Friday night a Church member came by and asked if he could sleep at the house since he and another member were going spearfishing at 6:00 in the morning. I told him that was fine, but when he asked if I wanted to go I just laughed. Partly because that would be mean getting up at 5:30 on a Saturday morning but more because I didn’t want to humiliate myself
You see I don’t get to spend a lot of time in the water (only if someone has a pool) and these men on the other hand have been on the ocean pretty much all their lives. So what would be second nature for them in my case would be an opportunity to embarrass myself in spectacular fashion. But when my friend came to spend the night and encouraged me to join them I ended up agreeing.
When going on a spearfishing trip with those men there were only three responsibilities
- Row the boat
- Skin and gut the fish
- Clean the boat down afterwards
- The actual spearfishing was carried out by a Church member who had done it since he was ten years old, so I was part of the “boat crew” that picked up the fish and skinned them.
It didn’t take long for my utter lack of experience on the ocean reveal itself
As I rowed with all my might in order to make the boat go five inches
While I attempted to skin a fish somehow managed to cut it in half
And while I didn’t get any fish, did catch a nasty sunburn
Whenever one of them asked if I wanted to do something I responded in the same way. Saying the word “okay” in a voice that shared no confidence whatsoever, and a look of pure terror in my eyes, but of course that didn’t keep me from having lots of fun 🙂
While these kinds of experiences can be tough, they are also absolutely necessary because they allow people to see that we are human, and can deal with embarrassment in a mature way.
The thing is if the Church members only see me doing things that I’m really good at (preaching, teaching, working with children) and never something that I don’t do very well it can give them the idea that I’m good at everything…or even more dangerous that could mean I refuse to let them see me show weakness
However a willingness to embrace weakness reveals Godly character
- Not being afraid to laugh at myself
- A willingness to ask for help
- A determination to try again even though last time it didn’t do very well
- And confessing that another person knows how to do something better than me
Deeper than that I’m thankful for the spearfishing trip because the Lord’s using things like that to help me attempt things that are scary or out of my areas of strength. Often the Lord calls us to do things that fit in with strengths or abilities, but sometimes to test our faith He calls us to go spearfishing.
In those moments we should respond with a very weak “okay” instead of waiting for the fear to go away.
Just don’t be afraid to laugh if you fail