I was talking with my roomie last night, and we were discussing the challenges that have been the last year of our lives and friendship. How different things have been this summer versus last winter, and how much less time we have had together, but how we both are confident in our friendship. We began likening our current state of life to swimming, and I described it as “active floating.” You know, the type of floating you do in the ocean. Not the typical ‘I’m just gonna lay here and bask in the water’ but the ‘I have to be intentional about floating or I’ll get swallowed by a wave’ kinda floating.
(Please note that none of these pictures are mine, so they are linked to where I found them to give proper credit)
(This woman isn’t really active floating… but it helps give a visual)
Then I made a brief comment about having a metaphor for the way people interact with Christ, and the way they approach being a Christian.
There are five types of ocean people.
1. The beach dwellers, they never really care to get into the water or even touch it at all. These people are perfectly content to play in the sand and really not even acknowledge the water at all.
This person is the one that never encounters Christ and pretends He is not there.
2. The wave walkers, the ones that likes the water well enough, but really just prefers to dabble in it. They are content to walk along the waters edge, let it swirl around their feet, and occasionally get the bottoms of their pants a little wet. But, regardless, they are definitely touching the water, it just has no profound impact on them.
These are the people that are “Christians” but are not really all in. They know, understand basics, and feel Christ, but they are not overly moved or effected by it.
3. The water waders, the person that enjoys getting in the water, but there is no way they are going to go deep at all, and they are perfectly fine with “wading” as their main pass time. They are definitely moved and affected by waves, the sand under their feet moves quite a bit, but the ocean still has no profound impact in their life.
This is the type of person that is involved enough in their relationship to Christ that they know and feel Him moving, but they really are still only comfortable if they feel like they are in control of their life.
4. The casual swimmer, they enjoy the ocean, they like playing in the waves, are definitely moved by the tides, and have a great deal of fun, although they still want to touch the ground so they only go about waist deep. For them, playing in the waves is fine as long as there is a measure of ability to control how much interaction with the ocean they have… even if it is really only an illusion.
This is the Christian that means it, there is no hint of just talk in their relationship with Christ, but they still have a few major beefs with the whole “surrender” to Christ. There is still a measure of restraint and fear in letting go and being free in Christ. However, regardless, these people are clearly moved, sometimes covered, and definitely playing in the ocean.
5. The body surfer, they are truly abandoned in the ocean. They are rolling in the waves, ignoring potential dangers, and completely at the mercy of the ocean. The waves, tides, and sheer force of the water create an exhilarating feeling of adventure, joy, and play.
This Christian is all about Christ, wherever He leads, whatever they are called and moved towards, they go. This is the “here I am, send me” person. Not to say their ride is easy.. because let’s be honest, playing in the waves can be incredibly dangerous, but they don’t care because they are out of control.
I think once you have been out further, coming back seems less and less appealing, although I think if we are out in the waves playing, we will have moments where we waffle between the measured bit of control we feel like we have playing where we can still touch, and then finding the courage to play completely out in the waves again.
So, in this metaphor, God is like the Ocean, how we enter the Ocean says a lot about who we are, and who we want to be in Christ.