When Your Hopes and Dreams Sail Away Without You

Sharon JaynesLiving Fully, Take Hold of the Faith You Long For, Uncategorized 75 Comments

Today’s blog is long, but I want to encourage you to read to the end. This message could make the difference between finding success or giving up too soon.

What do you do when your ship pulls up anchor and sails off without you? How do you respond when life doesn’t turn out like you thought it would?

Where do you turn when the powers that be toss your hopes and dreams overboard and tell you to go home? What do you do when someone whose opinion matters denies you passage on the boat you were meant to board?

The answers to those questions can change everything. You need to decide right now—before it happens.

Four years ago, I sat in a seaport in Italy, with six of my closest friends. We were about to set sail to visit the footsteps of Paul in Athens. However, the night before, I ate some fish that was too fishy and got food poisoning and all that comes with it.

When I checked in at the cruise boat terminal, I had to fill out a form. One of the questions slapped me in the face.

Have you experienced vomiting in the last 48 hours?

I told the truth.

I checked yes.

My heart broke as the captain declared, “You have been denied passaged. You are not fit to sail.” My husband and I mourned as our friends sailed away on our trip of a lifetime without us.

Now, pull up a chair an sit with me in the seaport terminal. That’s what Nicoletta did. She was a young woman who worked for the cruise line and seemed just as broken-hearted as we felt. “I wish I should help you” she whispered in awkward English.

She sat with me. Tried to console me. And cared for me. Then she came up with a crazy idea.

“I know this would be a lot of trouble,” she began. “I know this would be risky and costly. But what you could do is take the ninety minute cab ride back to Rome, check in a hotel by the airport, and book a flight from Rome to Reggio Calabria for tomorrow morning at 6:00 a.m. Once in Reggio, take a bus from the airport to the seaport terminal.

“Then take a ferry from the seaport terminal, across the Mediterranean, to the island of Sicily where the ship will be docked. When you get to Sicily, find a local doctor who will examine you.

“If the doctor declares you healthy, and writes you a certificate saying you are ‘fit to sail,’ you can then take that back to the ship doctor and perhaps he will allow you to board. But you have to do all that before 3:00 pm tomorrow when the ship will leave Messina and sets sail for Greece.”

That was the craziest idea we had ever heard.

Who did she think we were? Superman and Wonder Woman?

So what did we do?

We took a cab back to Rome and booked a room by the airport for the night. At 6:00 a.m. the next morning we took a flight to Reggio Calabria, Italy. From there we took a bus from the Reggio airport to the Reggio sea terminal, and then a ferry across the Mediterranean to the Island of Sicily.

Once in Sicily we met up with Nicoletta’s friend, Lucia, who drove us to her personal doctor who spoke no English. The doctor poked, prodded, and prepared a report that declared I was healthy and “fit to sail.”

The report was in Italian, so Lucia translated it into English using her Smartphone app. The doctor signed the document, put her official stamp on it, and we exchanged double-cheek kisses . . . three times. She felt so sorry for us and all we had gone through over the past twenty-four hours, she wouldn’t even accept payment. More double-cheek kisses. More tears.

Steve and I scurried back to that ship waving the official “fit to sail” document like the victory flag it was. The attendant gave to it to the ship doctor, who then allowed us to board the ship at 2:45. Fifteen minutes later the ship’s horn blasted announcing it was leaving the port.

Did that story make you tired? It makes me tired just thinking about it. But here’s what you need to know. At some point in your life, someone whose opinion you think matters might tell you to “go home.” They may deny you passage on a ship that you know is meant for you. They may tell you:

 You are not smart enough.

You don’t have the right resources.

Your writing is not good enough.

You don’t have the right credentials.

Your past is too sordid.

Your idea is not practical.

You might even stand on the dock of your precisely prepared hopes and dreams and watch as your friends get on the ship that you long to board—without you. All you can do is put on a forced smile and wish them well, when what you want more than anything is to run on that ship and say, “You’ve made a mistake. This is my boat! It was meant for me too! Don’t leave me!”

And if that happens to you, you will have a choice. You can give up and go home. Or you can do what you need to get to get on board. You can take a cab, take a flight, take a bus, take a ferry, and do whatever you need to do get on the ship God has build for you. You can take a class, go to training, do an internship, or apply for another job. Let go of discouragement and take hold of your God-given dream.

I don’t know what your ship is today. I don’t know what God has planned for you . . . but I do know it is something good.

History is full of untold stories of men and women who did not complete their assignments from God, but stopped too soon in the face of disappointment. Perseverance is fueled by moving beyond the circumstances that are seemingly against you in confidence of the Holy Spirit who is within you.

Pressing on in the shadow of discouragement is hard work. Giving up is easier. But it is those who persist in the shadow of disappointment that experience the sweetness of success—who live the adventurous faith that God intended all along. Who live BOLD.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9 NIV)

Are you willing to take the challenge? If so, leave a comment to say, “I will not give up!”

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Comments 75

  1. I get it but I am scared to death. God has recently been bringing huge changes in my life and I know His plans are good but what if I “catch the flight, and take the ferry, and see the Dr.” just to find out I’m still unfit to sail? The fact is I wonder if I’m not more like Moses than I would like to think! Begging God to send someone else. Afraid I will do all of that work and the bottom line will still be that I am unfit to sail and not good enough to carry out His plans. Thanks for letting me just ramble. I look forward to reading your blog and anything else I can get my hands on.

  2. Sharon,
    Thank you for sharing this story. The first thought that came to mind was “she had support. Your husband went with you. You said WE went. My dream? It’s still there. However I don’t have any support. My husband refuses to help or work with me.
    With that being said, I will be processing your words. Maybe just maybe there is still a tiny bit of hope.

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      Hi Beth: With some dreams, I have had support, and with others I have not. Neither one of my parents went to college, so when I decided to go, I had to figure it all out on my own. They didn’t even know how to help me. But I did pray for guidance and ask God to show me what to do every step of the way. I’m sure I made some missteps, but I did get through those four years with no support from my family. Don’t let the enemy tell you that’s is a wall you can’t climb over. You have HIS support!

    2. Keep your faith. I know easier said than done. I am a breast cancer survivor. I had a double mastectomy and multiple surgeries that gave me staff infection and necrosis of healthy tissue and landed me in a hyperbaric treatment center to save my life. I sat alone through chemo I sat alone through most of my appointments and spend many of them crying. I had a fight in me and I knew God was on my side but just like you I was alone as I watched other patients with their support members sitting by their side’s helping them get through. It is so often that I wondered why I lacked the support system that many others were given by open hearted people who love them. In the end, many of these patients with support systems passed away. My life is not void of family or friends although I find over and over again I am a giver and a provider and these people in my life only take. They are not taking because they don’t love me it is just a human basic instinct to need people just like we do. So I work hard to not carry a grudge. I really do believe that God keeps me flying solo in order to maintain my absolute faith in Him. Maybe the only crutch I need is Him. I have found time and time again throughout my hardships in life that faith is all we have sometimes and faith does move mountains. Everything happens for a reason and God is in control. We are never alone God is always there and that is what we need to hold onto for our survival. My heart goes out to you. God Bless and watch over you.

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  3. Appreciated this devotional. Since Memorial Day, I’ve been in and out of the hospital. Memorial Day, I came within a couple of hours of dying. I had sepsis. My body was shutting down. For several days the doctors performed procedures to find the cause of the infection. Several days later they discovered the source of infection. After several more procedures, I’m on the road to a slow recovery I praise God that the doctors didn’t give up on me.
    Now slowly, my strength and stamina are returning. Some days it would be easier to just stay in bed. But, I believe God has a plan, He’s in control and with His help I can persevere and not give up.

  4. Funny, that is my motto: I will not give up! Friends know I persevere and get things done…When I read your ‘ship’ story I knew that is exactly what I would have done. However, there are circumstances now in my life where I need to ‘JUST LET GO AND LET GOD’. That is hard but I know He has plans …I just pray He reveals them soon! 🙂

  5. I will not give up, I refuse to let the desired and will God has for my life to die to procrastination. Failure is not an option for me, I am a child of the most High God. I have been told I am not smart enough, I have been looking down on because I don’t look or catch on to think quicker like my peers in college. I have been rejected aother by professor and employers who will not give me the opportunity to work got them, simply because I don’t have enough internship skills or becuse I learn and comprehend differently than my peers. It’s does matter, because I know the Lord is for me and not against me, He will open doors that no one can close and he will place me with an accounting firm or company that serve Him and one willing to training and investment in him as I learn and grow. Thanks for today blog, this is what I needed, a reminder never to give up on my dream given to me by God. I know he will supply all I needs to make it in life and for the dream he place in me to come to life, in Jesus name Amen.

  6. Thank you for this message you are a blessing to so many, 2 years into a new career and very little success, this message gives me fuel for the long journey and the faith the not give up or give in.

  7. This is just what I need right now. I’m in the position of trying to become completely financially independent for the first time in my life–at age 47–and my own family has given up on expecting I could ever be capable of that.

  8. I will not give up! There are times when I feel like the ship has left me behind. I felt like that recently & had to de-stress. I’m determined to hold onto my dreams & keep moving ahead even when tbings seem uncertain. I must keep my eyes on the prize. God has big plans for my future. The key is…am I willing to endure. Thanks, Sharon, for this beautiful post.

  9. I will not give up but its down right heart breaking and depressing when the doors keep slamming shut. This world today is about younger people and people my age caught in the middle between working class and retirement are lost. There are alot of resources for children and thank you God for that but what do you do. When your 55 and over and not good enough at typing or standing on your feet anymore, there isnt any fixes for us out there.

    1. Dear Sister Susan, I am 57 years old and, in 3 weeks, will start my second year at a community college. I have to work fulltime and can only handle 6 units a semester. It will take me 6-8 years to earn my degree. I will be 65 years old! But I will be 65 whether or not I continue towards earning my degree. I choose to do what it takes to get on that boat. Join me! Ask God what courses to choose. Call your local community college counselor and let them assist you in finding a new career that satisfies your desires-financial, physical and spiritual! Check into financial aid. There are lots of programs to help you. It’s not easy but God makes it possible.
      I am praying for you! Love, Launa

    2. I would encourage you to not focus on your age, Susan. Don’t tell people your age. Don’t fall for the stuff that’s being pushed that we are “seniors” in our 50s. We are not. As long as you are feeling pretty good, your age is just a number.

      I have been out of work many times, and it has been the grace of God that provided new jobs for me. So, keep praying!

      And Launa, it took me over 5 years to get my master’s degree because I was working full time and took a class a semester. But I did it. You can too.

  10. Thank you for sharing this story Sharon, I have read it just at the right time! Indeed with this encouragement I Will NOT Give Up!!!

  11. I will not give up. My problem is I am so determined to not give up I forget to include God in my struggle. I am getting better at it because I know He wants to be included in everything I do especially decisions.

  12. Thanks so much, I needed this. I have been trying to overcome a major setback in my career for the past one year. Guess what, it was my senior cousin who needed to recommend me, that went out of her way to ensure that I was not appointed. A year later, her action was still used to reject me.
    I refuse to give up. I have gone back to school to obtain my PhD.
    One day I will stand on the pinnacle of the world and shout to the world: I’M SOMEBODY AFTER ALL!!!

  13. I have felt like this for a long time. But I was encouraged by your blog, and I will do some thinking about ways to get on the ship I think God has for me. I struggle with God’s will, versus my will, versus other people’s will. I’ve been discouraged.

  14. I was denied passage in 2009 and this past June the the door was opened and I will set sail August 21! DO NOT GIVE UP!! #iamfollowingGodsplan

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  15. Oh my goodness how this BLESSED me today! But not only me, but my husband as well. So many times I have wanted to give up, but that still, small voice of the Holy Spirit keeps pushing me on. Thank you Sharon for this word! God always has me read them at the right times.


  16. I needed this as a reminder. Thank you. I will not give up on passing my nursing boards. I believe it’s where God wants me.

  17. I will not give up!! I’m headed back to school at age 51… Always been told I’d not make it, I’d not amount to anything, I wasn’t smart enough. With the Lord’s help I’ve been trying to pick myself back up after a 2nd failed abusive marriages. Back in my parents home, manipulated into teaching, homeschooling my adopted siblings for 3 years. Now it’s time to do what God wants me doing. It’s hard, but all I want is His will for my life!! I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!!!

  18. I am Julia from the Philippines. I never did give up because God did not give up on me. I took up my Masters in Development Communication at 63, finished my Ph.D. at 68 and now working as a graduate faculty in one of the colleges in my country. God wanted us to go on: “Be occupied till I come.” “Now to King, eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God be honor and glory, forever and ever. Amen.”

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