In the excitement of our new blog and deciding what to post next, I assembled these photos of fishermen and their nets. I love the nets themselves, and I’m also fascinated by how these men live. But I struggled with what to share along with the photos.
Really, I couldn’t look at the nets and not think about Jesus and his followers fishing on the Sea of Galilee. But, I argued with myself – well, really with God – I don’t want to write about Christian lessons. I don’t want to be one of those women – you know, the Christian mom-bloggers that cook delicious dinners and sport trendy clothes. I don’t even have kids, Bill does the cooking, and I wear clothes from a decade ago, but I still try to protest that I don’t want to be put in that box. I don’t want to pigeon-hole our blog or alienate readers, I say, imagining the intellectual and artistic atheists promptly closing the blog and never coming back. Wait, we’ve only shared this with blog with a few people? Sigh, my arguments are fruitless, so here goes.
One evening, Peter and a few disciples went out to fish, but they caught nothing all night. The next morning, Jesus stands on the shore and tells them to throw their net on the right side of the boat because they will find fish there. Peter and the disciples do so, and they couldn’t even pull the net in because there were so many fish. [my paraphrase of John 21:3-6]
Peter was a professional fisherman, so you can imagine he may have been thinking: “I know these waters, I just spent all night fishing, there are NOT any fish right now, it’s not even worth throwing the net in again.”
And yet he did and he was not disappointed.
How often do I like to think I know better than God? I certainly tend to think my plans are the best, and I despise not being able to plan out my life years in advance. I’ve ignored little nudges in my mind to say hello to a person or take an opportunity, because I wanted to avoid scary or uncomfortable situations. Or I don’t stop long enough to even pay attention to those promptings. I so easily forget about the times that God has come through when I cast those metaphorical nets or take crazy steps of faith, and I fall back into patterns of doing what I want. But what do I miss out on when I don’t cast my net on the right side of the boat, even when it seems ridiculous?
I know from experience that listening to God is much more fulfilling even when it’s uncomfortable or scary or not part of my plan. I pursued a job in India, simultaneously entertaining feelings of excitement and terror about the prospect of it. At times I would lay awake at night hoping I didn’t get the job because it would be a lot easier to stay put. I would try to smile confidently when people would ask “so you’re moving to India and you’ve never been there and you don’t know anyone there?” while desperately grabbing for whatever had made me excited for this crazy idea in the first place.
And yet I was not disappointed. Looking back, I don’t even want to imagine the growth and experiences I would have missed out on had I not taken that step of faith. Moving to India opened my eyes to the world, taught me about my own abilities and how to overcome fears. It allowed me to deeply understand the power of prayer and brought me my wonderful husband.
As I remember the good that God has brought, I am trying to continually listen to the little nudges in my mind and the big dreams in my heart. Do they scare me or make me uncomfortable simply because growth is never easy? When do I need to throw my net on the right side of the boat? Maybe it’s talking to our housekeeper about her weekend. Maybe it’s making a photo book and entering it into a contest. Maybe it’s going to art school someday. Maybe for today it’s publishing this blog post. …yikes!