When we took her swimming in Lake Superior this summer, I carried her out into the deep water. Then I brought her toward shore & told her she could let go of me now, that the water wasn't over her head. She clung to me in panic, afraid that the water was too deep. I held on to her & said, "Just put your feet down." She put her feet down, and sure enough, the water wasn't much higher then her waist. She looked surprised and said, "Oh, I can touch."
It reminded me of some song lyrics that someone at GCM has posted in their signature by Kate Bush:
"Just put your feet down, child.
"Just put your feet down child,
The water is only waist high.
I'll let go of you gently,
Then you can swim to me."
Is this love big enough to watch over me?
Big enough to let go of me
Without hurting me,
Like the day I learned to swim?
A lot of people have taken a lot of different meanings from that song. (Yes, I looked around on the internet to see what other people had to say, and, no, I don't actually recommend her music, but I liked these particular lyrics.) For me, I've created my own meaning, about God, about God's love, a love big enough to let us make our own choices, let us swim, be free, find our own way back to God...because I just love the analogy. And I've seen it first hand with Mane and her panic about swimming. I sometimes want to laugh, but her fear is so real. Maybe God feels that way toward us sometimes, too. God sees us here clinging and panicking, and God is there to say, "Just put your feet down child. The water is only waist high." It's like when Jesus stepped into the boat, and the wind and the waves were still. God will hold us until we're ready to put our feet down, will carry us in the deep water, will speak softly to tell us when the water is only waist high.
I don't think it means that nothing bad will ever happen or that everything always turns out perfectly if we believe in God. For me, this has something to do with inner turmoil, with the calming of the anxiety storm. If I would just stop panicking and put my feet down, I'd see that God's rock is under my feet. The water is swirling all around, and I'm not going to get out of it, but I can plant my feet.
I think God carries us, though, carries us into the deep water sometimes, holds on to us when we're too afraid to put our feet down, speaks gently to us until we can unfold gently and walk in the water. God isn't going to let us drown. Jesus didn't let Peter drown when he walked toward Jesus on the water, and we aren't going to drown, either.
No, we're not going to drown. Be still and be carried or just put your feet down child, whichever place you happen to be in right now.