As part of a group white water rafting for the first time, I listened intently to the guide’s instructions. Her advice was clear and matter-of-fact: wear your helmet, hold on to your oar, and lock your feet under the seat in front of you to keep from falling out of the raft.
Since an abrupt exit had never occurred to me, I leaned in a little closer. The instructions for those who may end up in the water were delivered as if it’s no big deal to leave the safety of a perfectly good raft and the support of your guide and crew:
- Don’t try to stand up. The rapidly flowing water will knock you down.
- Avoid attempting to go against the current. You’ll get nowhere, except tired and frustrated.
- Relax and lie on your back, floating face up and feet first (so you won’t bump your head on the rocks).
- Continue floating until you reach the river bank or you’re scooped up by another raft.
We hopped into the raft, confident our watery training would not be needed. And it wasn’t until the end of a delightful day when we reached the fateful rapid. Everyone except the guide and me soared out of the raft. Yep, that’s me crumpled on the raft floor.
Although I didn’t use the “float” strategy that day, it occurred to me that this advice applies to everyday life. When faced with challenges, we often try to stand on our own, staunch against whatever comes. We even fight against the current, zapping all our strength and often getting nowhere. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is relax, fix our eyes toward heaven, let God take control and trust He will carry us safely to where He wants us.
Recently a difficult situation tossed me into rough emotional waters. My usual reaction was to take control and make a way to get out. This time however I felt a nudge to ‘float.’” Waiting was difficult, but I spent my time and energy reflecting on God and His will. The situation did not turn out as I’d hoped, but I was able to accept the outcome knowing I had “floated” through it.
Can you think of a time when you chose to “float”? Maybe you are facing a challenging situation right now. I’d love to hear about your experience.
(Helmet and oar not required.)