As a child, I heard a quote:
“A ship is safest in its harbour,
But that’s not what ships are built for…” (1)
And I knew from that moment
My path in life might mean some rocky seas
To be who God made me to be.
But, somewhere along the way,
I heard whispers of “should”,
Echoes of “practical”,
Cautions of “too risky”,
And I let those sink into
My skin and my dreams
Until I was so weighed down,
So anchored in one place,
That I couldn’t sail at all.
For a while, I still felt the pull
I still felt the tide trying to sweep me
Into my destiny.
I still heard the wind singing to me
Of freedom and purpose.
But I clung to my shackled anchors
Thinking safe meant right and good,
Fearing freedom meant straying
From where God had planted me.
In my safe stillness, I rotted.
In my practical “shoulds”,
I didn’t know myself,
Having never unfurled my own sails.
And one great dawn,
The sun rose on a new realization
Of who I was.
God began to work in roundabout ways
To show me my strengths and potential,
To show me what He saw in me
And why He made me,
To show me a glimpse of a course
He’d charted before I took my first breath.
We are born into a world of expectations,
And those aren’t necessarily bad,
But they are rather tempting.
They are siren songs luring us into conformity,
The destruction of the calling God had in mind
When He breathed life into our individual gifts.
Sometimes we have to trust
The Maker who made the seas and wind
And made the stars that guide us,
And risk surrendering to an adventure
We can’t yet map out,
So that we are not conformed
To the expectations of this world,
But we are transformed
When He renews our minds:
Beyond what we can see,
Beyond what might make sense,
Beyond what others deem safe,
To hoist our sails and set our compass
To a heading that no one expected
Was the very reason we were made…
We recognize “God is in the restlessness”. (2)
We watch as “God redeems the time” (3)
That we spent docked in the wrong harbour
By making every second a tool
That will serve us along the way.
And it will mean heartache and risk
To steer out from that tempting calm,
But our scars can remind us
That even the calm of our own harbour
Is not benign if it is not our calling,
And the joy of living the purpose
Of the dreams God put in our hearts
Is worth the waves and wind
To sail the seas that we were built for…
(1) I’ve seen many versions of this quote over the years. One often recurring citation is William G.T. Shedd.
(2) I first came across this phrase in a blog post by Tanya Marlow. You can read that post here: http://tanyamarlow.com/quit-while-you-still-love-it/ (follow the link there to the full article at The Mudroom Blog). I do recommend reading any and all of Tanya’s blog and articles, as well as her book, Coming Back to God When You Feel Empty, about Ruth and Naomi.
(3) This phrase is often used by Ronne Rock in speeches. It can also be found here: https://ronnerock.com/time/ . She is another phenomenal writer whose entire blog I highly recommend reading.