“What takes more faith?” my counselor asked me. “Swimming or drifting?”
It was part of our ongoing conversation to unravel why I couldn’t sit through a church service without panicking. I explained that my “faith” felt like constant effort to stay afloat and try to get to God, who stood on the shore.
I was exhausted from swimming. But there was pressure from every side to keep going, keep moving, keep trying. If I stopped, I might drown.
“What if you just drifted?” she suggested.
“That’s just as bad.” If I stopped going to church, stopped having ‘daily devotionals,’ stopped reading my Bible — I’d eventually drift away from God.
“But you aren’t just stopping. You’re resting. You’re healing. Maybe you can stop swimming and just float for a while.”
It sounded wonderful. Stop worrying about doing stuff for God. Not keeping my wounded faith propped up by my own painful efforts.
“But I can’t do that, can I? Won’t I drift away?”
And she asked — which really takes more faith? Endless effort, or rest?
In the end, I really had no choice. I had to relax and drift. I stopped going to church and took joy in peaceful Sundays. I didn’t worry about Reading My Bible Every Day (TM). My prayers are undefined and inarticulate most of the time.
When the water covers my ears and gets in my eyes, and I get panicky — I remind myself that one day I’ll reach the shore again. I’ll go back to church. I’ll read my Bible again, and I’ll find words for my prayers.
I draw heavily from DJ’s steadfast faith. I depend a lot on my family and friends who are strong enough to give me a hand.
The fact is, it takes a great deal of faith to drift, and most of it’s not my own. But I’m less anxious about it now, ever since I realized that God isn’t standing on the shore anyway.
He’s right there with me in the water.