There’s a rule about surfing.

If you keep your eyes locked on the shoreline, you’ll ride the wave.

If you look down, however, you fall off — every time.

And sometimes, the falling off is rough. The mouthful of water you choke on, the hard landing of your feet on the sharp rocks below…It’s getting beat up and bruised a bit until you finally remember:

Keep your eyes on the shore.

It’s so easy to get distracted though. Until rising up and focusing becomes second-nature, your eyes look to your feet for assurance. “Am I standing up? Are my arms in the right position? Are my feet spaced properly? Oh wait! Look forward!…”

Reminds me of my relationship with Christ.

I can confidently say that I have been through a lot in the past decade. But each lesson or trial just keeps reminding me to look up. Keep my eyes on the shore. And if I fall off the board, it might hurt a little, but I can always paddle back out through the waves, turn my board around, and try again.

And letting Him carry me safely to shore is always a smoother ride than looking at my own two feet for ability and perfection.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13) Even when things feel wildly out of my own control. Even when I’m not where I’d like to be. Even when each day seems harder than the last. Even when loved ones die or my body fails me or it’s a mad scramble at the end of the month to pay the bills.

We all have those moments in life. Nothing is ever truly, 100% balanced.

And yet, by the grace and mercy of God…

The moment I become confident in self is the moment the board flips, the waves trick me, or I look down for just a second…and find myself tumbling. When I’m not checking off enough tasks on my to-do list, meeting all my big and lofty goals, generating ideas like a hamster on the exercise wheel — running as fast as I can but not actually going anywhere — I feel exhausted, aimless, and unsatisfied with ME.

But the moment I get to that point, the moment I have fallen off the board…He puts His hand out lovingly to invite me to get back up and try again. 

Because true success means finding my satisfaction in Him. Which only happens when I release my unrelenting need for control, and just let Him guide.

That’s when doors open without me pushing and pulling on them. That’s when situations causing me so much anxiety and worry take a backseat. That’s when the favor and blessings of God in the hardest moments become so undeniably clear.

Faith is definitely a lot like surfing. You don’t get to choose what happens to you, but you are responsible for how you choose to respond and act. Living your life totally dedicated to Jesus is not a ticket to getting out of life’s hardships, but instead, it is the strength to live each moment with joy, light, and love — in every circumstance.

And with practice and perseverance, the exhilaration of riding safely to shore indescribable.