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. Click & Tweet!
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. Click & Tweet! 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!”