Take the Nestea Plunge
Years ago, there was a television ad for Nestea iced tea. The actor stands backwards, his toes at the edge of a swimming pool brimming with refreshing iced tea. A voice invites him, “Take the Nestea plunge.”
The actor closes his eyes, spreads his arms wide, and falls backwards into the pool. “I did it! I took the Nestea plunge!” His face beams with exhilaration as he emerges from the pool and shakes water from his hair.
Falling in love with God and, letting him love us is much like taking the Nestea plunge. It requires us to move to the edge of our comfort zone. We have to sit in silence and ponder how far we’re willing to go in our relationship with God. Are we willing to dip our toes into the pool of his love? Or are we willing to let go completely and do the Nestea plunge as we fall backwards into his heart?
Our willingness to take the plunge with God invites us to ask ourselves two important questions:
Who is God?Who am I?
If our image of God is one of somebody who’s out to get us, or someone who won’t catch us when we’re falling, then it’s likely we won’t take the plunge with him. We won’t even approach the swimming pool.
On the other hand, if we perceive God as Divine Love, our Creator whose arms stretch across the pool of the ups and downs of our lives and is always there to embrace and guide us, we’re more apt to trust him and continue falling more deeply in love with him.
Scripture says, God is love. If we believe that’s true, that he wants us to be happy, we’re probably more willing to allow ourselves to feel both safe and vulnerable knowing his Infinite Love surrounds us at all times.
Taking the plunge into God also invites us to ask, “Who am I?”
Am I a strong, independent, brash person who doesn’t need anyone or anything? Or am I a victim who cowers in the corner waiting for the next person, or even God, to come along and kick me again? Or am I the Beloved, the person the Creator formed and fashioned with love, the one who’s perfectly imperfect and is interdependent with God?
Growing up, my conception of God was more intellectual than experiential. I learned about God in religion class. He was someone “out there,” outside of myself toward whom I tried to intellectualize my way. At best, God was a policeman who was out to get me if I sinned. And I was a brash and scared youth who tried to be “good” so God would love me.
As I grew older, however, I began to experience God as a mutual relationship. My image of him evolved. First, he became the wise father who guided and protected me.
Then, I experienced him as both a divine and human brother I could turn to for advice, affirmation, and love as I went through the ups and downs of life because he had walked in earthly shoes too and understood me.
Finally, my relationship with God evolved into the Divine Spirit, the Holy Wisdom, who lives in my heart and with whom I can connect through prayer and meditation.
And as my relationship with the Trinity of God evolves within me, I experience the Creator as Infinite Love.
I notice too that as my relationship with God continues to deepen, so does my understanding of myself. I no longer see myself as that frightened Catholic school-boy trying to win God’s love (or others) by my “Atta-boy” achievements. More and more I see myself as an expression of God’s creative love poured out into and through me as a perfectly imperfect man. I am love and I am loved (and so are all of us) because of Infinite Love.
Taking the time once in a while to stop and ask ourselves these two vital questions—who is God and who am I—allows us to live into the answers, allows our feet to catch up to the wisdom our hearts already know. And when we’re ready, we can experience the exhilaration of the Nestea plunge over and over again as we fall more deeply into the mystery of our on-going love affair with God.
—brian j plachta
In this fast-paced, often overwhelming world, it’s important to develop life-giving practices that teach us how to slow down and care for ourselves. Taking time to focus on our breath—both during quiet times of meditation and throughout the day—restores our balance and inner peace.