“Come,” He said.
One of the most widely told narratives in the Bible is the story of Jesus walking on water. After feeding 5,000, Jesus sends his disciples on ahead of him in a boat across the Sea of Galilee. Several hours later, the disciples encountered a storm that gave them the heebie-jeebies. Then, they saw Jesus walking across the water towards them and became petrified because they thought he was a ghost. HE proceeds to tell them not to fear, because it is Him. Then, in typical Peter fashion, Peter says, “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.”
Jesus then extends an invitation saying, “come.”
Peter jumps out of the boat and begins walking on the water towards Jesus. However, the moment that he took his eyes off of Jesus, he began to sink. In a panic, he cried out “Lord save me!”. So God in the flesh immediately reaches his hand out to catch him before he drowns. As they climb back into the boat together, the storm stops. After witnessing this miracle, the disciples worshipped Jesus, saying “truly you are the son of God.” What a difference a year makes..
A year ago, I was discouraged, defeated, and depressed. I felt like the people closest to me had given up on me. Football was not working. My professional dreams appeared dashed, and I was nearing completion of the grieving process of hanging up my helmet and shoulder pads for good. I picked up a job working at a law firm in North Dallas to get some experience and try to decide if I wanted to go ahead and go to law school. In my short time there, I was quickly promoted and things were looking up.
(Side note: Just because you are good at something. Does not mean it is your purpose, or that it will make you happy.)
You have to grow to a place of spiritual maturity, where you are more committed to your purpose than your reality. Yet still, I just had a feeling I needed to stay in shape. So, that’s what I did. I would go lift weights in the gym office where I was employed. They didn’t have much, but I woke up around 3:30 in the morning to be out of my house by 4am so I could arrive at 5am and make it work. I would finish as the sun was coming up, around 7:30. Then I would hurry and shower before I had to work from 8am-6,7,8pm some nights.
When I got home in the evenings, I would jump the fence at a local elementary school to run and do football drills. It did not matter to me if it was raining, sleeting, or snowing. I ran on the days that I was supposed to run, regardless of the weather. Every night after I showered, right before bed, I would send around 25 emails to NFL or CFL coaches.
As insane as this may sound, I would even send my highlight tape to their wives and kids telling them to give my information to their dads because I knew the coaches inboxes would be flooded. Still, it was a long shot, but it seems as if even then I knew that you have to grow to a place of spiritual maturity were you are more committed to your purpose than your reality. Looking back on it. I wouldn’t have been able to say this then, because I had so much pride. But those mornings and nights I listened to sermons, gospel music, I prayed, and I questioned God. Oh yeah, And I cried, cried, and cried some more.
January 1st, 2019 I was out of tears. To cope, I got serious about the book I’m writing. I began to do research on the word “wait” or “waiting,” and saw that it meant to stay in a place of expectation. I saw that women who are pregnant or “waiting” to have children buy diapers, a crib, and bottles in anticipation of the arrival of the baby. Immediately I got it! The next day I went to my job and told them I was quitting because I signed a contract to play American football professionally. Now the only problem at the time was I didn’t have a contract. And now, I didn’t have a job either.
Nevertheless, I persisted.
Up to this point, I had been unable to find an NFL or CFL team to give me a shot, because I had been out of college for a year. So I didn’t have any updated video of myself. I began looking for other leagues I could play in, to try to be compensated and get film so I could move on. I found the German Football League. In the meantime, I upped my emails to around 50 per day. And since I no longer had a job, I had time to train full-time and get ready for the contract I knew I was about to sign. That took a LOT of RISK. Throughout meeting many people from all walks of life, one of the things I discovered was that many of us don’t like taking risks. But why is that? Because it’s risky... People like to be in control of their lives. They don’t like surprises and the thought of winging it makes them cringe. These people have planners, they have to be on time to everything and get frustrated when others are not on time or are more “free-spirited.” Unfortunately, these people miss out on opportunities that can change the trajectory of their lives, because everything has to be smooth as butter or they refuse to associate themselves with it. Some opportunities just seem too crazy to them. Then there are people with BIG faith. The big faith-ers are those of us who are like Peter. Those who are crazy enough to believe that maybe just maybe, God has something special for them if they are willing to trust him enough to get out of the boat, no matter how silly they look. These types of people are unashamed of failing in front of others. They also know they are no more special than other people, they just refuse to settle and are ballsy enough to defy the laws of gravity and buoyancy. I identify with Peter so much. Godly, but gangster. He doesn’t sit back and just let life happen. He says "hey, if God wants to walk on water -I’m tryna walk on water, too!"
I want to be wherever my Lord is.
Up to this point, that mindset has served me well. October 2019: Getting out of the boat allowed me to have the funnest 7 months of my life thus far. Many people travel to Europe for a few weeks to spend money. I came to Europe and made money playing the sport that I love. I had the pleasure of traveling to different parts of Germany, to Paris, Amsterdam, and Italy as well. I made really good friends along the way, who pushed me to become more well-rounded. Last, but not least, I was with the best team in Europe. I was able to play a big part in helping them end a drought and win their first German National Championship since 2016. We ended the season with a perfect 17-0 record!!!
Parachutes are designed to work outside of the plane. From the outside looking in, I was walking on water. There were a LOT of times where I got distracted by the wind and the waves and took my eyes off God. And every time I did, I began to sink. But in the midst of these storms I was never too far for him to extend his arm down and pull me up. And you aren’t either..
You won’t always get a loud stamp of approval on what you should do. He may just say “come.” One of the things about the story that many people are unaware of, is the fact that Jesus just said “come.” He didn’t say “ Peter come” or “three of the disciples can come.” That’s because everyone was invited to the miracle party.
But like the disciples, So many of us are too afraid to take risks, because we feel like we can not hear God’s voice. We get duped into believing that God is only moving or working in other people’s lives, when in fact, we just need to take the first step. Instead, we stay in a place of comfortability, where we witness others achieving the things we set out to do. We laugh and try to rob friends or family members, who got out of the boat, of their joy.
We say negative things towards them, and keep up with them in hopes that they fail so we can say “I told you so.”
I'm not sure what the storms rocking your boat are. Maybe you made mistakes in life and ended up somewhere else. Maybe you did not grow up in the best household. Maybe you felt unloved as a child, so you found your security in drugs or materialism. Maybe you just have a lack of confidence in your abilities and self worth because of what a family member did to you. I’m not sure what issues you may have, but as a result you may feel like you don’t deserve good things to happen to you.
Maybe you feel like you cannot get out of the boat because you are so jacked up that God cannot use you. This will cause you to allow disfunction to become the norm. Quitting the job you hate to start that business seems scary. So does getting out of an abusive relationship where your spouse pays all of the bills. So does going back to school and getting an education at a later age than the societal norm. So does changing your degree concentration to the one you are passionate about - you know... like the one that doesn’t make a lot of money?
All of these scenarios require a certain level of risk, but the return on your investment will be a lot higher. The thing is, you will never know if you can walk on water if you do not try.
I keep talking about getting out of the boat, but in true honesty, Peter was not right and the disciples weren’t wrong. The other men who stayed in the boat went on to lead great lives and do amazing things as well.
The point here is this: We can miss out on life changing encounters by waiting on God to do miracles without us ever having to activate our faith or hold up our end of the bargain. At the end of the day, whether we decide to physically get out of the boat or stay seated. Is not what is most praise-worthy. What is most praise-worthy is the fact that if we allow Him, God meets us where we are. We just have to be crazy enough to:
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