One of my favorite things to do in the summer at the Lake House is pull out the kayak and paddle my way around the lake early in the morning. Sometimes my sister and I will get the canoe and attempt to paddle together. I’ve found that canoeing with her is not as peaceful nor are we very successful. We usually can’t row in sync and end up paddling in circles or not moving at all.
Unlike me and Brittany in the canoe, if you’ve ever seen professional rowing, it’s much more synchronized and coordinated, to say the least. If you had the opportunity to watch any of the rowing in the Olympic Games, you saw 8 rowers in a boat. Seven of the rowers are using the oars to make the boat move forward, while facing backward. The 8th person on the boat, called the coxswain, is facing forward looking at the crew as they put in work.
According to Wikipedia, the coxswain is like a coach. They are a member of the team who sits in the boat facing forward, steering the boat, and coordinating the power and rhythm of the rowers by communication. I thought about the formation of these rowers and how it relates to our own life.
This week, I heard Dale Partridge describe a pictograph of faith. He said it shows a man in a row boat, going forward but looking backward; so, he’s literally rowing the boat and he’s looking at his past. But he’s moving forward blindly. Dale said, “I can only move forward because I can see my history. The more history you have, you become more confident as you are rowing the boat, pushing yourself forward.”
Ken Costa countered Dale’s metaphor saying this could be true, but many people get stuck in the groove of constantly looking back and seeing the pattern of what’s behind them- the nice puddles that form when the oar hits the water. That security becomes sedentary and they just want to sit there.
He went on to say that the journey of faith has to be moving forward to break new water, even though you don’t know what the new water looks like. There may be rapids behind you; but we can always rely on Christ to get us through whatever rapids or rocks life brings us.
We have to think of God as our coxswain in life. When we are sitting backward, trying to move forward, we have to stay in constant communication with him. He will steer us in the right direction and coordinates our life with his power.
I can move forward because I see my past. I had to kick some people and behaviors out of my boat. Just like me and Brittany sitting on Lake Lemon in a canoe, not making any progress. As soon as she gets out and I get back in my own rhythm, I make a lot more progress. My journey is a lot smoother and I can enjoy the time I have in peace without confusion.
I have to move forward in faith, not knowing what’s ahead of me. But I can see where I’ve come from and I know I don’t want to go back. Overcoming issues like depression, fear of abandonment, extreme anxiety, and thoughts of suicide. I was allowing other people in my life, past and present, to steer the direction of my life, rather than God.
In Genesis 19:26 Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt when she turned back to look at her home town being destroyed by God. The Hebrew verb used for Lot's wife "looking" back is not the same as just looking to see. She looked back to yearn for what she left behind. But God chose to remove Lot and his wife before he destroyed the city. He led them from their home to move forward into an unknown place, to keep them from destruction.
Needless to say, Lot’s wife didn’t make it to the place God had for her because she was too focused on what was behind her.
I know it’s doesn’t make sense to move forward when you can’t see what’s ahead. But it’s time to get the right people in your boat and let God steer.
Thank you for joining me in my journal to Finding Grace…
Enjoy the journey