SOS: Lessons From Open Water

 

When we set sail from shore, we had no idea how long our course would be. It was not a calculated risk. We saw the need in the margins and felt the weight of their despair as if it were our own. And once you have seen, you can’t unsee. There is no moving forward in your comfortable existence and ignoring the point of pain, not with peace anyway. So we glanced again at that red brick Colonial that is still vacant one street over and decided it was no longer an option. Or at least not one we wouldn’t regret. We set our compass to North, sailing away from the shoreline and the illusion of safety that we once knew and out into the open sea, our destination being a future opening date on a dream placed in our hearts. 

Here’s what I didn’t know when I was still sitting on the shoreline with my toes in the water. I had no idea how dark it can get on the open sea. That there are extended periods when you cannot see your hand in front of your face, let alone what the next day will hold. I had no idea how adrift and lost at sea I would feel like maybe our compass was off by just one degree that would eventually land us miles upon miles from our mark and nowhere that we wanted to be. I had no idea how shark infested the water would feel in the form of opposition against our family, our finances, and ultimately, our hearts. I had no idea that I would feel so depleted from the scorch of the sun and almost void of any hope of ever seeing the shoreline again. 

So the distress flares went up and my panic began to rise. But this I remembered and clung to on the days and long nights when all I could hear was the lapping of the water that was holding us. When God places something on your heart, he only asks you to go. He doesn’t ask you to figure out the next ten steps or ten years. He doesn’t ask you to determine if the cause is worthy, because if it involves loving people, it always is. He doesn’t ask you to consider all the hypothetical scenarios or what if’s. A calculated risk is not a risk at all. And the only risk really lies in what you’ll miss by choosing to play it safe. 

Maybe you need to be reminded today. Perhaps you feel the knock at your heart, but you’re still sitting at the shore waiting on the opportune moment which is now. Maybe you answered the call, but now you are second guessing yourself because all hell has broken loose in your life. Perhaps you are feeling the blisters on your skin and your heart, and you didn’t realize the cost would be so high. Maybe your cries for help are only met with silence, and it feels like God is holding out on you. Perhaps you feel adrift and lost at sea.  

Hold fast. 

What your weary eyes can’t see is that it will be worth stepping into the water. It will be worth climbing into that boat and heading into a destination that feels unknown. And it’s okay to go afraid, so long as you go. What your weary heart doesn’t know is that the opposition that threatens to overtake and overwhelm is actually a good sign that you are exactly on course.  

Stay in the boat. Don’t you dare give up. What you also don’t know is that the shoreline is just on the horizon.  

You are going to make it to shore, and when you do, you just might find that your only regret will be that you didn’t set sail sooner. 

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