I recently read an African proverb that says, “You don’t become an accomplished sailor by travelling on calm seas.” I had to smile. My dad had a crazy streak in him when it came to boating. As soon as a small craft advisory was put into effect (translation – don’t go out on the water!) my dad would grab his boat keys and shout, “Let’s go!” We would go out on incredibly rough waters, getting banged up and thrown all over the place.
Now my dad also had a knack for understanding how far he could push the weather envelope. He never took us out so far we couldn’t quickly reach safe harbor should the weather take an unexpected turn for the worse. There were days he would say it wasn’t safe and we would stay put. But anything on the rough side was his idea of a great learning opportunity.
So, I learned how to navigate multi-directional waves, high waves, short chops and many things in-between. I learned how to chart a course, read the weather, when to push and when to head to shore. In short, he taught me how to become an expert boater.
I’ve noticed my spiritual dad has that same crazy streak. He pushes me forward when others would say, “Stay put!” He’ll put me in situations I think are beyond my ability to handle, but then he guides me through the challenge, helping me emerge on the other side wiser and more seasoned.
I don’t always understand what the lesson is when we’re starting out together. Sometimes he just hands me the wheel and lets me have a turn, guiding me through my mistakes and celebrating my victories. Over time, he teaches me to become accomplished at living life, navigating through all of its moods and seasons with confidence.
While I would hardly classify myself as an expert at life, I smile because I know that’s my dad’s vision for me. And he has taught me with him by my side I can navigate anything. Knowing that, I can enter the waters of life with confidence.
For further thought: “When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up—the flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, your Savior …” (Is. 43:2-3, TLB). Are you facing any rough seas right now? What is God trying to help you learn about yourself in this challenge? Feel free to post!