Take Me Deeper

This photo was taken last summer on a family dog walk.  It was such a beautiful day that our feet just kept on going, across a bridge and then leading us down a unknown “path” (i.e an overgrown wilderness filled with nettles and spiky weeds that we had to precariously tiptoe around) but we kept on marching, unthwarted (although occasionally nettled!).

The bridge, although a little wobbly and uncertain, crosses over this river you can see and walking along side the river that day was heavenly.  The water shimmered in the sunlight and although flowing steadily, was calm and inviting.  I hadn’t seen anything so beautiful in a long time.  So being (ever so slightly!) an impetuous person, I announced that we should all jump in and have a swim in our underwear.  My family on the other hand announced that this was a crazy idea seeing as we had no towels.  A mere minor detail as far as I was concerned; the sun would dry us surely?!  Anyway, after much encouraging, cajoling and finally bribery (“we can have a hot chocolate at home to warm up”), their minds were unchanged and so I, still determined (and not to be proven wrong) began my elegant and swan-like descent into the ebbing beauty before me.  However, because the bank was steeper than expected and there were a number of unexpected lurking nettles, as well as the rocks being slippy and slimy, this descent was in fact more of an inelegant loud, yelping, flailing and clambouring fall, steadied only by Rob’s strong, outstretched arm.

Having cast off my trousers, I had planned once in, to plunge straight under (the swan-like image still going strong) but I was this time thwarted.  Not by slippy rocks or burning nettle stings, but by the cold.  Oh my goodness, the cold!  Have you ever stepped into a Scottish river?  Well let me tell you now, come rain or shine, they are baltic. Baltic!

What to do?  I wanted to go deeper, in fact I was desperate to go deeper, but human weakness stopped me.  So the best I could manage was to wade out as far as I could bear (without completely falling in!) and stand there and just enjoy the beauty around me, because it was beautiful.  So very, very beautiful.  If I’d gone even deeper and cast off my fears of falling in or getting my shirt wet, then I could have walked further down the river and walked under the wobbly bridge and seen the water mill just beside it-in short, the beauty of my surroundings would only have increased.

Despite the perishing cold of the water and the disappointment of not having a swim, I thoroughly enjoyed my little adventure that day.  I loved stepping out where the others wouldn’t.  I loved the feeling of being called by the river to just leap in.  And I loved making an attempt.  The fact that I didn’t make it all the way was ok.  There’s always next time.  Next time I’ll be ready, next time I’m going deeper.

Have you ever felt that there are areas of your life where you can go deeper?  Or areas of you life where you are being called to go deeper?  Deeper in your community?  Deeper with your friends?  Deeper in understanding the problems around us each day?  Maybe even deeper with God?  Or a calling to put yourself aside and see what else is out there?   Going deep whatever it may be can be scary.  It can also seem exciting but as it fast approaches fear and anxiety prevent it from happening.  But when you get there the beauty that is around you is worth the journey (even the nettles stings!) and if you can take your eyes off yourself and your needs for just a moment then you can start taking steps and walk right down to that wobbly bridge and the watermill, where the sun catches the water and the wild flowers lean down over the banks and skim the water.

The words form this hymn “Oceans” by Hillsong United explain just why there’s no need to be afraid:

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand
And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now
So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise, my soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
Songwriters: Joel Houston / Matt Crocker / Salomon Lighthelm

So whatever the calling of your heart might, human rights, God, family/friends, community or other, then just step out and get your feet wet.  It’s beautiful!

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