Have you been out of your depth recently? I have. It is easy to feel swamped and overwhelmed. My tendency – even as an M.E sufferer – is to rush into things with both feet, arms flailing, legs akimbo. What I may lack in skill I more than make up for in enthusiasm as I eagerly bound into new things. Then I surface – red faced and breathless – left choking and spluttering.
But the more experienced people dive in smoothly and swim around in a seamless, steady, effortless, professional and efficient fashion. They look so graceful and confident. Life is easy for them. At least that’s how it seems. Oh, how I long to Be Them and no longer out of my depth.

Why am I always the one left slinking off to the shallow end, desperately searching for something to hold on to? While I recover my breath and try to feel the surface beneath my feet again.

What started out looking comparatively easy and straightforward has brought too many challenges to deal with by myself. Or what looked too difficult becomes something I try to ignore and avoid doing.

Perhaps I’m not alone? Maybe someone else can relate to these feelings.

  • A failure
  • Procrastinator
  • Inadequate
  • Hopeless

Sometimes life can cause us to react like this if:

  • Waves of worry have sunk us into a fit of depression
  • Tides of terror stalk our days and nights as fear knocks us sideways
  • Streams of sorrow engulf and threaten to drown us
  • Ripples of resentment or regret filter continually through our minds
  • Crustaceans of comparison have stolen our joy

Our tendency may be to run away from our problems when waves of crisis or difficulty loom on the horizon. Though we might subsequently suffer from more difficulties and frustrations later on. Which is a direct consequence of our immediate cowardice or procrastination. Guess what? Such feelings are more common than we think – especially with things we ought to rather than choose to do.

A biblical example of being out of one’s depth

In fact, the Bible has a great example in the book of Jonah. When he tried to run away from the clear challenge God had presented to him of preaching His word of repentance to the people of Nineveh, his life became far more complicated and dangerous as a result. He ended up in the belly of a great fish:

“Lord..You hurled me into the deep, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped round my head” ~ Jonah 2:3, 5
 He was someone who felt resentful and overwhelmed by the commission he was given. And he chose to follow his own instincts rather than the path that God had chosen for him. Yet God showed Jonah grace and mercy. He did this by arranging for him to be swallowed by the fish instead of drowning. Then Jonah was rescued and given a second chance. Jonah’s out of his depth story shows us that:
  • Our way of looking at a situation is not the same as God’s
  • Our disobedience can be costly
  • Our mission and calling are important
  • Our trust in God to see us through is vital
  • Our experiences can be lessons for others

ocean waves - out of my depth - The best way to beat the waves quote (C) joylenton @wordsofjoy.me

How we can beat the waves that overwhelm us

The best way to beat the waves of trials and painful challenges is to face them and admit our need of help outside our own resources. So where did the defection and dereliction of duty leave Jonah? In the belly of a whale – a place where he gained a fresh perspective. Often God positions us in such a place. It may come by various means.

But we can always rely on it to make us sit up and reconsider what God is asking us to do. God will still fulfil His purposes in, through and even despite of us at times. Grace and help are freely available.

“And when by God’s grace I come through it all? Oh, the relief when I know the problem is behind me. With God’s help I’ve beaten it. What an invigorating feeling!” ~ from ‘Secret Strength’ by Joni Eareckson Tada

We are helped far more than we may know:

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” ~ Isaiah 41:10

I would love you to share your own experiences:

Can you relate to feeling out of your depth?
What helped or hindered the process?
Did a fresh perspective help you to see life differently?