The two largest religions in the world today are Christianity and Islam, so I'm going to make an assumption a lot of folks reading this have a vague idea of who Jesus was/is regardless of your faith or the depth you pursue it. If you've at least heard of Jesus, you probably also have a vague awareness of the story about how he walked on water. If you don't know the story, no worries...I'll give you the super abridged version and I promise this isn't a sermon.
Here's the story of Jesus walking on water in a nutshell...there's a storm raging in the Sea of Galilee and a group of Jesus' closest friends are trying to make it to the other side in a small boat. Jesus isn't with them because he chose to hang back to place a collect call with his dad and meet up with his friends later. As Jesus' friends are making their way across the sea in this insanely intense storm in the middle of the night, they began to panic because of its raging intensity. A lot of these folks grew up on the water and it's where they made their living, so if they are freaking out my guess is the storm is pretty intense.
So, they are all freaking out and it's about this time Jesus appears in the distance walking toward them. On the water. As if the storm wasn't bad enough, the guy who runs your crew finds another way to completely freak you out by overcoming the laws of physics and strolls up on the surface of the water in the middle of a hurricane. Jesus tells them all to chill out and makes his way toward the boat and here’s where the story gets interesting and in my opinion serves as the key takeaway. One of Jesus' friends, a guy by the name of Peter (yes the guy with the key to the "pearly gates"), asks Jesus if he can join him...out on the water. And Jesus says yes and invites him to stroll out! So, Peter gets out of the boat in the middle of the storm and undoubtedly enabled with supernatural powers bestowed by the creator of the universe, to my knowledge becomes the second human form to walk on water that isn't frozen.
Now Peter isn't the son of God and he eventually begins to sink requiring Jesus to save him from drowning. But, for a moment, Peter walked on water. Pretty impressive stuff. But that's not the main point of the story either in my opinion. In fact, it's not the most impressive miracle that night. I think any of us could walk on water if God invited us to do it and gave us the divine ability. But, what Peter did without the assistance of God's divine supernatural powers is simply get out of the boat. Peter got out of the boat all on his own. He exercised his "free will" and made a conscious decision to accept an invitation and get out of the boat in the middle of a raging storm to walk on water knowing it defied all logic and would require the aid of something greater than himself. And THAT is the miracle of this story in my humble opinion. This is where I find myself these days...wanting to get out of my boat. It should be easy, but it's not. It takes courage and a strong dose of faith to get out of the boat in the middle of a storm.
We all have a boat we are afraid to get out of. I actually have a fleet of them, but I'll just focus on one for the moment...my music. I am a musician in every sense of the word. I am not trying to say I'm a gifted or extraordinary musician or I'm talented beyond any great measure. But, I am a musician. I think, breathe, and live through my music. I find meaning in songs and use those songs to express my feelings and thoughts. I create music. I am very in tune with the world around me and I look at every conversation, expression, feeling, visual or audible experience that comes my way to see if I am able to capture a feeling and paint a portrait of it in a song of my own. Regardless of my talent level, I now know after many years of ignoring it, music is simply who I am. It is how I was created and I have to believe it was for a purpose. Maybe that purpose is to simply receive the gift and enjoy the happiness music brings me, and I do. But it feels like there is more.
It feels like my boat is drifting and it's getting smaller and smaller and I need to make a choice to get out and start walking on water instead of just riding out the storm and seeing where the wind blows me. If I'm being honest, it feels like I'm being invited out of the boat. I started hearing the invitation to get out of my boat a couple years ago, but as I said getting out is scary. The boat is safe. It's dry and while not really exciting, it's predictable. It will float. But, it's also incredibly boring and drifts in whatever direction the storm is blowing with no real input from me. Y'all, WE WERE NEVER MADE TO STAY IN OUR BOAT. The boat is a vehicle to get us to a place where we can get out and perform our own little miracle. The boat gets us to a place where we can finally hear the invitation to start walking on water. The boat doesn't take us THROUGH the storm. It takes us TO the storm. The storm is where we hear the call and get to decide if it's worth getting out of the boat to do the very thing we were created to do. My boat and my storm came together for me in 2020 and I've decided it's time to get out of my boat.
In an effort to answer that nagging voice in my heart, I used 2021 to start playing my music as much as possible whenever and wherever I could. I wrote songs, studied and practiced over and over and over. I put myself in as many new and unfamiliar situations as I could find with my music. I prepared myself to get out the boat. I've also started creating new opportunities for myself to continue to work in a "real job" that allows me to pursue my dreams without confining myself to predictable and safe environments that don't further my dream and what I believe is my purpose. If the invitation is real, I want to be prepared when opportunity arrives. I'll never be "good" enough. Peter wasn't good enough on his own either, but he tried and had the incredible fortune of experiencing a miracle. I want to experience that miracle too. So, I will move forward like Peter knowing the boat and it's predictable safety do not even come close in comparison to the opportunity to do something spectacular. Something I was created to do.
I have no idea what is in store for me in the coming year, but I have a foot over the side and I am going to walk on water or get wet trying. I'm really not worried. In fact, I am fairly certain I will get wet and my head will go under now and again. But, I have the world's greatest life guard watching over me. I will write music, I will play and sing music and I will record music. God willing, I will walk on water too.
What is your "boat?" Are you ready to get out of it yet? I promise a storm is coming and one day you are going to find yourself drifting in the middle of that storm. When that day arrives, you will hear a call to forego the safety of your boat to climb out, but make no mistake, you do have a choice. You can stay in the boat and see where the storm takes you or you can climb out. It's out on the water where you'll find adventure and your purpose and if you're listening for it, there's a voice out past the breaking waves inviting you to start walking.
I promise more music and rambling stories coming after the new year! I'll see you out on the water. Love ya'll!