Our Personal Fish Prison
There are actually two types of fish prisons. Christ wants to set us free from both of them. The one that ‘religious activity’ for only a few hours a week has put us in. And the one that is personally yours. We all are stuck to one degree or another.
We all have a personal aquarium. A personal fish prison. I do. Stuck in my own mind. My own world. Wondering how to get beyond the glass. We ask, ‘What is my purpose, other than to maintain the area around me?’ We think, ‘I must maintain it to keep if comfortable for me. If I don’t, who is going to?’ But, we can all become more than who we currently are behind that glass. No pressure here, but God says that He is writing our poem, our life story, and He has things in mind for us to be and do. He has His purpose for us. He sees us not only as who we are, but who we can become. The desires of our heart which match ‘the desires of Him for us’, are what puts us on the track in which we become more alive…beyond the glass. He sees us in our comfort zone, knowing there is more. Yet sometimes we don’t have the courage or even know what to do to break the glass.
There are at least two problems with a comfort zone.
One – We are zoned out. After all it is a comfort ‘zone’. Replaying every day in our zone. Not really willing to ask Him what else He may have for us to be and do. We don’t really want to know. Why? Because what He says may be outside our zone.
Two – When we are in the zone, we compare what He may be asking us to do with what others are doing when they seem to be outside their zone. Comparison kills your heart. And comparison kills obedience.
If we are closed off to what God wants of us, and we are closed off to the people beyond the glass, a type of depression will set in.
There are people on the other side of the glass. Beyond yourself, you are to help others in life. The great news…He will walk you through it all! No matter your profession or occupation, there are always people there. Waiting for you to help them. It may be just a kind word. But no matter what you do during the day, people need you to be you, and love them as He would as if He were standing there. But much of life can be just going through the day, doing our to do list, our duties, our obligations, our work. And we miss the people who are there.
It may be a career change. For me it took a while to hear clearly about a career change. When I sensed Him call me to get into ‘the ministry’, I thought He meant I had to wear a suit every day and preach on Sundays. Great for some. Not for me. Those thoughts made me run the other direction for ten years. I was hiding in my aquarium. Then I distinctly remember sensing Him say, ‘I want you TO minister, not just to BE a minister.’ Well that is different. Now it has been many years and it has been easier for me to understand what He desires in my life. Also, I have sensed for many years He wanted me to preach. But that meant to be a senior pastor and preach every Sunday. Took me a few more years to understand that teaching and writing is a form of ‘proclaiming’. A particular piece of scripture He impressed on me was Matthew 10:27. ‘What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.’ It took me a long time to realize that writing and blogging fulfilled that. So, I started. It still took time because of a fear of rejection. Both becoming a pastor, and writing was well out of my comfort zone, beyond the glass. But here we are.
You have a personal fish prison too. You have things He has asked you to do. Either as a life work, or a new commitment, or a simple walk across the room to talk to someone and ask ‘how are you doing’? A kind word to someone having a bad day. A place to serve others. Ask Him to show you again what He has for you today. Because today will lead to tomorrow.
Beyond the glass is not just big stuff.
Don’t let the enemy tell you of all the ‘huge things’ you ‘should be doing’ beyond the glass. Not only does he lie about who you are, and where you are…he lies about your future, out there. And what we call huge may not be what God calls huge. The enemy will tell you that only the big life changing things that cause people to take note of you are the ones that matter. They are not to take note of you…they are to take note of Him.
There is the old starfish story. A man was walking down the beach picking up stranded starfish and putting them back out into the surf. There were hundreds of them. As far as you could see. All stranded due to a storm. Another man coming from the opposite direction stops and asks the first man, ‘What are you doing?’ He answers, ‘I am helping these starfish – getting them back to the water.’ The second man says, ‘But I’ve been walking for miles, and there are thousands of them. What difference does it make?’ The first man answers, as he puts one more starfish out into the surf, ‘Made a difference to that one.’
Who are you to make a difference to?
Everything He has for us; He will provide the means and courage to do. But we must look to Him to move beyond the glass. ‘I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.’ Philippians 4:13.
I’m not responsible for world hunger, just those people in my life. But for those i am responsible.
Agree. So much of the time we tend to worry about the world at large, and don’t love those right next to us. The enemy will distract us from those near us!! And, yet if God wants us to help with world hunger, He can surely do so, in addition to those near us.
Takes me back to the lesson God taught me about 15 years ago. After a season of experiencing lies and abuse, I built a wall around my heart so no one else could hurt me. Then one day God showed me that the wall around my heart was also blocking Him from working through me.