So recently I haven’t been able to shake this question: What is my personal and Spiritual deep end? Some really cool people recently spoke into my life that this year was going to be a year of deepening for me. What does that mean? What is the definition of “deep” and where am I currently in regard to this idea. I believe most Christians, including myself, have spent a lot of time peering into this deep well of who God is and what He can do in us, and have held back from drawing from it because we are afraid of what it means or the uncertainty of how our lives will need to change. We love seeing others do it and celebrating when God is working in deep ways in their lives, but we are unwilling to do what it takes to draw from the same well ourselves when Jesus is there the whole time offering to help us if only we ask and are committed to what He tells us when we ask. I think it’s easy to fear it and is the reason many people settle for a life of living safe and thus extremely comfortable in the shallow end of the pool.
Most large pools are marked by a few distinct markers. The ones I can think of are the Kiddie Pool, the Shallow end, and the Deep End. The kiddie pool is the pool before the pool. The shallow end is the area where you can be in the pool but can always touch the ground, and the deep end is the area where you can’t touch the ground and have to know how to stay afloat on your own.
Maybe no one has ever told you that the shallow end is not where God wants you to be. Maybe no one ever mentioned that if you want to grow in your faith you must first place yourself in areas where your feet cannot touch the ground and you are forced to learn how to swim. I have come to the realization that if I want God to deepen me this year I must do everything I can to put myself in situation after situation that I am uncomfortable and must trust in Jesus to teach me how to stay afloat. I know this is what a relationship with Jesus is all about. Jumping in the deep end, learning to get comfortable in it, and then finding a new deep end.
I’ll tell you that growing up my cousin and I would ride our bikes to Jaycee Pool in Westerville, Ohio and spent hundreds of days of our childhood years hanging out and spending beautiful summer days at the pool. We loved everything about it and had some great memories there! I remember one time trying do a “suicide” which is a dive where you jump high in the air like you are doing a belly smacker and then at the last second pull in to make a huge splash and save yourself the pain of destroying your face. One time I attempted this “suicide” dive in the 5 foot section and ended up hitting my head pretty hard on the bottom of the pool. I remember getting disorientated and almost passing out. It was the wierdest thing being in the five feet and having the scary feeling of not knowing which way was up. I learned my lesson that day as I could have died if I would have blacked out and the nearest lifeguard wasn’t paying attention.
This begs the questions: is my faith actually deep? Where am I really? Am I living the few years I have in the shallow end?
I don’t think many people like to be called “shallow.” I have never liked the term at least myself which refers to a person of little to no substance, character or depth. So how do I get to the point where I know I have true substance, I am by no means talking about a person who has alot going on or to talk about, or even a person who accomplishes much. I am seeking to be a person who’s substance is directly related to the person of Jesus Christ. That is where we get our depth, it is in submitting to the mission of Christ in this world and going where He calls us to go. In the end, when we are standing before Jesus, its the only thing anyone will actually care about.
I would much rather live my life in the deep end, living in uncertainty and sometimes in fear, but accomplishing much of value and becoming a person that is deep, than living in the shallow end and later realizing that I wasted my life and finding that I did little of value to Jesus or anyone else around me. I feel like I have a long ways to do but am headed in the right direction!
The shallow end test I am giving myself:
1. Being completely honest with yourself. Are you currently doing anything for God where you know your feet cannot touch the ground? If not, you are most likely living in the shallow end.
2. Have you ever considered whether your faith is deeply rooted or surface level? (Depth tests are only given in situations where life is not going well, its a true depth finder because it shows who we really are.)
3. Have you been led by God (The Holy Spirit) recently in relation to anything in your life that you have done or accomplished or have you done it on your own? If not, you are most likely living in the shallow end.
4. Have you looked for anything of spiritual significance or depth, have you passionately pursed more of Jesus and asked Him for more and truly been open to seeking it no matter the cost? If not, there is a good chance you are most likely living in the shallow end.
5. Do you feel close to God? Do you spend time with Him consistently? If not you are most likely living in the shallow end.
A few things about the shallow end:
1. You can’t do deep things in the shallow end.
2. You were not made to live in the shallow end.
3. There is nothing fun, or adventurous in the shallow end almost all of the cool stuff happens in the deep end. It’s the main reason people check out of Christianity. They never spent any time in the deep end.
4. There is little surprise and little adventure in the shallow end.
5. We can’t find out much about ourselves in the shallow end, we can only really discover it in the deep end.
6. Most of us want our lives to matter, the shallow end just steals meaning from us.
7. Jesus was anything but shallow, he lived and died for us by being an example of living in the deep end. He promised that we can learn how to do it too!
Have you ever thought about this question. In your faith, in your relationships, in your sacrifice what is your deep end?