As a Christian woman leader sometimes I have felt disrespected and unwanted. One time after this happened I heard a pastor say, “God’s love is like the ocean, but we come with a little cup, scoop it up, and walk away.”
I realized that was true for me at that moment. I taught that God is our heavenly Father who loves us perfectly, but deep in my heart I held back and had doubts. I was trying to feel loved by getting people to admire me.
Pleasing people and working hard to earn their approval in order to feel secure and confident doesn’t work.
By falling into those patterns I was settling for little cups of water when God offers us a whole ocean of living water!
So I began asking Jesus to help me appreciate and trust his Father’s love. I felt drawn to set aside some blocks of time to be alone with God, but I didn’t know where to start. I prayed and sensed an invitation from the Lord Jesus, “What is something you enjoy doing? Let’s do that together.”
I remembered as child how I loved to float on a raft in warm water and soak up the sunshine. I sensed Jesus was inviting me to go out into the ocean with him to appreciate my heavenly Father’s immense and unfailing love.
Where I live the ocean is cold! But I was desperate for more of God’s love, so I bought a wetsuit. To help me pray I memorized 1 Corinthians 13, the Bible’s famous love chapter.
Then I slipped into my wetsuit and I ventured out into the ocean on my raft. At first I was anxious about navigating the waves and I felt afraid of jellyfish and sharks. But as I meditated on 1 Corinthians 13 I began to relax and settle into laying back onto the ocean.
As I floated I’d pray through the attributes of God’s perfect love starting with, “Love is patient” (1 Cor. 13:4). God, your love for me is patient. What are ways I am experiencing your patient love? What are ways I am not experiencing it? When have I felt unwanted or disrespected by people?
Then I’d thank God for being patient with me and my feelings. I’d pray for him to strengthen my trust in his patience. Then I did that for “Love is kind” and all the attributes of God’s love (1 Cor. 13:4-8).
More and more I began to feel soothing peace and rising confidence. It was like I was being held and rocked by God as my Abba Father.
Perhaps you relate to my story? You’ve heard the truths about God’s love and you’ve known them in your head and professed to believe them, but maybe you haven’t been experiencing them as reality, actually available for you to enjoy in your life circumstances today.
You don’t have to settle for a little cup of God’s love — you can lay back into the arms of Jesus and float on the ocean of Abba’s vast and winsome love!
Try the simple steps that God gave me:
- Imagine yourself floating on the ocean as you lay down to relax
- Pray a Scripture that emphasizes God’s love (e.g., “Love is patient; love is kind…)
- Be emotionally honest in prayer about ways you’re not experiencing God’s love
- Offer thanks to God for specific attributes of his love
Thank you, Jesus. You show us that God is our Father who loves us without limits. Even when it doesn’t feel like it, we’re immersed in an ocean of your loving presence. Amen.
Listen to this week’s SoulTalk episode: Taking the time to reflect on the wounds from our parents creates greater space to receive grace from our heavenly Father. Bill shares the work that he’s done in naming both the gifts and pain he’s experienced from his father and how he has stepped into forgiveness and freedom. We heal to experience God’s grace and to extend more authentic love to others. Bill and Kristi end with a moment to connect with your heavenly Father and receive his great love.