Friday, October 16, 2009

Stepping Out

"Many lives remain unfulfilled because of a lack of courage in affirming one's inner convictions in spite of all obstacles." ~Paul Tournier

There is a story in the Gospels about Jesus walking on water as the disciples are crossing the Sea of Galilee in a boat. In Matthew's version of the story, these guys are terrified and think Jesus is a ghost. Peter impulsively says, "Lord, if it's you, tell me to come to you on the water." Jesus invites Peter to come, and then after a couple steps the experienced fisherman sinks, but gets saved from drowning in the turbulent sea.

Now whatever your stance toward miracles (whether you believe them or not), I've often thought this story makes a great metaphor for our approach toward life. I've applied it to myself in the following way.

The boat in which my life was launched into the deep (adulthood) was shaped in my youth. The way I interacted with the world was always from within the safety of the shell of that boat. The boat protected me. In Freudian terms, my boat was constructed of defensive mechanisms that kept me from being hurt by others, kept that tender inner self from getting hurt.

The boat conveyed me through life and was useful for me. But there are certain points when, if we want to engage another, we must leave the safety of our boats. This involves risk. This involves becoming vulnerable. It is something a bit fearful and outside our comfort zone.

What are the inner walls that hold you back? In what ways have you restricted your own personal growth and full engagement with life by staying within the "safe" zone of your controlled environment? Maybe miracles only happen when we first dare to step out.

"To live into the future means to leap into the unknown." ~Rollo May


Christella said...

Sometimes I think I leave the boat too frequently. I've gone under a number of times but I still leave my comfort zone. To me that is when life happens.

ENNYMAN said...

I agree. That is when life happens.