Years ago while at a friends lake house, Jon had the opportunity to catch his first fish. He
had been watching his older brothers do it for years and it was finally his turn. We operated under a strict catch and release program because a small perch is not worth the trouble to eat and catching was the fun we were after. After Jon caught his fish he stood for the customary ‘first fish photo’ and then we explained that it was time to put the fish back in the water. Much to our surprise Jon had a different idea. There was no way that boy was going to give up his prize possession! We finally came to a compromise and placed the small fish on a stringer and tied the stringer to the dock. Sometime later we noticed that Jon had decided that the fish needed to be closer to him. He took the stringer from the dock and tied the rope to his life jacket. Jon was so proud to have his new friend close but the fish on the other hand was not too happy with the arrangement. The fish, now dead, followed him around as if it were a dog on a leash.
|This is NOT Jon's fish but this was shortly before he caught his own!|
Jon expected the fish to behave like a dog. The fish, however, was not a dog and could only hold its breath for a little while. I can really relate to that fish. A new country, a new culture, a new job and I feel like I have been holding my breath trying to be the dog that everyone expects but really I’m just a fish who is completely out of its element. Last week the lack of oxygen finally caught up with me. I told the Lord, I can’t do this anymore! As always, He was so gracious to me. He reminded me of two things:
- HE MADE ME: God has made me who I am, and that is all I ever have to be. I am not perfect and God is still shaping me but I do not have to bow to pressure to be someone other than who I am. For some of you this may be a very easy concept. For me, however, my insecurities scream that I must be what other people expect or need. It has taken years for me to learn to live free from these lies, but sometimes I find myself slipping back into old habits.
- HE CALLED ME: God has called me to this place. He wants me, warts and all, in this place at this time. He has a plan and He is in charge of working that plan out for His glory and my good. My job is to rest in that. I do not have to do anything but be obedient. He is the one that produces the results that He wants.
Setting these two truths back into their rightful place in my thinking has allowed me to exhale and breath. Once I did this, I was able to see that some of the expectations I was striving to live up to where self-imposed. I was my own worst enemy!
I don’t know where you find yourself. Are you comfortably living where God has placed you or are you like Jon’s fish suffocating under unrealistic expectations? Don’t let anyone or anything pressure you into being someone that you are not. Remember that God has made you as you are for a purpose. Rest in that and take the time to breathe.