Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Stepping Out of the Boat...

Recently, I read John Ortberg's If You Want to Walk on Water, You Have to Get Out of the Boat. It isn't the only courage-related text I've run across lately, nor will it likely be the last.

Courage... stepping out of the boat... is something I've studied a while now. Not because I lack it, but to better understand it. Courage is action taken in wisdom in spite of fears. It is getting your feet wet even if you're afraid of the water, knowing something better will come of it. It is taking that leap of faith you know you should, despite the whispers that you can't or shouldn't do it. It is saying hello, even though you may be rejected. It is saying goodbye, even though it hurts, because you know it is best. It is asking the powerful question. It is many things, but it is action-based... and it takes faith.

Water-walker. All photos herein from WeHeartIt.com
Courage isn't about being a risk-taker, per se. A lot of people are risk-takers, but not necessarily courageous. And a lot of people who are the opposite of risk-taker... they have courage. They take the step they fear most because they know they will be a better person for it. They don't take the step just for the thrill of it.

Tupak Shakur once said, "Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside while still alive." And it is to this end I aim... not to allow anything else to die inside while I live. What about you?

Are there dreams you have inside that you KNOW you can step toward, even fulfill, but fear has stopped up the way there? Are there talents you don't use because you're afraid of what others will think of you? What about your authenticity? Are you being the person God called you to be; the person you KNOW you are, or are you putting on a mask for the world to see, afraid of what the world might say? Even if that world is only one person, that's one person too many to have us living in fear. That's one person too much that we don't need fear. What can man do to us, anyway? They cannot take out authenticity away or cause us to live in fear without our consent. We cannot allow what others say, think, or do... or what we THINK they will say, think, or do... to prevent, stall, or create stillborn within us that which we were created to do, to be.

Walt Disney said, "All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." And that is true... it may take stepping out of the boat in the midst of the greatest storm of your life, but if it leads to the fulfillment of your dream... will the storm stop you?

Sometimes courage means waiting. Not passively, but actively, patiently waiting, as on the Lord to bring strength.

Sometimes courage means running, soaring, walking, going where you'd never have before. Sometimes it means taking that trip, sending that letter, saying hello to that potential friend, confronting that person with love, saying goodbye when it is for the best... it can take a lot of forms. What is your dream? How can you get from here to there, without stomping on others (that is recklessness, not courage)?

"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do," Eleanor Roosevelt reminds us,  and Robert Frost says,"The best way out is always through." When we stop and look fear in the face, and still walk through it, doing the things we think we cannot, we step into new levels of faith and glimpse new horizons of the beauty of true living.

As some of you know, I'm getting ready to begin a new project that I hope crowdfunding can help with. For me, this is stepping out of the boat. This is stopping to look fear in the face, and not allowing what other people to think get in the way of what I know I must do, for my own soul's sake, and to be authentic to who I am.

I've thought a lot about it, done the math a hundred different ways, and think I finally, finally have it narrowed down to three ideas for how to go about what I'm looking to do. All include an element of travel, which for me, is the part that involves getting up courage and facing fears that I didn't always realize I had. All include an element of creativity, which is exciting but also has an element of fear, because part of me is tempted to cater instead of write what I must... and know that it will be great for those who it is meant for, even if I don't know who they all are at this point. Not only writing, but photography... I take risks with both of them, but for me, those risks take courage that I know I can and will muster, when the time comes. As a planner, I am thankful I can plan at least some of this adventure, even though much of it will be more free-form than my comfort zone prefers.

So, stay tuned for water-walking. Stepping out of the boat, even when there's a storm. Not just from me, but look around you. Who do you know that steps into the waves? Is it you? A loved one? A mentor? What are you learning from watching others in their life journeys, and from their courage?

It's time to step out of the boat!

UPDATE 7/16/13-- I'm STEPPING out of the BOAT!! COME OVER and check out my FUNDRAISER! Journey to a Thousand Voices...