“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Friend to Friend
What do you do when your ship pulls up anchor and sails off without you? How do you respond when life doesn’t turn out like you thought it would? Where do you turn when the powers that be toss your hopes and dreams overboard and tell you to go home? What do you do when someone whose opinion matters denies you passage on the boat you were meant to board?
The answers to those questions can change everything. You need to decide right now—before it happens.
In my last devotion, I told the story of being left at the dock in Italy while my friends sailed away. “You are not fit to sail,” was the ship’s declaration. (If you didn’t see yesterday’s devotion, go to www.girlfriendsinGod.com to catch up.)
Let’s go back to the story—to the trip that ended before it began. Pull up a chair and sit with me in the seaport terminal. That’s what Nicoletta did. She was a young woman who worked for the cruise line and seemed just as broken-hearted as we felt. “I wish I should help you,” she whispered in awkward English.
She sat with me. Tried to console me. And cared for me. Then she came up with a crazy idea.
“I know this would be a lot of trouble,” she began. “I know this would be risky and costly. But what you could do is take a ninety minute cab ride back to Rome, check in a hotel by the airport, and book a flight from Rome to Reggio Calabria for tomorrow morning at 6:00 a.m. Once in Reggio, take a bus from the airport to the seaport terminal.
“Then take a ferry from the seaport terminal, across the Mediterranean, to the island of Sicily where the ship will be docked. When you get to Sicily, find a local doctor who will examine you. If the doctor declares you healthy, and writes you a certificate saying you are ‘fit to sail,’ you can then take that back to the ship doctor and perhaps he will allow you to board. But you have to do all that before 3 p.m. tomorrow when the ship will leave Messina and sets sail for Greece.”
That was the craziest idea we had ever heard. Who did she think we were? Superman and Wonder Woman? So what did we do?
We took a cab back to Rome, a flight to Reggio Calabria, a bus to the seaport, and a ferry across the Mediterranean to Sicily. Once in Sicily we met up with Nicoletta’s friend, Lucia, who drove us to her personal doctor who spoke no English. The doctor poked, prodded, and prepared a report that declared I was healthy and “fit to sail.”
The report was in Italian, so Lucia translated it into English using her Smartphone app. The doctor signed the document, put her official stamp on it, and we exchanged double-cheek kisses . . . three times. She felt so sorry for us and all we had gone through during the past twenty-four hours, she wouldn’t even accept payment. More double-cheek kisses. More tears.
Steve and I scurried back to that cruise boat waving the official “fit to sail” document like the victory flag it was. The attendant gave to it to the ship doctor, who then allowed us to board the ship at 2:45. Fifteen minutes later the ship’s horn blasted announcing it was leaving the port.
Did that story make you tired? It makes me tired just thinking about it. But here’s what you need to know. At some point in your life, someone whose opinion you think matters might tell you to “go home.” They may deny you passage on a ship that you know is meant for you. They may tell you:
You are not smart enough.
You don’t have the right resources.
Your writing is not good enough.
You don’t have the right credentials.
Your past is too sordid.
Your idea is not practical.
You might even stand on the dock of your precisely prepared hopes and dreams and watch as your friends get on the ship that you long to board—without you. All you can do is put on a forced smile and wish them well, when what you want more than anything is to run on that ship and say, “You’ve made a mistake. This is my boat! It was meant for me too! Don’t leave me!”
And if that happens to you, you will have a choice. You can give up and go home. Or you can do what you need to get to get on board. You can take a cab, take a flight, take a bus, take a ferry, and do whatever you need to do get on the ship God has built for you. Let go of discouragement and take hold of your God-given dream.
I don’t know what your ship is today. I don’t know what God has planned for you . . . but I do know it is something good.
History is full of untold stories of men and women who did not complete their assignments from God, but stopped too soon in the face of disappointment.
Perseverance is fueled by moving beyond the circumstances that are seemingly against you in confidence of the Holy Spirit who is within you.
Pressing on in the face of discouragement might seem a bit crazy. Persevering when the world puts a “Do Not Enter” sign in front of your hopes and dreams takes a determination that is not for the faint of heart. Relentlessly pursuing your passion when what you’d really like to do is crawl back in bed and cry will try your stamina. But the alternative is to go home and wave as others sail away while you cozy up with the remote.
Pressing on in the shadow of discouragement is hard work. Giving up is easier. But it is those who persist in the shadow of disappointment that experience the sweetness of success—who live the adventurous faith that God intended all along. Who live BOLD.
If you hit a wall, climb over it. I pray that you’ll unearth dreams that you’ve buried in the soil of discouragement and disappointment. Dust them off. Move forward. Live bold.
God, so many times I give up too soon. I think about all the men and women in the Bible who faced impossible situations. Suppose they had given up and gone home? Help me be like the saints of old who kept pressing on when common sense said, “Give up.”
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Today’s devotion was longer than usual. If you read to the end, that means that you DO have a spirit to persevere and we’re kindred spirits! Now, let’s think about a few folks in the Bible.
How did Noah have to keep pressing on in the face of rejection?
How did Moses have to keep pressing on in the face of rejection?
How did the disciples have to keep pressing on in the face of rejection?
Are you seeing a pattern here?
How do you need to keep pressing on in the face of rejection?
More from the Girlfriends
Today’s devotion came from my latest book, Take Hold of the Faith You Long For: Let Go, Move Forward, Live Bold. Let’s take hold of all that Jesus has already taken hold of for us and placed in us! Check it out at www.takeholdthebook.com where you can download a free chapter and watch a video book trailer. The book also comes with a Bible study guide. Make sure and sign up for my weekly blog for more great deals and inspiration.