The spiritual practice of resting in smallness


When I interviewed Switchfoot lead singer Jon Foreman and drummer Chad Butler the other day before one of their shows in Charlotte, North Carolina, they told me that their favorite thing about surfing is feeling small again in the ocean—leaving their problems on the shore, getting lost in the ocean’s infinite magnitude, and sometimes being humiliated by its waves.

This idea, feeling small, was one of the underlying things they communicated in their interview with Sports Spectrum.

Says Foreman in our interview: “To be able to stare back at the shore and remember how small you are and to gain that kind of perspective and see all of your problems down there on the shore, and realize, wow, this is a much bigger world than all the text messages I’ve been dealing with, the problems I’ve been having in the studio or on the road.”

What always amazes me is that God often speaks to me through the people I interview. Maybe He knows I isolate myself far too much working on projects, that I beat myself up when they don’t get finished, and that it’s hard to confide in anyone or abide in Him when I live on my own little island and performance-driven world. Often, it seems, He sends a lifeboat to rescue me, or at least to deliver a message through the people I interview.

This was the impact my interview with Switchfoot had on me. It made me think about a lot of things, especially this idea of smallness. I’m particularly drawn to this idea, I think, mostly because I don’t do it very well. In short, I expect too much of myself. Let me explain.

In the first book project I was a part of, The Jersey Effect, former Indianapolis Colts punter Hunter Smith says that the underlying mindset behind the depression he struggled with during his career with the Colts was the phrase, “It’s all up to me.” I confess that I identify with this phrase—on a daily basis. In fact, it might be one of darkness's primary weapons to make me feel worthless and rob me of peace and joy. Does it breach into depr