A couple of nights ago, I felt anxious. Occasionally I have a mild flare-up of anxiety. It’s normal to have these brief moments as my brain and body heal and as I get used to having less and less of my medication in my system. The anxiety was mercifully mild, but there was just enough of it to send my thoughts into fearful, discouraged territory. Life has been an adventure lately, and I am doing a lot of things I never thought I would do and walking down paths I never imagined I would walk down. At times, especially in those anxious moments, I find myself thinking, what in the world was I thinking?!
The anxiety hit me just before bedtime that night. I talked with my husband for a bit, asked him for a blessing, and then we went to sleep. Usually these bouts of anxiety don’t last long. I tell myself, “I will feel better tomorrow.” And I did feel better in the morning, aside from waking up way too early. It was 5:30 a.m. and I couldn’t get back to sleep, so I decided to take a look at this week’s Come Follow Me reading. As I lay there in the dark of the early morning with my baby snoozing peacefully next to me, these words felt like balm for the previous night’s discouragement:
What could have inspired Peter to leave the safety of his boat in the middle of the Sea of Galilee during a boisterous storm? What led him to believe that if Jesus could walk on water, he could too? We can’t know for certain, but perhaps Peter understood that the Son of God came not just to do wonderful things for the people but to empower people like Peter to do wonderful things too. . . . Perhaps the Lord will not ask us to step out of a boat in the middle of a storm or contribute our meager supply of bread when thousands need to eat, but He may ask us to accept directions even when we don’t fully understand them. Whatever His invitations to us may be, they may sometimes seem surprising or even frightening. But miracles can happen if we, like Peter, will set aside our fears, our doubts, and our limited understanding and follow Him in faith (emphasis added).
God has asked me to jump out of the safety of my “boat” a lot in the past few months. And I still don’t know exactly why I was directed to do all the things I have felt directed to do. In moments, I feel like jumping out into this boisterous storm was absolutely ridiculous. It reminds me of this quote from Yogi Bhajan:
Stepping out of a boat, during a storm, to walk on water… THAT certainly looks insane. Putting clay on your eyes after Jesus has just mixed it with his saliva? THAT looks insane. So many of the things Jesus did and encouraged His followers to do were things that probably looked completely irrational, went directly against social norms, and very often rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. Personally, I have always been a people pleaser, and I strongly dislike rubbing people the wrong way. I want people to like me, and it crushes me when I feel I have lost a friend.
Following Jesus isn’t something you can really do without risk. Following Jesus isn’t something you can really do if you’re caught up with appearances. Following Jesus requires a radical and bold humility… a willingness to look insane.
Like so many of the people who followed Jesus around, I am desperate to be healed. I am reaching for the hem of His garment. I am rubbing His spit-clay into my eyes. I am jumping out of boats and hoping I don’t sink. And it’s scary sometimes. And I probably do look insane. But if there’s a chance I could walk on water, I think it’s worth the risk.