[Jesus] saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then He sat down and taught the people from the boat. When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
I believe one of the greatest things to witness in this life is the yearning of another’s heart to walk in their God-given purpose, because within the realization of one’s purpose comes the revelation of being meant for more. God has promised that we would do greater things than Jesus; and if Jesus raised the dead, lifted veils off blind eyes and walked on water there’s no questioning that in this life we are made to do what mankind has deemed impossible. Yet I believe hearing the simple truth that we are to do amazing things in this life, often times, becomes so intimidating to our listening ears that we establish a life of paralyzed daydreaming and overwhelmed expectations. We begin imagining a world where our lives are influential and impactful. We see ourselves changing culture. Our legacy begins to burn within us. We see it, but we’re not always told how to obtain it. And it’s this gap between potential and purpose that so often cripples us from getting to our final destination. So what’s next?
Where Do I Start?
I believe the most paralyzing thing to a person’s purpose is the need to have a definitive answer to the questions, “Where do I begin,” and “What should I do next?” We’ve come to believe the second we decide to pursue purpose we will receive a how-to guide in the mail the next afternoon. We irrationally expect God to download His plan for our lives in its entirety, as if our simple request to be used by Him gives us access to all the classified manilla folders of heaven. And when this doesn’t happen, we are left to continue dreaming.
This dreaming, in and of itself, is not what cripples us. It’s the consuming grandeur of what our purpose entails that gets in the way of us looking before God and seeing what He’s calling us to do next. We position ourselves in a place knowing we will see people healed, speak truth and power over another’s life, and draw people into their identity of royalty. And because we may not instantly be shown our next step, I believe we form a mentality that says the grandeur of our purpose can only be established on such events and experiences. It’s a mentality that limits us from understanding the simplicity within our purpose, forcing us to believe simplicity and purpose can’t coexist.
Embrace the Unusual in Your Normal
I often questioned why Jesus taught from the boat in Luke 5. What made Him want to teach people on the shore from a boat? He could have easily told the people to back up on the sand a bit. Yet He chose the boat. In my questioning, God told me, "Jesus taught from the boat because He knew that if He told Peter to cast His nets from dry land they would have resisted him even more. Jesus needed them to be in the water. They needed to be in the position where their faith could be exercised. If they were in the boat they would have no reason to say no to His command.”
If Peter and the other disciples were on dry land they would have had every excuse for Jesus as to why they wouldn’t, couldn’t and should not have cast out their nets; but because they were already on the water, God placed the disciples in a position where they could argue with Jesus but had nothing to lose. They were in their boat, their nets were clean, and with them was the Son of God. All they had to do was exercise their faith in the simplicity of the moment.
How often do we look at what seems normal in our lives and question why God is having us live through them? How often do we look at the little things of life and think they’ll have no influence in the grand scheme of our purpose? It was normal for Peter to cast his nets because he had been doing it for so long. Yet it was in Peter’s ability - in faith - to act out of his day-to-day actions that lead Him to snag a catch so large his nets broke. It was because God positioned Peter and His disciples in a place of simplicity that they were able to realize their purpose.
Our lives with God are the same way. It’s the culmination of our daily actions that will one day result in a record of magnificent glory. Our purpose is realized as we embrace the unusual in our normal - when we recognize the normal day-to-day moments of life are simply opportunities to position ourselves in faith, believing God will do something marvelous in the mundane. We begin to walk in our purpose when we hold onto our dreams, while the abandoning the need for understanding.
Our dreams are not always meant to be understood. They are just meant to be created. The beginning of living an unimaginable life begins by focusing on the simplicity of casting out our nets when Jesus brings us into our boats.