Christmas has come and gone and the New Year is here. Many people use this as the jumping off point for resolutions for more exercise and less food. More relaxation and less work…more time for relationships and less time spent checking off the “to do list”. What is the promise you have made for self-improvement in this New Year? Will you keep your promise? Have you told anyone about it so they can help you to be accountable? Why do you need to do (or not do) the thing you are committing to?
As author, John Ortberg, says, “If you want to walk on water, you’ve got to get out of the boat”. The foundation for that statement is Peter, the disciple who asked Jesus to prove Himself by having Peter walk on the water. Some consider Peter a failure because he didn’t stay on top of the water. But, Ortberg asks a great question…what about the disciples who stayed in the boat. Does anyone give them a second thought? Do you ever hear sermons about those guys?
This New Year, maybe you should ask yourself if you would like to be more like Peter or more the like the guys in the boat. Would you rather be a leader who dares to take risks or a complacent, mediocre, “safe” person?
In my practice I often see people who live their lives in the shadow of fear.
The “what if’s” of life that are typically negative in nature. What if I don’t get the job…what if I don’t get the promotion…what if this is not the right marriage partner…what if I make all of these changes and I am still lonely in my relationship…what if I try to communicate and people don’t listen…what if I give my teen a little slack and he takes advantage of it….what if…what if…what if. These people are depressed, miserable, and fearful. They struggle through their lives without joy and without personal growth and maturity. Facing our fears is success. Who doesn’t want to be successful? Who wants to be negative and glum? No one has ever come into my therapy office and had misery and pessimism as a goal. Everyone wants to be content. Everyone wants to have joy.
I believe that Peter is a great example of the positive what if’s and a great example of pro-actively owning his convictions and taking hold of his own responsibility for success. He said what if I CAN walk on water? What if I DO succeed in taking this risk?
This year, why not Believe the Best rather than to Assume the Worst? Face your fears and ask yourself, what if I DO succeed? What if the changes I am committing to ARE going to bring me joy and peace? What if I DO feel better because of the activities I have decided to adopt? What if they DO become part of my life? What if I DON’T quit?
We all wait until New Year’s or “Monday” to start something new or turn over a new leaf. Why put off success or joy or contentment? Start NOW. Because, you know, if you want to walk on water…you have to get out of the boat.