The Shallow End

Around here, you can feel summer coming. Spring is my absolute favorite time of year, but where I live in Texas (where summer temperatures stay over 100 for weeks on end) summer always looms overhead like an anvil waiting to be dropped on us. It’s beautiful now, but soon we will be doing anything to beat the heat – cool drinks, lots of shade and trips to any body of water we can find.

The irony is that I hated swimming as a child. While my friends were taking every opportunity to hit the pool or lake to survive the brutal Texas summers, I dragged my feet. Sure, I had taken swimming lessons, but once I acquired the basic functionality to keep drowning at bay, I stopped. I much preferred the safety of the shallow waters where I could feel my feet touch the bottom. The times when I screwed up enough courage to brave the deep, I would never venture very far from the life-saving edge where I could hold on for dear life. While I pretended this was the way I liked it, in reality I felt paralyzed by fear.

I regret never really taking the plunge.

Unfortunately, I feel that so many of us settle for the shallow end in life. We are content with being on the periphery, not truly diving in to the depth that God offers us. Having acquired the basics enough to function, we don’t take the totally take the plunge. We cling to the sides of life everywhere — in our careers, our education, our relationships with others, our spiritual lives.

There is a dangerous lack of depth to our lives and we suffer the consequences.

The funny thing is that we put mechanisms in our lives to address the issue, but often they end up adding to our problems.

We’ve invented technologies that extend our connection to one another. We can connect with old friends on Facebook, express our minute-by-minute thoughts (in 140 characters or less) on Twitter and video chat with loved ones halfway around the world. Yet study after study tells us that we feel less connected to one another as ever.

Church can feel the same way. The machine of Christian culture produces more books, podcasts, sermons, small group studies and music than ever before. We have as much Christian programming in our churches as ever. Yet because of the pace and focus of our lives, many of us still feel disconnected with the Divine.

What we need is not a wider pool, but the courage to let go of the side and dive into the deep end.

Our hearts cry out for depth — deep relationships in community, deep connection with God, deep understandings of ourselves and the world around us.

What I need is to let go of the security of the shallow end and take a huge leap off the high dive.

Do you feel the lack of depth in your life?

Do you long for the courage to dive into the deep end of life?

What keeps you from taking the plunge?

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One thought on “The Shallow End

  1. Staying with the swimming metaphor. I almost drown when I was 8 and it took me 5 years to go in a pool with the intentions of doing anything other than wading in the shallow end. When I was 13 I had a friend named Austin make it his mission to teach me to swim during church camp. I was scared to death, but I was more worried about letting him down. I still remember the sense of personal pride that I felt when I dove off the diving board and swam all the way to the shallow end.

    It is definitely safer on the shallow end, but all the fun and challenges are in the deep water.

    and there it is…..booyah

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