Lessons in Drowning

“Collectively and individually you are loved with an everlasting love that delights in each faithful step taken. God yearns to draw you close so that wounds may be healed, emptiness filled, and hope strengthened. Do not turn away in pride, fear or guilt from the One who seeks only the best for you and your loved ones … Be vulnerable to Divine grace.” —Doctrine and Covenants 163:10a,b

It was the week after Christmas at Tiona Reunion in New South Wales, Australia. The end of a busy and draining year for me. I was exhausted and all I wanted to do was relax on the beach. It was about the second last day of camp when I was almost finished with my responsibilities and had a few hours to finally go to the beach with a few of my friends, which I had been waiting for all week.

The water was freezing and the waves were high and rough, but this was our one chance to swim so we wanted to make the most of it. We braved our way out into the water. We would take about two steps then hold on to each other, bracing ourselves to resist the wave coming our way. We’d take a few more steps and attempted the next wave. They succeeded … I did not. Every time – I would stand as firmly as I could on the shifting sand. Every time – the wave won. I would get pushed over and found myself grasping for air as I tried to regain my balance. My knees were weak from the bad condition of my joints at that time. My body was exhausted. After a few scary struggles and requiring the help of my friends to even stand up after being tossed down – I submitted. I gave up. Leaving my friends in the ocean, I realized I was too weak and didn’t have the strong ground, the support I needed to stand on my own. A bit scared, defeated, and somewhat embarrassed, I grabbed my stuff and made my way back to camp.

I lay down on my bed, closed my eyes, and took a moment to digest what had happened. There were some really scary moments for me – not being in control of myself, or the waves, and being thrown down, unable to support myself. Eventually, I had to accept that I was losing this battle. Accept I was not strong enough. Accept I needed help from others, if I wanted to keep my head above water.

It didn’t take long for me to connect that experience to my life at that time. That year, I had felt so tired and weak, unlike my usual independent self. I had met numerous challenging waves that had tossed me around and taken me for everything I had, it seemed. I was thrown down, rejected, hurt and unable to find my ground when struggles were crashing down on me; each time just getting pushed down further and further. At least that’s how it felt. I had been floundering in the waves for a while. Although I didn’t like to admit it, I was drowning.

That afternoon at the beach was a wake up call to me. It was (almost literally) a slap in the face. I think God was definitely bringing me to an awareness. I think God does that sometimes. When we really need to be faced with our own realities, sometimes God gives it to us, whether we want it or not and in ways we might not expect. For me, it was a realization that I needed to reach out for support from people around me and rely on the strength of my friends and my God to help me find my own. I needed to become vulnerable and dependent in order to regain my independence and keep my head above water – to rise above it.

“Deep down, everyone wants to believe they can be hardcore. But being hardcore isn’t just about being tough. It’s about acceptance. Sometimes you have to give yourself permission to not be hardcore for once. You don’t have to be tough every minute of every day. It’s okay to let down your guard. In fact there are moments when it’s the best thing you can possibly do … as long as you choose your moments wisely.”    – Grey’s Anatomy

What waves are currently crashing in on your life? 

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