Updated: Apr 1, 2021
I love scuba diving! It’s my favorite thing to do for fun and recreation. A few years ago, three of my four boys got certified on a family trip to Cozumel. I was so excited to have them share my love for underwater adventure, and I couldn’t wait to show them all the beauty waiting for them to discover under the sea! On our first dive together, the boys stayed back with the dive master to perform the skills required to gain their dive certification. Once they had completed the skills, they joined the rest of us who were already certified. I was SO excited to see them under the ocean, experiencing what I love so much. In my excitement, I went up to my youngest son, Samuel, and grabbed his BC (which is kind of like a life jacket) and shook him back and forth, saying “woo hoo” through my regulator, which of course he couldn’t hear! All at once, Sam’s eyes were as big as saucers and he was reaching for his extra regulator in total terror. I quickly gave him the dive sign that meant I was okay, and he settled down. I wasn’t sure what the deal was. When we got into the boat after the dive, he said, “Mom, what were you doing? I thought you were out of air and I totally panicked.” You see, I had given Sam the wrong signal. I was certified back in the 1980’s, and things have changed a bit since then. His training taught him that if someone comes up and grabs your BC and shakes you, it’s a sign that they are out of air. Whoops! I was trying to have fun. Sam thought I was in major trouble. I had definitely sent him the wrong signal. It makes me think about how many times I get the wrong signal from God. The greatest source of wrong signals for most of is our emotions. Our moods are fickle. God’s love and forgiveness are not.
There is no condemnation now for those who live in union with Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1 (GNT)
The truth is that God loves us unconditionally, with a perfect love that we struggle to completely understand. None of that love is based on what we’ve done but entirely on what He has done for us. There is no condemnation for us who have Christ living within us, yet so often we get the wrong signal when our lives are hard. We listen to the wrong signals that the world gives us, things like our worth is defined by our bank account, our past defines our future, and there’s no such thing as total and complete forgiveness. Here’s an example from my personal journey wrestling with the signals the world gives. When I look at life through the eyes of my performance goggles, for example, I see periods of waiting as some kind of failure on my part. I feel condemnation as I think to myself, “If I was only ‘good’ enough and did more, performed better, God would have answered me by now.” That’s a lie from the pit of hell! I’m learning to look at those delays as seasons of intense and beautiful growth. Those are the times that God is actually drawing me near to Him, giving me fresh insights, breaking down false beliefs, and growing my faith roots deeper and deeper. How about you, my friend? Are there ways you may be getting the wrong signal? Are you believing lies from the enemy that sound something like: God will never release me from the shame of my past. Delay means that I’m not praying right or doing enough. God only blesses the really “holy” people in the world, and I’m not one of them. The truth is, God is so pleased with you and loves you so much that He wants to come up to you and grab you by your BC and shake you with excitement! He loves that you are on the journey with Him, and He’s ready to show you the beauty to be found around you and within you. He wants you to know that truth of what He thinks about you, which is written in His Word:
His plans for you are good. (Jeremiah 29:11) You are wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14) You are completely forgiven. (Hebrews 7:27) He will give you the strength you need to get through. (Isaiah 41:10)
Think carefully about who and what you’re listening to, and make sure you’re not getting the wrong signals! Hugs and love, Jill