I love “Oceans.” You know what song I’m talking about—that famous one that pretty much all Christians like to claim as their favorite. Don’t get me wrong; I’m a part of that group. But it wasn’t until recently that I realized the true depth of the lyrics. Yes, we love singing it and the idea of ‘trusting without borders,’ but how exactly do we do that in our everyday lives?
I started this post early Christmas morning, but I’ve just now been able to finish it. My sweet pup had the Christmas jitters and woke me up at 5 AM, leaving me tossing and turning until I rolled out of bed and made hot tea. I sat at the foot of the Christmas tree with my tea and a journal and looked up at our (humongous) tree. I know it sounds cliché, but sitting and looking up at a Christmas tree makes me feel like a child again, eyes big with wonder and amazement.
I like to think that our Christmas tree is special, because it’s full of memories. Every year, each family member gets an ornament that symbolizes something that they’ve done in the past year: there are memories of graduations, baptisms, births, trips, and more that hang on our special tree.
Recalling ornaments from the past few years, I began to wonder about Christmas next year. What ornament of mine would be added to the tree? Where will I be living December of next year? What will I be doing?
At this point, I HAVE NO EARTHLY IDEA.
And let’s be honest; I’m a planner. I want to have everything planned out exactly the way it will happen, when I want it to happen. Saying ‘I don’t know’ in regards to my life after May rattles me to my bones, filling me with anxiety.
Throughout the past few months, my perspective on “Oceans” has changed, and now it has become a prayer I sing fervently, praising His sovereignty.
The lyrics stem from the ultra-famous story of Peter in Matthew 14, but it’s a story that blows my mind each time, nevertheless. In the midst of strong winds, God showed up (in the middle of the ocean) and showed off.
At this point, Peter seems to challenge Jesus, telling Him to ask him to walk on water. When Peter steps out of the boat onto the water, he participates in an impossible task.
Staying inside the boat, though still dealing with strong winds, was a comfort. Peter was where he knew he was safe. The moment his feet left the boat, he was in uncharted waters (literally). “Spirit, lead me where my trust is without borders,” comes from this key moment in biblical history because in that moment, Peter put every ounce of himself in God’s hands.
My family has moved several times in my life, and four years ago, I moved once more to Washington, DC. Now, I’m at a point where I have the desire to stay, to be in a place that is familiar, whether that’s Tennessee or DC. For me, these locations are a comfort zone, where I know nouns (people, places, and things). However, in the past two months, my pleading to stay in a familiar place has been answered with a ‘not yet,’ as evidenced by prayers, affirmation, and a lack of finding a school that’s right for me within those locations.
Trusting without borders.
Once Peter was out of the boat, he took a look at the wind, most likely fearful that it could knock him over, and began to sink. Wind = what ifs. Stepping out of the boat requires the first act of faith, but fearing what problems could happen by you embarking on this strange and impossible thing will make you sink.
Borders often appear in the form of fears, ‘what ifs,’ and doubts. Praying for trust without borders means being willing to leave that sturdy boat for rocky waves, impossible things, and fears disguised as invisible winds.
It looks like I’m stepping out of the boat.
Now, more than ever, the lyrics of the ever-so-popular “Oceans” resonates deep in my soul and my prayer remains the same. People continue to ask me what I’m doing after graduation in May, and my answer still hasn’t changed. However, that anxiety that rattled my bones before? It makes no sound.