I will admit that I know next to nothing about surfing, and most of my knowledge comes from bad Australian soaps that I watched as a child – but I’m pretty sure that the process goes something like this: you paddle until your arms hurt, and you’re in deep enough water that you will be able to get some momentum; you turn the board around and face the shore, looking back until you see a wave approaching; and then there’s this magical moment when you feel the wave underneath you, somehow get two feet planted on the board, and sail on home to the shore.
I had been listening to a podcast about the music industry before I left work yesterday, and George Ezra (who I love dearly) had described the point that he is at in his career as “riding the wave”: he’s written and released a great album, and now he’s touring and enjoying the success of that. I was having a little discussion with God off the back of that: my train of thought had gone off from that point in the podcast, and I was saying to God that I don’t feel, and haven’t felt in this season, particularly in terms of my different creative projects, like I’m riding the wave – whether that be because I’m doing something wrong, whether I just don’t have the skills for something, or whether I just need to hold on through it and come out the other end.
I had a great natter with God about this the whole way home, and this chat made me laugh out loud on my bike in the center of Cambridge. I don’t know if you’ve ever felt like this – like some part of life feels more like paddling hard against the tide, than plain sailing – but I thought I’d share what He said to me, in case you’re in need of the same encouragement.
Sure, girl, you’re not quite riding the wave yet – but you’re not just paddling against the wind either. You’re in that moment that is so important: you’ve worked so hard, and you’ve done what you need to do to get out to the point where the waves are big enough. You’ve turned yourself around and you’ve fixed your sights on the shore –
and it is t i m e t o j u m p u p.
You’re in the right kind of water; you’ve traveled far enough; and you have more than enough skills and strength in you to get up, and sail on home.
At this point in the ride, a good surfer doesn’t need to fear. The adrenaline is there, sure – it’s a big, exciting move to make – but they know that the worst case scenario, generally, is that they won’t quite catch their balance, and they’ll wobble and fall into the waves below. Even if they get injured in the fall, they know that they’ll recover and they’ll be straight back in the waters.
So this is a fun move. They’ve trained for this; they’ve practiced, and tried, and failed, and tried again. They’ve paddled long and hard enough to make it out to the point that they are at now. So they take a deep breath, they pause for a moment and then they go for it – they land two feet firmly on the board, and they stand, with the biggest smile on their face.
It’s the moment before they can breathe out and enjoy the ride – but they know that if they can get this bit right, they’ll sail all the way to the shore.
Take a moment to pause and look up, if it feels like you’re paddling against the tide, friend.
It’s time to jump up.