When You Want To Dive Deep but Feel Stuck in the Shallows

Gold Brush Stroke

Sometimes we’re on the verge of diving deep and we don’t even know it.

Five and a half years ago I began this blog. Nothing fancy, it started as a place to offer encouragement to those who found themselves stuck in the mess of life. 

A modest beginning, with a couple friends and few family members tuning in, my influence and reach grew very slowly. So slowly, in fact, I had moments of doubt. 

Did I sense God’s direction correctly? Am I foolish to be encouraging others when I’m living in a mess myself?  And the age-old, what do I have to offer? 

Yet, in obedience, I continued to offer up my meager sacrifice of time. 

Dive deep or stay shallow: trust God

And God!

And God …

In a 36-hour window God multiplied. He touched and anointed and encouraged. In awe, I watched as my reach nearly doubled in less than 2 days time!

I mean I simply stared, hardly daring to believe what I was seeing. 

Honestly, this growth had little to do with me. I didn’t do anything different than I had for any of the other 48,180 hours of my blogging life.

Digging into blog and social media analytics, I couldn’t see any reason for this exponential growth. It made no sense, in my eyes.

But I’m sure it made perfect sense in God’s. 

Isn’t that how God often works? We think we’re doing all the right things, yet He often waits until we can claim none of the credit before providing the blessings.

His actions say, trust ME, not yourself, to do the multiplying! He may do the multiplying slowly over a long period of time, other times rapidly, like overnight. 

God often waits to provide the blessings: His actions saying, trust Him, not yourself, to do the multiplying! Share on X

Dive Deep or Wade in the Shallows

We often think we need to jump right into the deep end quickly for God to provide His miraculous intervention. And sometimes that’s the case. 

But other times He’s asking us to wade in slowly. Like engaging a gradually sloped beach instead of a sudden drop-off one. Or like entering a zero-entry swimming pool versus one that begins at the 3-foot level. 

Diving deep into our faith, into what God has for us, does involve some intentionality on our part. We do have to enter the water. Yet God’s ultimately in charge of whether we’ll be diving in quickly or wading in slowly at any given time. 

So don’t despair when He seems to be keeping you in the shallow end longer than you’d like. Don’t become frustrated when He has you at a gently sloped beach when all you want is to swim the deep waters. 

God’s timing is perfect. He wants you to go deep in life and deep in faith. But He will direct how it all ultimately plays out in your life.

3 Ways to Wait More Patiently on God’s Timing

Here are three ways I’ve learned (the long, hard way) to more patiently wait on His timing: 

  • Engage with God daily.
    • You have to be near Him to know His heart, to sense His next step for you. 
    • You can’t be obedient without knowing what that looks like. 
  • Be obedient.
    • Move in the direction you sense Him leading. 
    • Don’t quit if you don’t see results. God’s work in our lives is often masked from us for a season. Keep taking that next step and the next and the next (even if you remain in the shallow and you’d rather be in the deep).

“‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
and your ways are not My ways.’
This is the Lord’s declaration.” Isaiah 55:8

  • Focus on Him and His work for and in you, not His work for and in someone else. 
    • We all need blinders. Comparison is deadly to following where God is leading you. 
    • The work and timing He has for you is unique to you. Quit looking around to see if you’re doing it right. If you are drawing near to God each day, He is drawing near to you, and He will impart His will for you, even if it’s simply to wait for now. 

You want to go deep: deeper in your faith, deeper in your life’s work, deeper in your relationships. I get it. I really do.

But may I gently remind you, and me, to be patient. 

The Adventure

God will guide you into the deep. But you need to be ready. Trust Him to have the best timing for you.

God will guide you into the deep. But you need to be ready. Trust Him to have the best timing for you. Share on X

And then experience the adventure of His miraculous work in your life, in both the shallower and the deeper aspects of life! 

“So don’t throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you need endurance, so that after you have done God’s will, you may receive what was promised. 37 For yet in a very little while, the Coming One will come and not delay.” Hebrews 10:35-37

Reflections: Does God have you in a season of wading in the shallows or diving into the deep? Which is hardest for you to remain obedient in?

I am always thrilled to link up with Suzie Eller for #livefreeThursday and this week’s prompt, “into the deep.” Click on the image to check out the wonderful encouragement.


There’s still time to enter my giveaway of my friend Rachel Wojo’s book, One More Step : Finding Strength When You Feel Like Giving UpFind the entry widget at this post: “Find the Strength to Take the Next Step (review and giveaway)”.

By His Grace,



  1. Laura Naiser on March 3, 2016 at 10:16 am

    Such a great post, Julie! And one I needed to hear this week! I really appreciate you reminding me of this truth!!

    • Julie Sunne on March 4, 2016 at 6:16 am

      My pleasure, Laura. Needing to reminded about His perfect timing often myself.

  2. Carly on March 3, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    It’s so true that the important thing is following where God is leading whether that means plunging into the deep end or edging our way into shallow water. Great reminder of God’s perfect timing- it’s so easy to think we know how things should be working out and to get frustrated when actually we should just be seeking him. Visiting from #LiveFreeThursday.

    • Julie Sunne on March 4, 2016 at 6:17 am

      Yes, Carly, I should quit thinking I know how it will all play out. I know the ultimate ending: that should be enough! Thanks for the visit and comment.

  3. Ludovica Oddi on March 4, 2016 at 2:50 am

    I don’t know Julie. I mean, you are right. His time is not ours and we surely have to wait for Him in hope. And, thank God, nothing seems so bad in my life. “Are you happy?” A maid asked to Lord Grantham in a Downton Abbey episode. “I have not the right to be unhappy, that is almost the same” he replies. And that fits me perfectly. Then, why am I stuck in the same old root of depression, after so many years and so many reasons to feel perfecty blessed? Don’t you think that sometimes diving slowly seems so much similar to drowning?

    • Julie Sunne on March 4, 2016 at 6:24 am

      Diving slowly can be scary and frustrating, Ludovica. We wonder if we clearly understand the direction He wants us to go. We long for the destination to be in view. We want God to reveal His hand in our lives, to lay down His cards and reveal all the steps He has in mind for us. However, what faith would that require?

      When I begin to feel suffocated, it’s because I’ve let myself peer too far into the future. God says, His grace is sufficient, and it is. But it is sufficient for each moment, not for the future moments that have not happened yet. When we look into the future, we are seeing life’s events without yet experiencing the grace for those moments. Praying that you experience His grace sufficient for each step you take and feel His peace deep in your heart and soul.

      • Ludovica Oddi on March 4, 2016 at 12:28 pm

        So very true Julie. And what you said recalled to me that being able to experience the grace of the moment is both a mindful will and the divine work of the Holy Spirit in us. A grace in the grace, I might say. Or are they both the same? Yes, I believe so. Thanks for your kind words.

        • Julie Sunne on March 4, 2016 at 1:18 pm

          I agree with your insight, Ludovica, and you’re most welcome.

  4. Cecelia Lester (Quiet Spirit) on March 5, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    This is a tender subject for a Christian. Waiting on anything is difficult. But we learn to wait on Him as we learn more of Him. I find myself waiting for His direction for my life as I continue doing the things I believe He wants me to do. Sometimes, people around me don’t understand why I do as I do,But God knows and allows me to do what He directs me to do.

    • Julie Sunne on March 7, 2016 at 10:10 pm

      Yes, it is difficult, Cecelia. We simply keep moving forward, one step at a time, in the direction we sense God leading.

  5. Kristine Brown MTY on March 7, 2016 at 7:55 am

    This is so good Julie. I love your three tips – priceless! We can follow all the formulas and listen to all the experts, but God is always in control. And to top it off, He will do things in ways we cannot understand! Thank you for sharing this testimony of God’s sovereignty and helpful words. Blessings!

    • Julie Sunne on March 7, 2016 at 10:11 pm

      He is and He does, Kristine! You’re very welcome.

  6. Cindy@myseaofthought on March 7, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    Oh boy Julie this post hits close to my heart! I need the three tips desperately! I feel once again that God has used your words to speak to me! Thank you for sharing them, Cindy

    • Julie Sunne on March 7, 2016 at 10:19 pm

      I’m grateful you are finding something helpful in my words, Cindy. God is good!

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Julie Sunne

Hello, I'm Julie, an imperfect wife and mother of four. Life in this broken world is not always easy. Yet, joy can be found in each day through the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I find it's easy for our day's blessings to get lost in its happenings. But God's "mercies never end" (Lamentations 3:22) and His "grace is sufficient" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

May the posts and pages on this site offer you a measure of peace and encouragement.

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