the past. I am so afraid of drowning in the deep….How to wade out deeper when fear has such a grip on my anxious soul. I have been praying for this for such a while. I know it is a matter of trust and confidence that the Lord knows what is best for me, but still I tip toe on the edges. Praying for the Lord to take my hand in the safety of his. Thank you again for your lovely post.

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, dear Julie ~

    It’s amazing how those deep waters truly press us more closely into the heart of God, isn’t it? So thankful for your participation here on the blog, for your kind words of encouragement and your faithfulness to read, but especially thankful to see how God has been (and is) working in your life! Yes, He is preparing you for something, but as you respond with a yielded heart to the lessons He is teaching you today, He is using you now to glorify Himself!

    “Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.” (1 Peter 4:19)

    Grateful to have your company in these deep waters!

  • Kimberly Wagner

    Hello, Donna ~

    I’m sorry for the fearful journey you’re currently on, it can be so difficult to turn from our fear and just trust, but God truly does provide the grace for that when we depend on Him for that work. I don’t know if you’re a regular reader of this blog, but if not, an old post came to mind that I thought you might find helpful as you navigate this season:

    Thank you for your kind and encouraging words, always good to hear how God uses a post in someone’s life!

    May God meet you in intimate and instructive moments as you move into deeper waters. He will not forsake you!