The boat started. The rope tightened. My knees were pushed against my chest as the wake board was starting to hold my body weight. I thought to myself, “I can do this.” I started going back through the instructions in my head. Squat. When out of the water turn with right foot back. Slowly stand up. Start wake surfing.
Simple. It was peaceful. At first. As I started to be pulled out of the water I put too much pressure on my heels. So I overcompensated and therefore the front end of the surf board sunk into the water sending me forward. As my board began to sink, I clinched the only thing I could for some comfort. The rope. Quickly, my faced smacked the water.
It sounds like common sense. Let go of the rope. This unspoken rule wasn’t able to process in the .003 second reaction time that I was designated. After checking to see if I had a concussion I gave it another shot. This time I got out of the water but as I was surfing my feet became unstable and I fell. Then the guy showing us how to wake surf gave me some advice that is pivotal for wake boarding, but also pivotal for life.
He said “If you look at the waves you will move with the waves, but if you look at the boat you will move like the boat.” In other words, if you want to be steady then look at something steady.
I believe this is more than a wake boarding principle, but is a principle grounded in scripture. How can we attain a steady life? The story of Jesus walking on water gives us a glimpse of how to attain this steady life (if you are not familiar with the story then check out Matthew 14:22-36).
Rule #1 – if you want to be steady then look at something steady
As Jesus casually walks on water beside the boat Peter calls out to him and says, “Lord, if it’s you tell me to come to you on the water.” (v28). This is a bold statement, but in this moment Peter understood this rule. As he looked at Jesus, in the middle of a storm, he knew that he could stand in the midst of chaos and have a steady heart.
The psalmist says, “But you [God] remain the same, and your years will never end.” (Ps. 102v27). When you look at Jesus you look at the immutable God. As the waves of life crash your boat and the winds of worry continue to blow what you look at will determine if you will be steady.
What are you looking at today? What is capturing your attention? Your steadiness is dependent upon your focus.
Rule #2 – act on God’s word
When Jesus said to come out of the water I wonder if Peter hesitated. I wonder what he was thinking. I wonder if his knees shook as he attempted to do something only seconds ago he thought was impossible. Yet, with instruction from the mouth of God, Peter stepped.
Do you think Jesus would’ve asked Peter to get out of the boat if he thought Peter couldn’t walk on water? Do you think Jesus would ask you to do something if he thought you didn’t have the faith to complete it?
God may be asking you to share the gospel, date your spouse, tithe, start serving in your local church, write a book, begin to preach, or simply love your neighbor. Whatever it may be you can know that God will complete the good works he has started within you. Emotions may be heavy. Fear is real, but so is Jesus. A life not shaken by the waves is a life that acts when God speaks.
It is important to notice that even though Peter acted upon God’s word he still fell. The way of Christ isn’t the safest way. But it is life to the full. It is all of you fully alive to the reality of your creator. Safe doesn’t compare to the savior.
Rule # 3 – find a rhythm of solitude
Jesus sent the disciples on their way, but he stayed back. “And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone,” (v23).
Solitude is the time that sets your heart on your eternal home. All throughout the Gospels Jesus goes to spend time alone. If Jesus is the model that we reflect our lifestyles upon, then Jesus is telling us to have rhythms of solitude. Solitude is not simply being alone. Solitude is not a Bible study. Solitude is being alone so that you can be fully present with God.
It is ruthlessly cutting distractions. It is coming home to your creator. It is a place of rest for your soul to realign your life to what matters most. Solitude is a source for steadiness.
Why such a big deal about steadiness? Because if we don’t live a steady life then we will go wherever the waves want us to. We will be pushed by anxiety, stress, and busyness and become someone that we never wanted to be. John Mark Comer says this, “What you give your attention to is the person you become.” (Ruthless Elimination of Hurry). Who are you becoming?