Letting Go in the Deep End: A 31-Day Series

by | Sep 30, 2013 | Uncategorized


The longest I’ve lived in one place, for my entire life, is five years. The house where I’m living right now, it wins the prize for longevity.

In the early years of my adolescence, after my parent’s divorce at age three, my mother moved us into a new apartment in a new suburb every couple of years, usually at her emotional low point. Change seemed like the best solution when everything else was falling apart.

Hope smells like new carpet and a fresh coat of paint. Except once the newness wears off, you’re stuck with the familiar odor of yourself. The same reflection looking back in a different mirror, it becomes a deeper disappointment in new circumstance.

Soul change doesn’t come from changing things on the surface. It happens when we wade from the comfortable shallow end into the deep unknown waters of life’s pool.

After H and I got married, the moves became less about escaping circumstances and more about hearing God’s familiar voice say, Go. A few months after we got married, we were confident (or naively foolish) enough in His intonation that we packed up a U-Haul before H’s seminary acceptance, the security of paychecks; before casting a single glance on the town where we were moving. We still look back on that desperate time as newlyweds with fondness and deep gratitude.

I experienced living in a house with my last name on the mortgage for the first time when I was pregnant with my second child. Every three years, the moving fidgets return for me. It’s part of my DNA to change locations. While contentment in the same place is a given for some, for me it’s the victory dance after a tedious, sometimes painful, inner struggle.

When Jesus approached the disciples after a disappointing day of fishing, he climbed into one of their empty boats, pushed off and taught from his watery pulpit. Afterward, He instructed the disciples to push out into deep water and let (your) nets out for a catch. (Luke 5)

The disciples recounted their experience, in case Jesus wasn’t aware they’d been fishing all night, doing what they always do in the same spot, without a single slippery, bug-eyed catch. Providentially, they decided to appease him, pulling in miraculous mounds of scaly riches.

I would’ve loved to see the looks on their faces.

I like to imagine that the disciples had the latest fishing rods, years of experience, premium bait, perhaps even the sage advice of mentors regarding their careers in the fishing industry. They’d done everything right, without results.

The difference that day came with intentionality — in listening to Jesus and going deep.

I happen to believe this is the prescription for finding true fulfillment, the largest catch of your life. Take the time to listen to Jesus and allow Him to take you deep.

Why else would the disciples drop everything to follow Him?


In October, we’ll let go of the fallacy that loving yourself means changing circumstances or doing the same things while hoping for different outcomes. We’ll dive in to the deep end of wholeheartedly living, swim around a bit in the uncharted waters of your soul, buoy each other with encouragement while holding onto the lifeline of Jesus.

I’m joining the Nester and over 1,000 bloggers, writing 31 Days of Letting Go in the Deep End, using The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown as a companion to posts. I’m doing it not because I have all the answers, but because I don’t. And learning how to love yourself in the embrace of community is much more appealing than attempting it alone.

Every Thursday, I’ll host a redemptive guest post from some of my favorite writers alongside a book club discussion at Redemptions Beauty Book Club, a private Facebook community. Click on the link if you’d like to join in.

You don’t have to read the book to contribute to the conversation that happens organically in the comments but you may want to subscribe to blog posts, delivered to your inbox daily so you don’t miss a thing. Just click on the Subscribe bar in the right hand column and add your email address. It’s pretty painless and takes less than thirty seconds.

For easy access to the entire series, click on the button below or on the 31 Days tab at the top of the site. I’ll see you tomorrow? I hope so.





Subscribe for Shelly’s stories and free resources here: https://shellymillerwriter.com/free-resources/


  1. Jessica Mueller

    Shelly – I’m a fairly new reader, but looking forward to this series! I haven’t read any of Brene Brown’s books (at least not yet!), but have heard a few of her talks and I always thought if you mix this with the Gospel it’d be powerful stuff!

    Looking forward to the journey!

    • Shelly Miller

      Jessica, so glad you are joining, I think you will love the book and yes, that is exactly my thought and intention. Let’s take this inspired book and put it in the context of following Jesus and it’s powerful. Pray with me that God will us it, will you?

  2. Maureen

    Yes, Shelly, I am along for the ride – or swim as it may be…bought a copy of Gifts of Imperfection. Loved Daring Greatly – changed my perspectives in healthy ways, so looking forward to listening and allowing Him through this series, too. Love your writing, your perspectives, your insights. I’m not on Facebook, but will follow along here. See you tomorrow.

    • Shelly Miller

      Glad you will be joining in Maureen, great to have you.

  3. becca1612

    oh I love this and cant wait to read along!!!

    • Shelly Miller

      Yay! Glad you’ll be reading along.

  4. DeanneMoore

    See you in the deep end, my friend. So glad that God led you in this direction. You know I am loving the book. Really looking forward to the posts in my inbox each day.

    • Shelly Miller

      Knowing you are wading in next to me give me courage. This is bigger than me Dea, I’m feeling it.

      • DeanneMoore

        Yes, it’s true. You know if it gets hard—well, I am here, and I am safe. You are not going to do this perfect. If you did, I’d be disappointed 🙂 I am just proud of you for doing it, for going for it. This may the most self-compassionate thing you have ever done for yourself. And the beauty is that it won’t just benefit you…

  5. Rebekah

    Why else? That’s right! The responding to a wooing so beautiful that we’d dare to go deep. Letting go is the faith to be radical in our love for Him. Looking forward to your series!

    • Shelly Miller

      Grateful to have you sojourning into the uncharted waters Rebekah.

  6. Christie Purifoy

    Love your words, love your honesty and vulnerability. Looking forward to this month!

    • Shelly Miller

      Thank you Christie, its truly a gift to have you with me on the journey. I value your wise input.

  7. Kristin_theschellcafe

    I’m ready to go to the deep end with you. And, you know fishing is my thing. Thank you for leading us into deeper waters, friend. Can’t wait for the journey.

    • Shelly Miller

      I’m looking forward to your series too Kristin. So proud of you and thankful for your friendship.

  8. Missindeedy

    The deep end has so much more beauty to behold – and I can’t wait to go there with you in this series, Shelly. That letting go is a tricky thing. The new carpet and fresh paint smells are so familiar that they sometimes lull me back into a false sense of contentment. I’m ready to go fishing!

    • Shelly Miller

      Letting go is tricky, scary, vulnerable . . .all of it. But when we do it in good company, the it gives us courage doesn’t it? Glad to have you in the boat.

  9. Leigh Kramer

    Looking forward to this, Shelly!

    • Shelly Miller

      Honored to have you in the boat Leigh. We’re pushing off, you ready?

  10. Paula Baines

    I am looking forward to this month.

    • Shelly Miller

      Glad to have you Paula, hope you’ll join the conversations here.

  11. Lynn Morrissey

    Well, who knows, Shelly? I tried one more time just to type in your site, and here I am, having jumped in head first. I could NOT believe your reference to Luke 5, b/c God had just given that to me from several sources over the past couple of days, and I’ve completed a collage w/ a boating theme (not having had any idea when I began looking for images, that this is where God would lead me). So your post is not serendipitous for me. He’s used that passage powerfuly in my life b/f, and apparently, He is using it again to prod me into deep water. And once again, I am arguing: Well, if I fished before and didn’t catch anything, why would I now?! But ours really isn’t to question. So here I am trying to dog-paddle, and I don’t know how to swim–literally. But if I stop fighting, and float on the stream of HIs Spirit, I know He will buoy me up in the deep end. I’m all in, Shelly, and so glad you are writing on this topic. I love it when souls go deep. I”ve never liked being a surface person.
    And BWT, I love your photos! So beautiful!

    • Shelly Miller

      So glad to see you here Lynn, hope you get the technical glitches figured out. I would miss you in my comments. And I love the serendipity of this with your own thought process lately. God is good to love us like that. You and I are kindred when it comes to deep things don’t ya think? It’s why God brought us together in friendship.

  12. LuAnn

    Following Jesus and going deep with you my friend! I’m excited.

    • Shelly Miller

      Doing the happy dance!

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