In Search of Less Paddling; More Floating


August 6, 2014 by Beth Hess

floatI find myself paddling like crazy these days. Caught up in a whirlpool of woulds and shoulds and has-to-get-dones. I long to return to floating.

So I turn to my own reflections from the year my One Word was FLOAT and present a collection of excerpts that have stilled me again in these moments. May their ripples resonate through your busy-ness as well.


From Learning to Float, December 2011:

yield. breathe. rest. slow down. be. surrender. sabbath. relax. give up control. ease. lean. light. stillness. freedom. grace. contentment. worship. peace. open. efficient. expectant waiting. quiet. let go. effortless. dance with grace. Float.

In courage and faith I stepped into the river during 2011. And I believe God’s call to “float” in 2012 is acknowledgement that I am on the right path. The call is to let this current carry me this year. Floating is not about laziness or apathy. It’s a movement forward knowing God is in control. So I can stop being frantic – busy for the sake of busy. Lean on God. Rest in the shadow of His wing. And float.


From Five Minute Friday: Trust, February 2012:

Head back. Arms out. The water will hold.

And even as the sea rises and falls, it holds. Through the rain and the sun, it holds. Whether I stay face up at the sky of wide open possibilities or turn myself over to stare at the darkness below, the water holds.

And when I stay like this, it is effortless. I could do it for hours; days; a lifetime. So why do I fight the urge to check the bottom again? Can I touch? Should I paddle? Could I save myself? How far away is the shore? Am I the only one out here?

Nothing but the sound of my own breathing. The water holds. I am learning to float.


From Five Minute Friday: Here, August 2012:

Over and over I pull my hands from the wheel of control in my life. I remember, momentarily, to float. Only to grab it back and move things as frantically as I know. It must look just flat ridiculous to watch me travel this road, moving this way, then that.

Trying to drive from the passenger seat.


From Five Minute Friday: Graceful, September 2012:

It’s harder to float when the current is moving swiftly. The moves are not as relaxed as head back, arms out. The whole process – far less graceful.

As the water moves faster and in more directions, it’s harder to distinguish my floating from my paddling.

So these days I’m learning about floating through the rapids. The back-to-school, work till 5, juggling kids, teaching class, what’s for dinner, where’s my socks, have I remembered to kiss you today kind of rush of life’s river. The kind that can crash you into the rocks without warning and whose path is harder to see past the moment.

No, it’s not as graceful as green pastures and still waters. It’s not as easy for the floating.

But it’s the perfect time to remind myself to trust the flow, more importantly, trust the One who directs the stream. Even the fast one. And enjoy the ride.


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 Linking up with #ThreeWordWednesday friends. Link on the photo below to read more.


13 thoughts on “In Search of Less Paddling; More Floating

  1. Kim Fernando says:

    Beth, I got so much out of this. What a word… I would have never thought to float. Thank you for sharing that. God’s doing something in me right now that’s changing my life. And you’re totally right… not a coincidence that you stopped by at the same time!


    • Beth Hess says:

      I promise you, Kim, that FLOAT came to me from total frustration. I was talking with a friend about all the things going on in my life and finally said, “I’m just paddling and paddling and getting no where.” She, in her wisdom, asked, “What would you rather do.” I took a deep breath and whispered, “I just want to float.” It’s been changing me ever since. Praying grace and peace for you during this time of transition.


  2. aljung72 says:

    Thanks for visiting me. I see that your post here matches well with some of my thoughts this week. I like the imagery you use here of floating. Wow–gives me lots to chew on and deepens my grasp of what God seems to be speaking to me about lately in regards to fear and trust. Blessings…


    • Beth Hess says:

      We do have a lot of themes in common this week, huh? I love when God brings us alongside others at just the time we need it. FLOAT has been a game-changer for me. I’m blessed it ministered to your spirit, too.


  3. I love all your images of floating and that line of driving from the passenger seat-oh I can relate! Your words from your December 2011 post are just perfect-surrender, contentment, expectant waiting were some of my favorites. Thank you so much for these reminders.


  4. Love this line: “trust the One who directs the stream.” Thanks for this great reminder to rest in Him. So glad I hopped over here from the blog link-up! Blessings!


    • Beth Hess says:

      Yes, Renee. The only reason to need a paddle is to change your course or change your speed. If you trust the stream, you can just float. Thanks for coming by.


  5. FLOAT …. calm, tranquility, peace. gentle waves rock me to a slumber that rejuvenates and restores.

    no one rock my boat, please. for this I need …


  6. Cheryl Smith says:

    I loved reading this tonight…the dear Lord always knows what we need when we need it. “driving from the passenger seat”….I LOVED that. How often do I try to do that? Too often, sad to say. Just this morning, God was speaking to me in prayer about some issues we are facing in our lives, and He said this…”Allow Me to do what I need to do without the interruption of your plans.” Whew! I am still chewing on that one…boy, did it hit a raw nerve. I sat for around 30 minutes, as He spoke profound truth to me…it was PRECIOUS to my soul. I love when He does that and draws near. Floating requires a great deal of trust…and that is exactly the place He longs to see us reach..where we can fling ourselves recklessly out….reckless abandon to His will and His design, knowing without a shadow of a doubt that His everlasting arms will be there…they will not let us drown. I leave here refreshed…as always…thank you, dear friend.


    • Beth Hess says:

      Cheryl… this sounds like a “raw nerve” moment God & I had many years ago when he said to me, “Watch and see what I will do. IF YOU GET OUT OF MY WAY!” Less paddling; more floating. Thanks for joining me on the quest.


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