in shark infested waters, whose in your boat?
So I sat down with this kid the other day. When I say kid, I mean young adult and I must be feeling old today. He has been through so much in life and we meet on occasion to check in and he knows he can count on me to speak truth into his life when he is flailing.
He so desires to grow in his faith and to know Jesus. In this desire he is surrounded by every temptation and invitation to hand over his faith and pick up something entirely other than. He lives with and around people opposed to Christianity and is always being chased into scenarios that invite him to give up what is important to him for a moment of pleasure, fun or “what the hellness”. It is not as though these are benign friendships that could careless if he goes to church on Sunday as long as he is the fun friend the rest of the week. He is actually surrounded by people who antagonize, laugh and mock Christianity. Not only that, but they are encouraging him to be and do what he doesn’t want to be and do. So, we caught up after not seeing each other over the summer. He shared with me that he hasn’t been doing well and his turning toward red wine rather than Jesus is becoming his new norm. He described himself as on an emotional roller coaster up one day and down the next. He feels unhealthy and wounded and longs for God but is very overwhelmed at how to get out of this rut.
As he was talking, I got this image of the woman who made it her goal to swim in shark infested waters to get where she wanted to go. She had a goal! She had a destination! I just pictured her taking on this grueling journey. Imagine her, if she were to pick people to ride in her boats that were
not encouraging her goal. Imagine them yelling “This is a stupid goal!” “You suck and you’re going to die from a jellyfish sting!” ” A shark is going to eat you alive!” You aren’t going to make it!”
Literally, watch her video and imagine those kinds of voices.
If you can just picture her training and hoping and risking and those kind of voices yelling at her….What chance would she stand? There is no
way that woman would have made her goal, which she does, if she had a crew of people telling her she couldn’t get where she wanted to go or
she shouldn’t even try.
I looked at this young man and said you are like that. You are swimming across rough waters trying to find emotional healing from your family’s
pain, you are wrestling through identity issues and in the midst of all that, you are trying to swim to God and yet you drowning. And you are
drowning because you have people in your boat who are yelling at you to quit right there in the middle of the shark infested waters. You need people in your boat who will yell things like “You can do this!” “God is with you! ” “Keep getting back in there!” You need people who will support you- not sink you. You need people who will encourage you -not discourage you. You need people who will walk with you- not drag you down. You need some fellows in your ship. (I remember an old boyfriend used that on me once. So I used it on this young man.) What he needs is what we all need.
Having some fellows in your ship is called fellowship. We all need some fellows in our ship to help get us where we want to go. If faith is important to you than you need to make it important by having fellows who will cheer you on in life and faith when life and faith are wading through rough waters. If beating an addiction is important to you than you are going to need some fellows in your ship telling you it’s possible when the sharks are trying to clench their teeth into your back and drag you down to become bottom feed. If following your dreams is where you want to go and yet, what you have been following is everything except dreamy, its time you get some people in your boat to scream at you “You have what it takes to get there!” It’s not so much that you won’t incur rough waters, jelly fish, sharks, naysayers, temptation, sunburns, rejection and mockery. You will. Because you will, it is even more imperative to get people in your boat who will encourage you all the way to where you want to go! May this young man and you and I make sure we aren’t just desiring a destination, nor just training for a goal, but getting fellows in our ship so we are sure to step foot on the shores of our dreams!