This time the reason I haven’t written for a while is because I haven’t been able to settle on what to write. I’ve come up with several possible topics—fear of failure, forty days of prayer for the conference next month, “If you don’t run, you can’t win"—but every time the words have refused to go on the paper.
The idea of that last one, the one about “If you don’t run,” came from the book I’ve been reading in my quiet times recently. I love the title—If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat. I’ve been impressed at all the author, John Ortberg, has been able to come up with out of that one story—everything from “boat potatoes” and all they miss to “God does some of His best work in caves.” A recent focus has been about failure and how God wants us to learn from it, not just bury the pain and keep trucking along blindly without letting the failure make us better.
Ortberg retells a story from the Chariots of Fire movie. Apparently Eric Liddell’s chief competitor was a guy who wasn’t used to losing. In fact, it sounds as if he hadn’t lost in a long time. He was so upset that he exploded to his wife, “I don’t run to take beatings, I run to win! If I can’t win, I won’t run!” To which his wife wisely replied, “If you don’t run, you can’t win.”
All the while I’ve been working on this Tangled Strands story, working on bringing it into the writing styles of today and along the way discovering some story elements that will make it stronger, I’ve had similar thoughts run through my mind. The truth is, all my efforts to polish it and to get it published don’t guarantee that it will get published—but if I don’t make those efforts, it for sure won’t happen. It’s true that Peter’s attention wandered from Jesus to the storm and he started to sink, but the disciples who never got out of the boat (those boat potatoes) never got to experience the thrill of walking on water that Peter did.
If I never see Tangled Strands published, at least I will have tried. In the meantime, I’m learning and growing and keeping my mind agile. I’m enjoying memorable experiences I would never have had otherwise, such as meeting and interacting with well-published authors. I am energized by all of it, and I have the satisfaction of knowing I am doing all that I can to make publication happen. Ah! Now there’s the idea for my next blog!
So if you’ve gotten out of some boat in your life recently, taken on a daunting challenge, good for you. If you’re still clinging to the side of the boat, worrying about what the waves will do to you if make yourself vulnerable to them, then I urge you to take courage. You’ll never experience the exhilaration of walking on water if you keep hanging on to the boat.