Have you ever felt the ship you’ve been sailing on has capsized and you’re stuck in the ocean, fighting for all you’re worth just to keep your head above the water? Do you feel like you’re drowning? Perhaps you can push yourself up enough to get a breath, and then another waves pushes you farther down than you ever were before? Are you starting to wonder if maybe you aren’t going to make it back up next time?
Now imagine that same situation, but with your arms full. Imagine holding on to your precious children, your great job, your amazing friends, your pets, or whatever else is important to you. You fall off the boat clinging on to all of these things. What’s going to happen? You’ll find yourself drowning.
That has been me in recent months and even years. Drowning in self-pity, anger, frustration, fear, circumstances, and obligations. And I have a feeling I’m not the only one.
Maybe you’ve brought some of it on yourself. Maybe you truly are a victim of circumstance. But regardless of how you got here, what do you do know that you’re completely drowning in the ocean of life?
Step 1: Let Go
If you’re holding on to everything you hold dear, you, and those things and/or people are going to drown very, very quickly. While it’s true you may be able to swim holding on to one or two things, you’re going to have to let go of the rest.
Maybe you can’t handle your 80 hour a week job that’s causing so much stress you’re in the hospital. Let it go. Find a way to reduce your hours or find another job.
Maybe you can’t handle the 400+ legos in your kids room that you’re picking up day after day. Let go.
Maybe you can’t handle taking care of 33 cats and 6 dogs. The expense of food and vet visits, the amount of hair, and the lack of company may be dragging you down. Let go.
Step 2: Look Around, Not Down
Don’t look at the depths of the water. Don’t look at the waves coming in. Look around you. See what’s happening. Which way is shore? Which way do you need to go? Is there something near by that could help you? Can you grab onto a branch? Or flag down a ship?
What is the end result of your struggle? Figure out exactly where you need to get to feel safe again. Do you need to get your finances sorted out? Do you need a clean home? Maybe your pets need better training? Do you need a less stressful job?
What’s within your grasp right now that can propel you towards that goal of safety?
Also look at the upcoming dangers. What can you to avoid them or prevent them from affecting you?
Do you know it’s going to get hard to pay the bills? Start budgeting and cutting costs as much as you can. Do you know you’re going to feel lonely? Make plans for activities with friends/family during that time.
Step 3: Get Help
When you’re drowning, the worst thing you can do is try to survive on your own. It probably isn’t going to happen. So get help. Send up a flare. Wave your arms. Shout. Scream. Cry.
Let those closest to you know that you’re in danger. Tell them where you are. And when they come near, allow yourself to be rescued. Grab the life preserver. Allow yourself to be lifted up onto the boat.
This sounds so simple, but so many times I’ve rejected help and just allowed myself to struggle on my own against drowning. Call it pride, fear, mistrust, or whatever you would like to call it, but it’s gotten much worse lately.
The “I’ll do it myself” mentality is so important at times. It’s a skill I’ve taught my children. But it’s also an easy way to drown in your circumstances. So many people near you are waiting and willing to help. They just don’t know where you’re at. They don’t know what’s happening. Let them help you.
Step 4: Rest
Once you’re in the arms of safety, stay out of the water for a little while. Don’t go diving back in straightaway. Simply allow your body to recover, to rest, and to heal. Focus on proper nourishment, hydration, and rest.
If you get to the place that you can breathe easier, relish in it for a while. No, I’m not saying become a lazy bum who does nothing, but see how you ended up in the drowning situation and evaluate how you can prevent it from happening again.
Were you holding on to too much? Or Were you working too hard? Were you failing to trust God? Consider what it was, and what you can do about it. But most of all, just let yourself heal before you go getting busy again. You need your rest.
Do You Ever Feel Like You’re Drowning?
How do you handle it? What do you do? Let me know in the comments below!