Betty took this picture a few years ago on our visit to the Grand Tetons. Even though we were there in late May, winter was still in full force on the peaks. I love this photo because of the power, majesty, and raw nature it captures.
It reminds me of my satisfying retirement goal: to scale the heights of my abilities, time, and energies as far as I can. Anything else seems like a waste of the opportunities given to me.
Our small group at church is going through a series this fall entitled, "If You Want to Walk On Water, You Have To Get Out Of The Boat." This refers specifically to the passage in Matthew in which Jesus asks Peter to get out of the boat and walk on the water to him. The message is one of faith and trust.
For this post, I'd like to focus on the broader message implied by that title. If we want to accomplish anything of worth we have to "step out of the boat" of our own comfort zone. If we want to grow instead of stagnate we must (to use the same metaphor) risk sinking beneath the water a few times until we learn to swim.
Is it easy? Absolutely not. Safe and comfortable, calm and predictable are more normal choices for human beings. But, are we built to handle more than we do? Yes. How will we know what we can do? By stepping out of our boat every now and then.
What is our personal "boat?" It can be anything: our possessions, our health limitations, our relationships, our self-image. It could be money or financial issues, control over situations or shyness with new people. It is often simply the risk of failure in whatever the subject.
I want to encourage all of us to look at that photo of the mountain not as something cold, snowy, dangerous, and a barrier to what's on the other side. See it as a challenge to you, a challenge to get out of your own "boat" of safety and scale the heights of a new experience. Decide you want to see what is on the other side.
If you take on this task you will stumble and fall, you might even embarrass yourself for awhile. But, so what? We are all old enough that what others think shouldn't always be the standard we are shooting for.
Get out of your boat and climb that mountain. The view will be spectacular.