And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Matthew 14:32
A few days ago, my husband and I saw an interesting sight. It was a decidedly windy day, the kind Winnie the Pooh would refer to as “blustery”. Suspended vertically in the air was a small bird. It’s wings were out on either side of him, but they looked like feathery arms. He was beating them up and down, relentlessly pushing against the invisible force that had suspended him midair. Finally, he stopped beating his wings and dropped, straight down. I craned my neck to see if he would hit the ground, but instead, he soared. You see, when he dropped into the wind, he made his body horizontal. Wings out, the currents of air moved under him and allowed him to glide. By giving way to the wind, the bird could fly.
My husband and I chuckled at this funny little episode. But then I thought, that bird is probably smarter than most of us humans. Like the little bird, we tend to fight against the invisible forces of this life. We beat our wings in futility against the problems that push against us like a fierce wind. We think that if we just keep fighting we can mend that broken relationship, find that perfect job, gain enough wealth to make us happy or even reverse the doctor’s diagnosis.
We live in a society that tells us when you face insurmountable odds you have to just push through. Struggling to finish a research paper? Push through. Having trouble meeting a project deadline? Push through. Can’t seem to lose that last twenty pounds? Push through. The ends of the checkbook won’t meet? Push through. Push. Push. Push.
I tend to be a push through girl. Just keep going, keep doing, keep fighting until you get what you want. The great irony of my life is that things never seem to really change or improve until I let go.
About twelve years ago, I was in a really dark place. I was struggling with anxiety and depression. After teaching for four years, I was burnt out, frustrated, and looking for a change. I kept pushing through. I called principals at schools I wanted to work at, only to be told they just didn’t have a position open. I pushed on. Finally, in the middle of a Good Friday service, God said, enough. Bowing my head, I stopped pushing. I fell into God’s plan, the one he’d been trying to direct me to for the past six months.
When I finally let go, when I stopped pushing and fell, God was right there. His plan was infinitely better than mine, although I didn’t know it then. When I stopped pushing, when I stopped fruitlessly beating against the problems in my life and gave them fully over to God, I was able to soar.
The next couple of years were a sort of sabbath period for me. I went to seminary. I met my husband. I rested. I grew. Life wasn’t easy or perfect–it never is. But there was peace. There was purpose. There was God.
My friends, I don’t know what you’re trying to push through today. But my advice to you would be to stop. Stop trying so hard to make a situation perfect. Stop trying so hard to fix a problem. Stop trying so hard to figure it all out. Because you can’t. You won’t. Like that little bird, you’ll just beat senselessly against the wind.
Instead, let go. Lay whatever it is that’s keeping you up at night before the throne of God. Tell him you’re done pushing. Tell him you’ve had enough. And then, allow him room to let you soar.
Blessings and Peace,