When you are in recovery, sometimes you are going to get wet. The only question is how quickly will you get back into the boat?
My son came home mad the other day. He was angry. “Assholes on the bus….” he muttered. He talked and I listened as he poured out his rage and his pain. Kids can be assholes, we concluded. Then I said, maybe there is a lesson here: There are assholes everywhere.
I joked with him that this is the real reason why in the New Testament story, Peter got out of the boat and risked his life by walking on the water. There must have been assholes in the boat. Nope, that’s not what the Bible says, but in my experience, every boat has it’s share of assholes.
In the story, the guys are rowing and a big storm comes up. These are grown men who are used to the open water. But this storm scared them. Just when it got really intense, a man appears and he is walking on the water. That man was Jesus.
What Can We Learn From our Failures?
If you are a doubter, you may not believe the story or you may explain it away. I’m not trying to convince anyone. I just want us to think about the story and what we can learn about falling into the water.
Honestly my reason for this story is selfish. I needed a story about people who blew it and recovered. Because that’s what I did this week, I blew it at work and I blew it in my recovery.
When I a fall down, old messages come up about how I am a failure, an unsuccessful screw up. I’m not a perfectionist, I just have a hard time getting over my mistakes.
The Story Tells Us About Shame
We all notice the Peters, the guys who get on the water and risk it big. They bring it home and do the work. Sure they fall, but look at what they did!
Then when you and I fall, we feel the shame because we failed and after all, “all that I do is sit and row.” Shame takes our failure and warps it into an incendiary bomb.
We ignore how every one in the boat is out there risking something. Whatever their role, they risked failure and getting it wrong. They faced the storm that made them pee their pants. Even the Jerks and the assholes were scared. Even the heroic Peter fell that day.
You Are on The Water, Risking it All
If you got it wrong this week, if you failed, if you fell off of the wagon, if you blew your diet or your mental health took a nose dive, remember: You are in the boat.
Your paddle is for rowing, not for beating up on yourself. This is difficult for me. I fall and then I relive it for the next week or the next month. It’s like a failure loop in my brain. Over and over.
That day in the boat, everyone fell on their faces. Everyone got scared and couldn’t handle it. If they failed, they only failed because they were on the water. Getting it wrong is proof that you have not settled.
In the story, I was surprised that Jesus got into the boat. Clearly, He didn’t need the boat, but he wanted to be with his people. If you blew it this week like I did, you need Jesus in your boat… you need your people. Never fail alone, because you rob yourself of a lesson with skin on it: We all get scared and we all fall overboard once in a while.
You Are Going to Get Wet
Some days are rowing days: You just put your head down and work your recovery or work your goals. Other days are storm days and you risk falling into the water. Rowing doesn’t work and you just hold onto the boat. Then you have the get-back-into-the-boat-and-row-again days. The choice is sit there and be hard on yourself or start to row again.
In case you are tempted to be hard on yourself because you fell, remember, you left the shore behind you a long time ago. Your new life is on the water.
So of course you are going to get wet. That’s the point of it all.
Keep it Real
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