Dead Man’s Float

Sometimes it feels like the blind leading the blind here.  This is the first time we’ve embarked on territory like this.  Brennan Manning said it well.  “The reality of naked trust is the life of a pilgrim who leaves what is nailed down, obvious and secure, and walks into the unknown without any rational explanation to justify the decision or guarantee the future.”

That pretty much sums up the road we find ourselves on.  In 11 days it will be 5 months since David lost his job.  It was not something we chose, it was what we were given.  Once we got over the initial shock we began to ask God, “what now”..  We agreed that it was time to do something different.  It was time to not allow the bills to dictate the job.  It was time to walk a more narrow path than we’ve known, stepping out into the unknown, trusting God with the results.

There is no rational explanation to justify the decision we’ve made, nor is there a guarantee of our future.  We walk by faith, not by sight, for honestly there’s not much to see right now.  Applications and resumes are out there.  No one’s biting.  Crickets are chirping getting louder with every day that passes, yet we wait, we choose trust.  What else is there after all?

If I were being honest I would have to say that it would be easier to handle things the way we were accustomed to using a lot of striving and self effort.  It feels much harder walking by faith, trusting the Spirit inside to guide us into what needs to be done, believing we are hearing well, and following rightly.

But is it?

Isn’t it true that when I let go of my ability to figure life out I get to rest in His?

Part of the training that David received in the Coast Guard was survival skills in water.  Dead Man’s float is what they call it.  You take a deep breath, stretch out face down in the water and just relax.  The air in the lungs becomes your floating device.

When a breath is needed, you stroke with your arms, kick easily with your legs, grab a breath and drop back down to float again.  A person can last for days floating along if need be. If they allow the shock of where they are to push them to swim, chances are they will eventually drown.  For they will exhaust their resources and succumb to their circumstances.

Have you ever tried floating in a body of water? Isn’t there something about it that feels uncomfortably out of control?  The times I’ve tried it I’ve found myself feeling helpless, causing me to get moving with strokes to get some where other than there.  It feels much harder to float than it does to swim.

Funny how that is.  It’s harder to rest than it is to work.

Life these days feels a lot like the immense, never-ending sea.  It’s seems easier to put forth my own efforts to try to make things happen.  It’s much harder to let the breath of God keep me afloat until the rescue comes.  Yet, I’ve been around the block enough to know that my vain attempts to be out of here will only leave me exhausted, getting me nowhere.   What else is there but to wait in expectation and hope on the One who created the heavens and the earth to come for me?

I’m learning to float in this vast, ocean of His great love where rest is found.  As I fight the urge to save myself I breathe Him in.  He is after all the breath of life that keeps me afloat.  Placing my face down, I allow my limbs to go limp as I choose to trust the One who came to rescue me.

How about you?

©copyrighted:  2011, Julie L. Todd

25 thoughts on “Dead Man’s Float

  1. Great post, Julie! Reminds me of a story my dad tells of being surrounded by the enemy all night in Vietnam and having to be still and quiet and wait for a helicopter that wouldn’t come until morning. Movement would have given their position away to the enemy. They had to be still and trust and wait for their rescue.

    • Ah dear friend, so good to see you here. I love the story that your dad told you. Such a perfect picture for this walk with Him. Thank you for coming here today. As always you bless me! xoxoxoxo

  2. My dear, dear friend! How I love reading your words. They challenge. They are familiar. They comfort. Thank you!

    Just this morning I read, “You can trust the Man who died for you!” The Man who died to save your life can be trusted with it. WOW! You are so, so right! It IS easier to work, put forth the effort, strive and strive. After all, God helps those who help themselves. I actually read a survey that gave the percentage of folks who thought that line was actually in the Bible. I do believe there are a few of us who have given the Trustworthy One a bad name.

    I don’t swim. I never learned how. Scared of the water since I was a small child. The idea of swimming or floating scare the bejeezus out of me. And that no doubt enters into my walk with Jesus. All I can say is He is much more patient with me than I am.

    • Ironic, Rebekah….I, too, do not know how to swim. SO, you are so right….the idea of floating, let alone swimming scares me to death. To just lie there and trust is much more difficult for me than to work at it. As I said in my comment, this makes me stop and think. I have much to consider here.

    • Oh my friend… my mother-in-law was one of those who thought that phrase was in the Bible. So glad that Jesus takes us where we are, swimming hard, floating easily or just scared to death to float at all… and loves us immeasurably….

      Love you my friend!

  3. This has definitely caused me to stop and think. Something I will think about for days, I’m sure. Thank you for speaking from your heart and words of wisdom. Greatly appreciated.

    • Kara, I’m so blessed that you are here. I pray that God pierces through your daily thoughts and brings a deep revelation for your heart! Blessings, my friend!

  4. As I doggy-paddle through life (never a good swimmer), I often need floating skills. Uncomfortable, for sure, though. I’ve always wondered why I hate living away from water, but I’m afraid of it if it is more than a few feet deep. I’m sure there is a lesson there somewhere. Can’t wait to see what it looks like when your rescue comes!

    • Carolyn, glad to have you doggy paddling along beside me! 🙂 I can’t wait for you to see what it looks like when my rescue comes! 🙂 SO good to have you here!

  5. I am struggling to float, to rest in God… It is so hard to quit struggling and trying to do it on your own. Thanks for sharing. God is the only one who can keep us floating, if we will just let him do the breathing. God bless. Laurie

    • Heather, SO blessed to see you here. Thank you for stopping by. Thank you for your kind words… and thank you for your prayers.. They matter, they truly do!

  6. Beautifully….beautifully written. I did not know you before…your past blogging self…but am excited to get to know you in this new “chapter” of your life. Just hang on with Faith…it’s so hard…but so worth it. My husband was let go and was without a job for about 10 months…right, smack dab in the middle of my relentless fight with depression. Needless to say, it didn’t really help things very much. I just thought of a beautiful song for you…you can find a link to it here ( I’ll be back to visit often…I love your insight.

  7. Oh, my! This is excellent. So appropriate for me today. Reminded me of the verse: Be still and know that I am God…that “Be still” literally means “drop your arms” or cease striving. Thanks for this post.

  8. Melanie, Thank you so much for coming and leaving these words. I’m so glad you are here. Thank you for sharing a little of your story as well as this beautiful song… Sometimes it’s really hard not to look at the circumstances for hope… but the more I look the more I find that my ONLY hope is in Him… not in what I see. I’m SO glad to meet you!!

    Many blessings,

  9. Hey Julie I got your post forwarded to me by brenda. I want to thank you for a perfectly timed call back to rest and trust. Loved it and will send on to others. God is using your life circumstances to be a clear message of His power made perfect in our weakness. Thanks so much for putting yourself out there….. He is worth it all!

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