A journey to deep connection with Jesus begins with humble submission. It requires an acknowledgment that your way isn’t working. Admitting this to yourself is hard enough. Try it. Read this out loud: My way isn’t working.

If your way was working, would you regularly feel so exhausted and anxious? Would you still be struggling with your addiction? Would you still need to have a drink before going to bed? Would you still feel compelled to look at porn when you feel stressed? Would you still head online and shop when you start to feel overwhelmed?

If your way was working, would you still experience the same turmoil in your relationships? Would you still be losing your temper with your spouse? Would you still have some old friends who no longer talk to you?

If your way was working, would you still be struggling with bitterness and resentment? Would you still feel overwhelmed by fear and anxiety? Would you still be discouraged and ready to quit?

Honestly look around and ask yourself, If my way was going to work, wouldn’t it have worked by now?

Our journey through the four emotions will require a self-awareness that is impossible without humility. Will we be humble enough to acknowledge that it may be time for a different way? Connection begins when we recognize the reality and the consequences of our disconnection and are willing to do something to change.

Peter doesn’t get a reason or an explanation for Jesus’ request. He gets no guarantees. That’s how most of us want the story to go. In essence, Jesus ends up saying to Peter, “Hey, buddy, I know you’re tired. I know you’ve been working all night. I know you guys are exhausted. I get it—you just cleaned your nets and put them away. I know you don’t want to do what I’m going to ask you do. But if you’ll take me out with you and fish in the deep water, here’s what I’ll do for you: I’m going to cause your boats to overflow with fish. Your nets will break because there are so many fish. If you humble yourself and submit to me, here’s how I will bless you.”

Kyle Idleman, When Your Way Isn’t Working: Finding Purpose and Contentment through Deep Connection with Jesus (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2023), 32–34.


We have just released a 12-week study on the topic: When Your Way Isn’t Working by Kyle Idleman. You can get it on Amazon. It is also available as part of Good Questions Have Groups Talking.