TD Jakes — Don't Drown in Shallow Waters
Greetings in Christ's name. I am bishop T.D. Jakes senior pastor of The Potters House and I'm blessed to have an opportunity to share The Potter's House in your house today. The series is called divine destinations and this message in particular is a very powerful word from God. The message is, don't drown in shallow water. You can get out of it. You can handle it. And this word will remind you how. Take a look at this, and I'll be back.
Can you imagine being on the boat? Bound and tied. Stressed and weary. The thing you was counting on to get you to the other side. The job you thought you would retire with to get you to the other side. The house you thought you would have the rest of your life to get you to the other side. And the storm got it. How many of you have lost some stuff in the storm? Lost some friends in the storm. Lost some people in the storm. Lost some relationships in the storm. And it made you feel like a failure. But you're not a failure. It was a temporary blessing. If it was meant to stay, it couldn't leave. In fact, the destruction of the bet could be an announcement that you have arrived at your destination.
I'll never forget when I was a little boy I used to have, I used to have nightmares as a little boy about my mother dying. I used to wake up drying, something happened to my mother. My mother would come up to my room and comfort me. O baby, I'm not going to die. She said, I promise you. Even if I get cancer which is the worst thing you thought you could get back then. She said if I get cancer, I'll fight it until you get grown. That's what she told me. I'll fight it until you get grown. I won't die until you get grown. So in 99 I was about 41 years old. And my mother was in the hospital dying.
I leaned over and whispered in here ear. I said I'm grown now. If I wasn't ready for it, God wouldn't allow it. I don't like it. I don't enjoy it. It is painful. It hurts. But if I wasn't strong enough to handle it, he would have kept you here a little longer. If he chose to take you out of the way, it must be a sign that I'm close enough to shore that I can make it on the rest of the way. So don't lay there in suffer out of responsibility to me. Because I'm a grown man now.
Stop grieving over the boat. The boat did not retain its original form. And I'm going to zero in, I'm going to put an arrow right in the heart of many of your problems. You're in love with what you had. I'm going to try it on them. You're in love with what you had. And you think that if your life does not retain the shape that you started with, you don't think that it can get you where you're going. See the boat didn't cease to exist. It just took on another form. It wasn't as comfortable, it wasn't as glorious, but the Bible says, even when life takes on another form and it's all broken into a piece, grab a piece of what you got left. And hold on. The Bible says some on boards and some on broken pieces made it safely to the other side.
Just because things are broken in your life doesn't mean you can't survive. I'm going to try it on ya'll over here. Just because things are broken in your life doesn't mean you can't survive. Stop trying to glue the boat back together. It may not ever be like it was. But grab whatever it is and hold on to it until you get where you're trying to go. What I'm trying to tell you is, you can't be saved by what it was. You can only be saved by what it is. If Paul and the prisoners had insisted that the only way they could float was on a whole boat they would have died in the water. But they took what it is and not what it was. And said it's not what it used to be but it's still enough for me to make it on in.
Look at your neighbor and say, I'm going to make it on in off of what I got left. I can't make it off of what I lost. I can't make it off of what I used to have. I can't make it off of what you used to be. I can't make it off of what we used to do. I can't be who I was yesterday. I can only take what I have left. If I needed more boat he would give me more boat. He didn't promise to save my boat. He promised to save me. I want you to understand, you can make it on pieces. You can make it on pieces.
See, I worry about the world we live in today. If we run into real trouble, I mean real trouble. I don't know if we could survive like we used to survive. Because people today don't know how to do anything unless they got everything. People today can't make a pot roast on the top of the stove. Ya'll don't hear what I'm talking about. People can't make corn bread without milk. People today can't make business quits without jiffy. People can't cook grits if they're not instant. People can't make dinner without microwave. But where I came from, you didn't follow the recipe. You followed what was in the refrigerator.
Ya'll don't hear what I'm talking about. Ya'll don't hear what I'm talking about. You don't have to have everything on the recipe in order to be able to cook dinner. If you ain't got corn, cut up some carrots. If you ain't got carrots, get yesterday's corn and throw it in the pot roast and keep on cooking. You don't have to have a perfect person to have a marriage. You don't have to have a perfect job to pay the bills. Everybody in the church don't have to like you for you to have church. You can make it on broken pieces. O God help me preach this word.
Stop focusing on what you lost. And start living on what you got left. I have learned that every blessing doesn't come to stay. Every relationship wasn't meant to last. Every friend is not going to be a life long friend. God will send people in your life for a season because you needed at that time in your life. And if they walk away, don't stand there at the tomb of what used to be and cry over what was. Because if you had needed them for the future they would have stayed. All that left me couldn't stay. And all that stayed couldn't leave. To God be the glory. For the things he has done. I feel like having some church in here.
Touch three people and tell them I'm going to be all right. I'm going to be all right. I'm going to be all right. I'm going to be all right. Let the lightning flash. Let the thunder roll. Let the wind blow. I'm going to be all right. I don't have to have everything. But if I got a piece of faith. If I got a piece of love. If I got a piece of strength. If I got a piece of bread. I may not have no butter. I may not have no jelly. It may be day old bread, but if I got a little piece, I'm going to make it off of what I got left. I don't know who I'm preaching to, but I'm talking to somebody.
In the life of pie he says, I survived the storm. I survived the pestilence, I survived almost starving to death. I survived the tiger. I survived almost losing my mind. He said, and when I finally got there, he said I held on to the boat. I was afraid that I would get that close to deliverance and die in shallow water. What is the thing that makes us fearful? In safe places? Fearful in safe places. What, what I why is he clutching on to the boat in two feet of water? What do you do when your senses are lying to you? When you live in a realm of thinking you're going to crash but you don't. Thinking you can't make it but you can. Thinking that you're in danger but you're safe.
I'm talking about exhausted emotions. Number three. Don't be moved. Be exhausted emotions. See, I learned when you get tired you can't trust how you feel. I'm speaking right to somebody. I don't know who it is. When your emotions are exhausted, they will send you false signals. They'll make you think you're in danger when you're not. They'll make you think you can't trust who you can. They'll make you think people hate you who love you. They'll make you lash out at people who are really trying to help you. Because you have exhausted emotions. When you get tired, your perception of the situation is altered. When you get tired, you'll be scared when you're safe. When you get tired, you'll be holding on to what is familiar and missing the fact you can hold on to the promise before you. When you get tired you make dumb decisions because you have exhausted emotions.
A psychiatrist friend of mine described it this way. When you're anxious or exhausted, it's like flying a plane but you can't trust the dials. In other words, you'll feel like you're going to crash even when you're safe. Don't be moved by emotions. Exhausted emotions make you paranoid. Exhausted emotions make you fearful. Exhausted emotions take the pleasure out of surviving away.
You know, I imagine when Paul was on the ship. And the ship started coming apart and they were out there in the water. He would have thought, o if I could get to the shore, I'm going to dance. When I get to the shore, I'm going to shout the victory. If I make it out of this, I'll give God the praise. If I finally finish this, I'll dance all over this place. If we ever get this house paid for, we'll shout the victory. If we ever get the kids raised we'll dance and shout. If I could get this bill paid off, I'll shout the victory. If you ever get over this cancer, we're going to go out and celebrate. If we survive this leukemia, we're going to run up and down the aisles.
Do you know that statistics say that most marriages who have gone through catastrophic instances fall apart after they survived it? Because they're tired. Compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue. I gave out. I wore out. We made it. But I was exhausted. Wore my party out of me. Wore the smile off my face. Wore the step out of my walk. What does that mean? I could succeed. I could survive and not feel successful.
What happens when you get there and it doesn't feel like what you thought there would feel like? If you had told the little girl in you that you would end up in the place in life you ended up now living in the house you're living in, accomplish as much as you accomplished, she would have thought, if I get that far, that's going to be wonderful. So why aren't you happy? Couldn't imagine owning your own car and you got one. Why aren't you happy? Couldn't imagine getting your own house. Couldn't imagine it. You got one, why aren't you happy? You couldn't imagine having a husband or a wife. Got one, why aren't you happy? You prayed to have a child. Cried because you couldn't have one. Then got one. Why aren't you happy?
No shouting now. Got kind of quiet now. Why doesn't Paul dance? He could have died in the storm. He could have gone down with the ship. He could have drowned in the water. He makes it and collapses on the shore. What do you do when survival doesn't feel successful? When the mission completed doesn't make you want to celebrate? Is it that you underestimated how much it would cost you to get where you are? Is it that you have denied yourself the right to have survived and still be exhausted?
There is nothing wrong with being tired. He says, I was afraid to let go of the boat. For fear that I would drown in two feet of water. You have survived being in a thousand feet of water. You swam through 500 feet of water. You made it through water that if you hadn't have been tough you would have drown in a long time ago. You made it through times that tried everything in you that could tried. And you made it safely to the other side. And now at the moment of celebration, you can standing here still fearful afraid you're going to die in two feet of water.
Don't you know you can't trust how you feel? When you're tired your feelings are off, your emotions are crazy and you snap at people trying to be nice to you. When you're tired you can't live up under your own counsel. If you listen at your own counsel you'll give up in two feet of water. And the Lord told me to warn you, keep on flying, but don't read the dial. Keep on stroking even when you feel like I'm scared to death. You may be scared to death but you're closer now than you've ever been in your life. I said you're closer now than you've ever been in your life. It doesn't feel like what you think it would feel like.
I talked to a young man. He said, I can't imagine what it would be like to be you. I said is that what you want to be? He said yeah, yeah if I could just be you. That's absolutely amazing. He said I'm not trying to wish anything bad on you but I would just love to be you. It would just be wonderful. It would be marvelous. It would be spectacular. I said would it? Are you sure? Are you sure? I mean, from the outside, you got an opinion. But are you sure?
Because see the problem with the church is we have bought into these mystical magical things people lay hands on you and give you double portion of their spirit and confer blessings on you. Let me tell you most of that is garbage. You want to get my anointing? Suffer like I suffered. Cry like I cried. Do without like I did without. Crawl with dirt in your fingernails. By the time you get through bleeding and crying and suffering and you finally get there, it's not going to feel like what you thought it would feel like. Because along the journey, it cost you so much to get there that success doesn't feel successful.
Survival doesn't make you want to celebrate. Paul made it to the shore but he was almost dead. Who am I preaching to? You got all kinds of people who wish they could be you. Saying if I could only have his situation, you got your own law practice. You got your degree. You married a man with a degree. People have all kinds of ideas of what it feels like to be you but they don't know you're out of breath and about to pass out and at your wits end and scared to death and at the end of your rope!
But touch three people and say hold on, hold on. You didn't come through everything you've been through to die in two feet of water. You didn't survive the storm and the pestilence to get here and let this little problem get you down. The devil is a lie. The devil is a lie. You don't even have to be able to swim to survive in two feet of water. All you got to do is be able to stand up. And if you can stand up, you can survive in shallow water. Slap your neighbor and say, don't drown in shallow water. Stand up. Stand up in the water. Having done all to stand, if you can't swim, stand up. If you can't stand up, sit up. If you sit up, you can get out of the water. If you can't sit up, look up. Look up. You've come too far to drown in shallow water. Give God a praise.