faithful living

In the Boat

I have had a lot on my mind lately. So much of my “comfortable” life has been changed. I no longer serve as drama teacher. I no longer can be “wife” and “mom” in the way I once was, at least not for the time being. I find it hard to know my “place” now. What is it I’m supposed to be doing?

I imagine myself standing on a dock, overlooking the water. Tied there, is a small boat. It sways gently as the water moves it this way and that. The boat calls to me. What if I were to step away from my comfortable place on the dock and get in? What if I were to let it loose and see where it takes me?

That’s how I see faith in my mind. I often talk about “getting in the boat” as an illustration of how I envision stepping out in faith. For years, I’ve concentrated on getting myself fully in the boat. There were times I’d stand at the dock, one foot secure on the known land and the other venturing into the boat, wanting to trust, but not quite being able to let go of control. It took finally relinquishing that control to get my whole self “in the boat”. Thinking the greatest challenge was done, I’ve been excited to see where God will take me, but it seems the boat is not moving yet.

Today, I thought about the verse, “Be still and know that I am God.” Be Still. So often I’ve thought the true struggle is the actual practice of getting in the boat. I felt sure, once I submitted, I would be carried quickly to what was next. What if that’s not how it works? What if I’m supposed to sit, still, in the boat right now, as it is nestled at the dock. I can feel the enticing movement of the water beneath me, but before I can move, I need to prepare my soul. I need to go through waiting, with purpose.

I love the excerpt from Sue Monk Kidd’s  “When the Heart Waits.”

“Then he took his hands and placed them on my shoulders, peered straight into my eyes and said, “I hope you’ll hear what I’m about to tell you. I hope you’ll hear it all the way down to your toes. When you’re waiting, you’re not doing nothing. You’re doing the most important something there is. You’re allowing your soul to grow up. If you can’t be still and wait, you can’t become what God created you to be.”

When it is time, God will release the boat out into the open water, but for now, I need to sit. Right here in the same spot. Calmly. Visiting with him and growing my soul. I am trying to find a quiet discipline–reading the Bible, praying, and writing.

It is hard. I find myself wanting to know what is next. I feel like I should be doing something. I am unsure of my purpose, and in a world that is constantly on overdrive, I feel like I’m being passed by. Still, I must embrace this time in the “cocoon” so that I can fully develop into someone who can fly. Maybe the greatest struggle is actually in the waiting, but maybe it is the most important struggle to endure. 

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