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Faith Imagined: Swimming in Canals

Faith Imagined

Alisa Hope Wagner: Christian Writer

April 18, 2010

Swimming in Canals

I was jogging down one of my neighborhood main streets, which bridges over a canal. I felt God telling me to stop at a point on the sidewalk that looked over the middle of the water. I looked down and watched the canal curve and stretch before me. It was going in a different direction than my current path, and it lead into a part of the bay that I didn't quite know.

God said, "You're about to jump."

Of course, I knew God didn't mean for me to physically jump, but He was alluding to some kind of change in my life. A change that I was going to have to jump into. I was excited. I have several God-promises on the back burners just waiting to be served. I couldn't wait to find out what life circumstances God was going to shake up.

A day later, I read a book that has changed my life. As I read each chapter, it felt like a door was being opened in my mind -- a door that I had closed and forgotten about. While reading, I had to take little naps because the Holy Spirit was doing a lot of rewiring in my mind and spirit, and I was exhausted.

I didn't understand what was going on, but I knew it was special. My entire outlook on who I was in Christ and my relationship with Him began to focus with clarity, but this focus shot me into the depths of the unknown. After finishing the book, I realized that I had jumped from the bridge into the canal. I found myself flaying about in the water not knowing what to do next. I thought God was going to change my circumstances. I didn't know He was just going to change me.

What do you do when you jump into a canal? You swim. I'm determined to swim in this knew awareness that God has given me, and I know that it's part of my route to Jesus in Zion. I'm excited and intimidated about growing into this new stage of Christlikeness, but I'm ready for the challenge. I want to know God on a deeper level, and I'm willing to make the sacrifices to do so.

I'm realizing that this change is more important than any change in my circumstances. I know that God can and does use circumstances to change us, but I'm eager to try out a change that can't be seen with the human eye. I want a spiritual change; one that is initiated by my obedience.

I'm still learning, but I'm figuring out that Jesus is the core of all existence. He is the seed of life. If I can grow into my awareness of Him and into the fullness of who I am in Him, I believe that I'll be on the right path.

"For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross" (Colossians 1.16-20 NIV).

What about you? Have you ever experienced a book, conversation, a situation or a moment that changed your life? Were you able to take the plunge into the canal or did you keep jogging on your current path? How did this change effect who you are in Christ and your awareness about God's purpose for you?

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Blogger Andrea said...

Swimming with you,

8:30 PM  
Anonymous Ann Kroeker said...

I love your description of this moment with God on the bridge.

To jump into the water takes moment of faith; to swim takes steady, ongoing, daily committed faith.

You sound like you've got vision.

You sound ready.

May you go deep and far and gain much (and share with us along the way!).

9:26 PM  
Blogger INSIDE THE SHRINK said...

I did have a life changing experience from reading two different books. One was the Final Quest by Rick Joyner. Very deep spiritual preparation for the coming times. I realized my calling and what it would take to answer that call.

The other book was Why Godly People Do Ungodly Things by Beth Moore. What an eye opener. It was at a time in my life when I was condemning myself for a sin I had commited. It changed my life and gave me the strength I needed to forgive myself and keep working out my salvation.Thanks for a great post.

9:43 PM  
Blogger Braley Mama said...

I am so glad !!!! The Lord used KP Yohannan's book "Revolution in World Missions" to change my whole life. And now we are going to work for his organization, Gospel For Asia!!!

9:49 PM  
Blogger Taking Heart said...

I am so ready to take the plunge. I need to get wet. Feeling all dried up.

Love love LOVE your blog design, btw! Stained glass gives me that warm fuzzy old churchy feeling.


10:51 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

"I want a spiritual change; one that is initiated by my obedience. "...amen!! I know that's what it takes...

I was on the edge of a canal about two years ago after a situation happened with a family member...soon afterward, an eye opening book affirmed what I felt God was leading me to do...still hesitant( and stubborn)...I heard the Lord speak to my heart while I was driving home in a voice as clear as I have ever heard... confirming what I knew was to come...

I jumped in the water...late...but wholeheartedly....

10:52 PM  
Blogger Lynda Young said...

I'd love to know what the book was and how it changed your outlook.

I had a change once, but it was through a conversation between me and God. I was out walking and I found God there. It revived my faith and led me to be more active in my faith.

11:33 PM  
Blogger Family, Money and Stuff said...

Wow Alisa. I love it!

One moment I had like that was that I believed the Spirit was moving me to stand up in church right in the middle of the message. (ours is a conservative church - clapping, raising of hands and standing are limited) :) My heart pounded, and electricity seemed to shoot through my whole body. "What will people THINK?!?" I didn't do it.

After arguing with God about how foolish I'd look (and for no discernable reason), He seemed to clearly tell me "I was a fool for you" Ouch.

As I drove my car one day, I begged for another chance, and prayed that I would obey. Instantly the reply seemed to be "okay, then stop the car". Stunned, I pulled into the next drive, which was a park. I got out of the car, and was drawn to the ditch.
As I stood there, looking at the grass and small trail of water, Psalm 23 popped into my head.
... he leads me beside still waters
.. he restores my soul.

It was my assurance that he was lovingly training me, and would of course give me another chance.

It was real life proof that my Father loves me, even when I mess up, and has a good plan for me. I just need to trust him enough to follow.

11:58 PM  
Blogger ~*Michelle*~ said...

"If I can grow into my awareness of Him and into the fullness of who I am in Him, I believe that I'll be on the right path."

Yea and Amen!

Great post...leaving me thinking!

6:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had one life-changing experience where the words, "I am a child of GOd" became real (rama) - where I understood that Jesus loved me just as much as he loved Peter, James and John - I wasn't an unwanted child, but a child of the King!

God not only changed our circumstances lately (moving us to a new state), it was like jumping in the canal, and I am flaying,but trying to tread, to understand, to have hope - and to make out of this great challenge what I am supposed to in the manner I am supposed to. I am definitely not in my confort zone!

Jason Upton sings this in "I will wait"
"There's a wall that stands in front of me
That I know I just can't climb
And like an eagle you will carry me
Its just a matter of the time

I will wait for you, Jesus
You're the son in my horizon
All my hopes in you, Jesus
I can see you now arising

Evil armies all around me

I believe in the word that promises me
So I will wait another day"

Blessings on your journey!

9:39 AM  
Blogger alicia said...

Great post! I love how you say "I thought God was going to change my circumstances. I didn't know He was just going to change me."
We like to think we know what He's up to, but His plans are always so much more awesome than we could imagine.

9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you for such a wonderful illustration. it has spoken to me personally and also reminds me, our destiny is not a place but a journey filled with God moments like this one.


11:20 AM  
Blogger Missie said...

I read Crazy Love and Velvet Elvis back to back and it helped me create my blog and my desire to constantly feed my thirst!

12:43 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

I can't quite describe this season I'm in. But God is changing me. He's growing me. And I am truly thankful.

2:23 PM  
Anonymous Julie@comehaveapeace said...

It's a great picture, and it stirs up feelings of anticipation, excitement, hesitation, and even fear. Most of all, I think it stirs up my sense that I need to depend on Christ ... yup, I'm there. :)

4:14 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

I've already jumped in the canal and am learning how to swim. Great post and analogy (I'd also love to know what book you read!).

5:15 PM  
Blogger Karen Lange said...

How exciting for you! Blessings on your adventure:)

7:21 PM  
Blogger Bernadine said...

"I thought God was going to change my circumstances. I didn't know He was just going to change me.

I want to know God on a deeper level, and I'm willing to make the sacrifices to do so.

" Love this, there's so much in this post that ministered to me. I'd like to know the name of that book also:)

9:18 PM  
Blogger Randi Troxell said...

sometimes i have problems with faith.. but just reading this made my faith a bit stronger i believe..

thank you!

11:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SO..... What was the book??? Now we all want to read it!!

1:03 PM  
Blogger Melinda said...

I remember when I was a very young mom and completely unaware of my lack of boundaries and people pleasing, God led me to read A Woman After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George. I also stayed up all night reading it and had my way of thinking about God and life completely upended! It was the best thing that ever happened to me. I still remember and thank God for that night and revelation often!

Praise God for what He is doing and going to do in your life, Alisa!

3:29 PM  
Blogger prashant said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:18 AM  

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