There are days that I stop and wonder what it would’ve been like had I done things a little differently in my younger years.
Maybe I’d have waited to cut my hair quite so short my senior year of high school and thought about the repercussions of growing it out again.
Maybe I’d have gone to a dance with my group of girls instead of staying at home alone feeling sorry that some cute boy didn’t ask me to be his date.
Maybe I’d have decided to sit through that difficult algebra lesson instead of skipping class to play the piano in the school auditorium.
And there’s that time I accepted Christ, but never stopped to lay down my net and follow Him.
I never took the faith thing seriously. Partly because I was scared and partly because I just didn’t know what in the world I was doing.
I was oblivious for longer than I care to admit. But as I’ve come to know Him well over the last decade I have to reflect on these men that knew Him best. The ones that followed Him first.
These were the guys that first laid down their nets.
And here is what they’ve taught me…
1) Jesus will ask me to leave my net and follow Him. I don’t know about you, but I think if I were making a living at being a fisherman (or in this case, a fisherwoman) I’d most definitely be a little hesitant about leaving the one thing behind that put food on the table. I’ve never been much of a risk taker, so when Christ calls me to leave behind a comfort…especially one that might provide every basic need for my family, it can be a little tough.
Yet, as I grow closer to Him, I realize that there is a peace that comes over me when I lay down that net. When I follow Him into places He needs me to go I am never disappointed.
Lesson: FOLLOW! Jesus needs both of my hands in this. I certainly can’t be opening one hand while I’m holding onto something with the other. My ways need to be His ways in the end…
2) Jesus will ask me to let down my net in deep water. Back in the day, Hebrew fisherman stuck to night fishing…in shallow water – and it was often they never caught a thing.
I would’ve busted out my iPhone and played a few games of mahjong to pass the time because, whoa. I am not a patient person.
But neither am I an individual who likes to wade out into waters where I can’t see the bottom.
For years I opted for nets with a small catch. Fishing in shallow water seemed great to me because it meant that I never got in over my head. I was content staying close to the shoreline.
And then Jesus came along – both for Simon Peter and for me.
And here’s the thing – when Jesus calls me out to deeper waters the key is to trust His calling. He wants to fill my nets in the same way that he filled Simon Peter’s net so full that it was ripping apart and almost sinking the boat from the weight of the catch.
I can play it safe closer to shore or I can steer from my stern toward the deeper waters when He bids me to sail out further.
Lesson: TRUST! Allow the abundance of Christ to fill my heart and mind. When acting in obedience as He beckons me deeper, my nets will never be empty.
3) Jesus will step into my boat while I’m washing and mending my nets. Sometimes Christ wants my platform. He wants to preach from the place that I hold closest to my heart.
See, I tend to get so comfortable in my spot. Once I’ve learned to champion whatever that thing is, it just becomes easier. I find that rhythm.
You know the one. The autopilot mode that let’s us close our eyes for awhile and pretend we can switch hit like Mickey Mantle.
I do that.
And then I hear a voice that tells me it’s time to step aside and do things a little differently. I do the only thing I know how to do which is laugh nervously like He didn’t really mean it and keep on keepin’ on.
While I’m doing my thing…trying to maintain the livelihood or the calling or the direction that I’ve come so accustomed to – mending and washing those nets so they continue to work for me – I fail to see when Christ needs my boat for something else.
Jesus is a better speaker than I am. He can out love me. He can out give me. And He can redeem!
…when I just can’t do that at all.
Anytime He needs my boat for something else, I want to be willing to give it.
Lesson: Humble! It’s easy to think I know best and to continue on that same path He set before me because I’ve known it to be safe. I’m learning to let go of the pride that keeps me in a comfort zone and then allow Him to step into my boat to teach me what is to come.
It’s been quite the journey…learning what to do with my nets. It’s one I have to repeat to myself on an almost daily basis. (And I feel quite triumphant on those days that I don’t need the reminder!)
I don’t want to turn from Him. I certainly don’t want my nets to be empty. And I want to humble myself enough that He can use everything He’s already given me and replace it with something else.
Because He is my all… And when He’s pulling up nets I want to be one of the first ones inside. 😉
I’m joining the following writers for these link-ups today:
Jennifer Dukes Lee for #TellHisStory
Holley Gerth and Coffee For Your Heart
Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday
Jennifer, we are neighbors at #TellHisStory this week. I’m so glad I stopped by. I like your metaphors here….they really flesh out the ‘lay down your nets and follow me’ direction. ‘Surrender’ is my word for the year (agh!) and this line really spoke to me, “I can play it safe closer to shore or I can steer from my stern toward the deeper waters when He bids me to sail out further.”
Thank you so much for visiting – and for your encouraging words. “Surrender” is a wonderful word. Mine is “humble”…so I feel that that last point is huge for me. Allow Him to step into my place and teach me, rather than me continuing on full speed ahead with what I’m comfortable in doing.
Jennifer, i love the truths that you mined out of this passage. Thanks for sharing them with us today over at Holley’s linkup. He’s been nudging me to go deeper lately — I find myself holding on to my nets a little too long, but I know that there is beauty to found in the deep, so I am praying for the courage to follow with reckless abandon. 🙂
I will be praying for you, as well, Lyli. He’s been asking me to trust Him and follow Him into the deep very recently. Hopefully I can share about that soon…
Thank you for much for visiting today!
This is an EXCELLENT post. Thank you! I’m your neighbor three doors down at Kristin’s place today!
Thank you for the encouraging words!
Oh, I totally understand the wanting to hang on to MY boat (yeah, it’s not really mine) and steer it MY way. I love the line about Jesus needing out boat–he’s a MUCH better pilot than I am…why do I forget this?
Thank you for visiting today, Anita!
Oh my goodness, this is beautiful. These words sprung from the page into my heart: Sometimes Christ wants my platform. He wants to preach from the place that I hold closest to my heart.
I am grateful for such kind words, Suzie. It’s been quite a journey for me…learning about this “net business” I could almost call it. I think the one that is the most important for me right now is that, while I do mend my nets and keep doing His work, that I need to anticipate those moments that He needs me to step aside so He can teach me about a new direction. Get me out of that area of comfort. Oy! It can be a difficult one.
Thank you for visiting today!
How much do I love that we both wrote a bit about Nets today? (Sure – my take was more on safety nets and not fishing nets… but still!) Love you friend! Remember, you are Only Strong and Very Courageous!
So many great lessons here, Jennifer – but this one really spoke to my heart “when Jesus calls me out to deeper waters the key is to trust His calling.” Oh yes – deeper waters and trust that is a big one for me. I trust His calling, I trust Him, but I often struggle with where I fit into all that. I re-learn that lesson too – more often that I’d like to admit and in ways that aren’t always easy, but I’m so grateful God doesn’t stop teaching it to me. That He keeps calling me out so that I can trust Him more!
Oh, those deeper waters. Sometimes I feel like I’m sinking, but then God reminds me he’s there and he’s not going to let me drown. Such encouragement here to cast those nets and patiently trust him — lessons of which I always need reminding. 🙂 Thanks for linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday.
So true. It is a daily task for me to lay down my nets. I forget, or get tied up in one, or get scared!