“RISK … A ship in the harbor is safe … but that’s not what ships were made for.” John Augustus Shedd, American author and professor
“POSSIBILITIES … The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.” Sir Arthur Charles Clarke, English physicist and science fiction writer
Those are two of my (Dave) favorite sayings. They hang on the wall in our house. Those of you who know me best probably also know that one of my passions is challenging all of us to be all we can be, and to not simply be content to do what is easy and safe. At the end of my life I want no regrets; I want my bucket list to be empty. I don’t want to say, “If only I would have done …”
What I am not saying is we should be careless and foolish. I am not saying we should run across a four lane highway at rush hour, trying to dodge the speeding cars. What I am saying is we should not be afraid (or maybe too lazy) to step out and follow our dreams. Too often we stay in the harbor because in the harbor the water is calm, and we can be anchored to something safe. But like the first quote says, ships are not made to stay in the harbor. You and me, like ships, are made to venture out into the deep waters. And like the second quote says, sometimes that water is deep and unknown, and the skies dark, but until we push ourselves further and further, we do not yet know our limits.
All I am saying is do not let anyone or anything limit what you can accomplish. Do not let the excuses of “wrong sex, wrong skin color, wrong age” be a limiting factor. Or, don’t fool yourself into believing you are not skilled enough. I am always amazed at what I see people do, and what they are willing to learn, to follow the passion they have. Don’t let the fear of looking foolish in the eyes of the world stop you either. I am sure there are many out there who think we must have lost our sanity to quit our good paying jobs, sell our house with that wonderful swimming pool, walk away from all that was comfortable and familiar, leave our family and friends behind … all to move 450 miles away to a whole new culture to plant a church from the ground up. And throw in the fact that we are over 50, and you have the makings of “what in the world were you thinking?” Well, I could write forever giving that answer, but you already know our reason. We are following a dream planted in us by God and we made a decision to pull up anchor and venture out into the deep seas. Scary? … absolutely. Challenging? … you bet it is. But more than those, it is what we are meant to be doing, so scary and challenging just come with the territory. There is nothing else we would rather be doing at this point in time.
So, right now I am challenging all of us to look at our bucket lists, or maybe you have a “wish list,” and start on a journey to fulfill whatever it is you want to do, or whatever you want to be. It could be learning a foreign language or play a musical instrument, learning to paint, learning to ski, changing careers, running a marathon, learning to cook (no, grilled cheese and microwaved hotdogs don’t count, sorry!) public speaking, maybe moving to another state to plant a church. Whatever “it” is, think it over, plan it out, get up off your duff, work hard, play hard, rest hard, have fun, and go for it. I am sure you will amaze yourself, and likely amaze those watching too. Whatever it is you do, do it with passion and do it well. And when you fall down, get up and brush the dirt off your knees, put a bandage on it, and get right back out there and keep trying.
And don’t let the fear of failure keep you from sailing into the deep waters and finding the limits of what is possible.
Twin Rivers Vineyard Church, New Bern, North Carolina