Lessons I’ve Learned About Sailing

“A ship in a harbor is safe, but that’s not what a ship is made for”

I’ve heard this phrase a few times over the years, but for some reason, when I heard it today in church, it resonated more than it had in the past. This statement, while simple, is something that I think a lot of people struggle with, myself included. It’s much easier to not risk being damaged, not risk failing, not risk falling short of expectations. It’s easier to keep it safe than it is to risk anything. But you’d have to wonder, what if? What if you took a chance? What if you risked the safety and security of the harbor to sail the ocean? Yes, it’s scarier and takes more effort, but it’s what you’re made to do.

For those of you that know me, you know that my life has been a wild ride so far. From giving up my 4-year ROTC scholarship to pursue what I felt God was calling me to at the time, to deciding to go on a 5-week trip to Uganda a couple months before the trip with no idea how I would raise $4,000 and get all the necessary shots with no health insurance; my life has not been short of “faith building” events. However, many opportunities have come up that I felt God has put in my path that I didn’t pursue. I was afraid. I was afraid, despite all that God has provided, and despite how faithful He’s been in my life. I was afraid that I would fail. I was afraid that it wouldn’t come out the way I thought it would. I was afraid of what others might say. The list goes on. I stayed in the harbor instead of sailing. And while I have been secure, and God has proven Himself faithful in other ways, I’ve been asking myself “what if?” a lot more than I’d care to.

The Bible is full of people who got a call from God to do something beyond their capabilities, but they said Yes anyway. People that come to mind off the top of my head are Joseph (Old Testament), Moses, Rahab, and Paul. All unlikely leaders, but they took a risk and trusted God. It wasn’t easy, and they all faced tons of difficulty, but God remained faithful. And not only that, but a lot of people were affected by their obedience. Our obedience—and our disobedience—affects more people than you would imagine.

Our lives have significance. They are meant for more than just working, making money, and dying. We have a role to play in the grand scheme of humanity. We have passions and desires that are not there by accident. What are we doing with them? How are we bettering the lives of those around us?

Yes, the harbor is safe, secure, predictable. But it’s not what we’re made for. The ocean can be a scary place. But one thing I’ve learned is that oftentimes the things worth pursuing are also the scariest.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain

Happy Sailing.