Recently, I had the privilege to join some friends (Thanks Shelby’s!) at their bay house. It’s a beautiful place and a perfect place to “get away” a bit.
I don’t think I’ve ever really sat and watched pelicans diving for fish before. They fly up high to get a good wide perspective and scan for prey. When they see something they circle to get a good angle and then dive with abandon. Recklessly even. They aren’t very graceful – just effective. In order to survive, they must do this regularly – every day even.
I wonder what leaders can learn from pelicans? Do we escape our normal routines and seek out “high places” where we can get good perspectives? Do we continually scan for new opportunities? Do we work to get a good angle and then dive recklessly? Are we so afraid of being ungraceful that we just continue to circle without ever diving? Do we get comfortable enough that we stop working this process or do we do it daily?
I have always been drawn to an adventure. There are so many things I want to experience in life – all of which seem like adventures to me – I wanna bungy jump, skydive, scuba dive the great barrier reef, go spelunking, maybe even heli-skiing. I want to see lions, elephants, and kangaroos in their natural habitat. I’d love to travel to see all the wonders of the world. I want to write a book someday, and drive over 150 miles/hour on the autobahn. I want to run with the bulls, and go on a cattle drive like on City Slickers. I want to fight Darth Vader off with my light saber. (OK – maybe that one’s a stretch) I would love to be able to risk everything I have in order to be a part of something God called me to. Something like planting a church. I want to do it all. I want to get to the end of this life and feel like I had done all there was to do.
Here’s the good news for me!
J. Oswald Sanders says, “Vision leads to venture, and history is on the side of venturesome faith.” (Chapter 8, pg 57, Spiritual Leadership)
Mark Batterson writes about this kind of risk-taking faith in His book “In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day.” He talks about how the Biblical definition of faith and the worlds definition seem at odds. Usually when you hear the word “faith” being used, it’s in terms like: “He is so faithful to the Word.” “She stood her ground against those guys and stayed faithful to our traditions.” It’s usually used in some sort of defensive stance, but the Bible talks about faith in very different terms. Batterson calls our attention to the parable of the talents. “Well done, good and faithful servant.” is spoken to the guys who took a risk. Faith is offensive rather than defensive. The play-it-safe guy was called wicked and lazy. Faith is actually defined as risky!! Now that makes me happy. That means the life that I’ve always dreamed of is actually what God is calling me to. I hope I get to the end of life and God says, “Well done, good and faithful (risk-taking – hyper-hopeful – crazy – what-were-you-thinking? – Jesus-believing – go-after-it-all – offensive – gutsy) servant.”
Here’s a pic of my and my brother diving in Cozumel. I’m the one waving at the camera.
It’s been quite a while for me, but one of my favorite things to do is scuba dive. Quite a few years ago I went on a diving trip with Brenda (my sister), Roger (my brother), Kathy (My sister-in-law), and Kim (Kathy’s sister). Anyway, we went to Cozumel which is known for some of the best scuba diving in the world. The area surrounding the island is an international wildlife area or something so no fishing is allowed. Because of this – the fish and reefs are beautiful and full of all kinds of tropical fish. While there we saw lots of cool things. I swam just above the shell of a sea turtle. We saw sand sharks, eels, lots of cool tropical fish, stingrays, and lobsters so big that could pinch your head off.
We also went on a night dive – that’s when the lobster and other fish come out from their holes. Also during the night dive we wore glow sticks. That way in case anyone got lost everyone else could see ’em. Our dive master led us to an area near the ocean floor where we could just float – it’s called neutral buoyancy. Anyway, he took one of the glow sticks and cut it open and let the little droplets of glowing liquid float around us – pretty cool – it felt like we were in space. We were weightless floating around with glowing “stars” surrounding us.
All the dives in Cozumel are what they call “drift dives.” Part of the reason Cozumel is such a good place to dive is because the water has a current that naturally cleans the reef. This current can also be tough for a diver ’cause it’s hard to swim against. Due to this problem the dive boats simply drop you off in one area and then while you’re underwater, they follow your bubbles to know where to pick you up. As a diver it’s pretty cool cause you get to see the reef without working very hard (or using much of your oxygen) trying to swim around – you simply let the current carry you along the reef and try to swim to the areas that most interest you. On one of our dives I decided to completely surrender to the current. I spent those 40 minutes underwater focusing on praising God for His creation. It was pretty easy considering the things I was getting to see. Anyway, I wonder how my life would be if I completely surrendered to the currents that God blows my direction? Some might think a life like this would be out of control – maybe it is out of my control – but don’t you think God would still be in control?
I think about the opening scene of the movie Forrest Gump. The feather is blowing all over the place and finally settles on Forrest’s shoe. That movie is all about two things – 1. “Life is like a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re gonna get.” and 2. Lt Dan’s “Destiny.” Which is more descriptive of life? Happenstance or Destiny? I think the feather is the perfect answer – it’s both. What seems like happenstance to us can still be destiny to God. I wanna be a feather on God’s wind – by the way, Jesus describes the Holy Spirit like the wind. In the same way that I surrendered to the current while I was diving, I wanna surrender to the Holy Spirit each day. My life may seem out of control to you, but I’m gonna trust God that He knows what He’s doing.
Here’s a video from our Cozumel Scuba Diving Trip: