When was the last time that you were passionate about the life that God is calling you to live?
Last Spring, I acted on a longstanding desire to learn to surf. I had been body surfing and body boarding for most of the last twenty years. But I was always keenly interested in riding the waves standing up. I am nearing 40 years of age now so I figured it was now or never.
I purchased two boards: one for my daughters and one for my wife and me. We took the boards to the beach in the north Cocoa Beach area of Florida and began the process of learning to surf.
It was not easy. At least, it wasn’t easy for me. My daughters were able to stand up immediately and begin to ride waves. I think that I fell 40 times before finally getting my feet under me and experiencing the raw, sublime power of the ocean propelling me toward the shore.
It was a life-changing moment. I knew instantly why grown women and men leave jobs at the drop of hat when the word gets out that good waves are present. I understood why otherwise responsible adults head for the coastline as storms approach in search of a big wave. There is nothing quite like surfing. I love to talk to friends about my experiences.
But a peculiar twist occurs in most of my conversations with others about surfing. No matter how I describe the pleasures and sheer joy of surfing. No matter how well I share the sense of oneness with creation or the powerful rush of the primordial waters. People tend to have a different question on their minds: BRIAN, AREN’T YOU AFRAID OF SHARKS?
Isn’t this an interesting shift? But its all too human. Fear prevents most of us from experiencing the life that God dreamed for us when we were created. Even Christ followers gravitate to the path of least resistance. How do we break out of the stifling grip of fear? It takes a reality altering moment of transformation. Catching my first wave changed me. Of course I have no desire to be chewed up by a hungry shark, but when I’m in the ocean, I am not worrying about sharks (and I’ve never seen one). When I am surfing, I am in the ocean to catch waves. Period.
Jesus’ death on the cross and God the Father’s action of raising the Son from the dead on the third day is the ultimate game changer in Creation. Through Jesus’ sacrificial death for sin, suffering and injustice and his resurrection for the sake of God’s ultimate victory, we can now make sense of the past because the future of Creation is guaranteed. Thus, we can now live purposively and courageously for God’s mission in the present.
Jesus’ call becomes a call to live free as the people whom we were created to be. We can live unfettered by the fears that rob the masses from true life. We live as dead men and women walking.
When we (re)align our lives in light of God’s game changing actions in the life, death, and resurrection, our lives become paradoxical. We learn to relish risk. We begin to fill more alive because we are dead to the world. We understand profoundly that our future is utterly secure because of what Jesus has already accomplished. This unleashes us to be free in the present. We live purposefully and courageously in the present.
We learn the truth of sayings such as:
“One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” Andre Gide
“A ship in harbor is safe — but that is not what ships are built for.” William Shedd
I’ve begun to understand what this life looks like by learning to surf:
1) The only way to surf is to leave the safety of the shoreline.
2) To get to the waves you have to paddle through the breakers.
3) After a wipeout, you simply paddle back out and catch another wave.
4) Stormy weather can bring the best waves.
5) Every wave is different, but even the perfect one does not last forever.
6) Surfers are passionate about surfing — they live to surf.
When was the last time that you were truly passionate about the life that God is calling you to live.
(Re)Aligning for the Future of God’s Dreams
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” C. S. Dream
The future looks different when we are (re)aligned with God missional dreams.
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” George Bernard Shaw, writer
God is looking for women and men who are unreasonable in the sense that we are captured and committed to God’s dreams—we are unwilling to settle for the stifling of the status quo whenever we are called anew and afresh by Jesus into the world on mission.
What are you afraid of? What is keeping you from pursuing the missional dreams of God for your life? What would it mean for you today to take the initial step?
© 2008 Brian D. Russell