When Nothing Else Works, Do This

by | Mar 17, 2014 | Encouragement, Identity, Lent


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 Harrison, 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?

This post originally published in Letting Go in the Deep End – A 31 Day Series. In light of recently reading the book of Luke through the #LentChallenge it seemed appropriate to share today. Join us at Redemptions Beauty Book Club on Wednesday to share what you’re learning by reading through the New Testament.

300x250-Lent-Ad-150x150Linking with Laura and Michelle.

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


  1. mercynotes

    This makes me think of how important it is to dig deep with Scripture. Even after I haven’t caught anything I want to say “because you say so, I will let down the nets.” Hard but good.

    • Shelly Miller

      Great thoughts here, for me too, thank you. Sometimes I read too fast and when I ponder a bit, there is often so much more there than I caught on the first read through.

  2. Elizabeth Stewart

    This is wisdom…I think we’d rather transplant ourselves than stand and grow deep.

    • Shelly Miller

      Oh my, yes Elizabeth you are so right (and stepping on my toes, ouch!).

  3. JViola79

    Love this! May I go deep today!

    • Shelly Miller

      Me too Joanne, me too.

  4. Elizabeth

    The aching prayer of my heart. And importantly, without the water wings 🙂

    • Shelly Miller

      It’s painful, yes? But worth every bit of flailing and dog paddling in the deep waters.

  5. Beth

    Yes, I want this. I want to go deep with Jesus. Thank you for this, Shelly. I’m also feeling led to explore observing Sabbath. I need that day of rest. I do get your Sabbath Society emails. 🙂
    Wishing you a beautiful week.
    Much love,

    • Shelly Miller

      We all need the day Beth. I think doing it in community somehow gives permission to rest and sometimes that is all it takes to make Sabbath a discipline. Glad to know you are with us.

  6. Lisa notes...

    “Take the time to listen to Jesus and allow Him to take you deep.”

    That is definitely key, Shelly. And it doesn’t mean it’s easy. I haven’t ever felt the calling to move great distances, but I pray that I’d be willing if the Lord did ask it of me.

    • Shelly Miller

      No, its often not easy Lisa, you are right. But most of the meaningful things in life that matter aren’t.

  7. Nancy Ruegg

    A powerful message for us, Shelly. I pray that Jesus take me deeper into his presence and into obedience of his Word. Thank you for challenging me!

    • Shelly Miller

      I’m right there with you Nancy, learning alongside surrender . . . daily.

  8. Deidra

    Our stories are so similar, yours and mine. It always amazes me. But, different, too. Those deep waters? They are hard work, yes? Treading water to keep afloat, or battling waves as high as mountains.

    • Shelly Miller

      I know, I often think its uncanny. And you are right, similar and different all at the same time. I think there is a kindred spirit in the midst of it that resonates, at least with me. So thankful for you in my life Deidra, truly.


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