Brian is a SCUBA diver. He loves the experience of diving meters upon meters below the water’s surface to discover an entirely different world. The whole thing seems unnatural to me and just a bit scary (okay, a lot scary!). And really, if God had intended me to breath underwater He would have given me gills! Am I right? I am happy to spend my morning in a different kind of water therapy — at the spa!
However after years of trying to convince me to join him, I finally compromised and learned how to snorkel. That was a feat in and of itself.
So with googles, flippers, and breathing straw in hand, off I went into the big ocean to look at stuff. I was terrified.
I learned a lot that day and not just about snorkelling. The first thing I learned was this:
1. Breathe. It sounds a bit silly to even say this but one of the most important things is to keep breathing. Nice and easy. I have to admit it took a bit to figure out how to use the breathing straw (yes, I know it is actually called a snorkel). But once I did, breathing calmly allowed me to see things I have never imagined.
Job 27:3 says “As long as my breath is in me, and the breath of God in my nostrils….” A peaceful thought isn’t? The spirit of God in each breath.
Next time you are worried, anxious, angry or exhausted watch your breathing. Is it shallow and infrequent? Chances are it is and that kind of breathing limits the circulation of oxygen and we don’t function well. Breathe. Inhale and exhale…. breathe.
The second thing was this:
2. Don’t panic. I found that when I panicked, I forgot to do #1. I started to get the hang of the whole snorkelling thing when I got a sudden rush of panic… I am too far away from the boat; the reef is gone and all I see is blue; the wind is picking up and the waves are going to swallow me up; I am going to get eaten by a shark…. you name it I thought it…and I panicked. My breathing got all weird and found myself pulling out my snorkel and gasping for air and a mouthful of salt water. Not pretty.
Breathe. Don’t panic.
Psalm 56:3 says “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”
We all face challenges and storms in life: relationship challenges, financial challenges, employment challenges- they happen to people everyday. People who panic, reacting by reflex, often cause more harm than good. When you hit a storm or unexpected challenge, and you will, first take some deep breaths, then pray. You may only be able to utter the name of God, but God hears you and God will respond.
The third thing I learned from snorkelling is this:
3. Have a buddy. While Brian was SCUBA diving with his buddy, I went out snorkelling with mine. Initially, I thought having a buddy was about the company but it was more than that. She and I looked out for each other. She never let me get to far away, nor I her. We would pop up to the surface to talk about a fish we saw or to have a good laugh about one thing or another but more importantly we had each others back.
It can be pretty dangerous and way less efficient to go through life and life’s challenges alone. We need other to support us and guide us. To provide encouragement, or set us back on the right path. And we need to do the same for them. Invest in friendships. Live transparently and stand by your friends.
Breathe. Don’t panic, and have a buddy. What I learned from snorkelling that day applies to my everyday life.
Snorkelling turned out to be spectacular. And because of my fear I almost missed seeing the glorious colours God created under the sea. There were moments - as I looked down on the brilliant coloured fish and the stunning coral and rock formations — when it was so peaceful and calm. I stopped swimming and let the salt water keep me afloat and I was still. Just the sound of my breathing, eyes wide open, I could see God's handiwork. I was immersed in it.
"Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
I am grateful for the experience and so with googles (mask), flippers (fins), and breathing straw (snorkel) in hand, I am ready for our next adventure in God’s beautiful world!
Join us this Sunday for worship at 11 a.m. and stay for our Annual General Meeting immediately following. Light refreshments will be provided. It will be full of wonderful surprises and moments you have to see to believe ;)
Also, join us at the cross each Tuesday morning at 8:30 a.m. Perhaps after you've dropped the kids off to school or on your way to work - pop in and join us for a time of prayer. It is a WONDERFUL way to start your day!