Don’t Miss the Boat 

I was at the port of Naples, Italy. My cousin and I had a boat to catch. I decided to bring my small Bible with me for the boat ride. Taking out the Bible in public is not something I often do. So I figured I would start to work on it. 

While I was reading, waiting for the ship, a man came up to ask which boat was sailing to the island of Capri. The destination my cousin and I were also going. I told him I thought it was the boat right in front of us but I was not sure. 

After twenty minutes I started to get nervous. The boat should be leaving in ten minutes why was there no line? Why were they still filling the boat in front of us with gas? The loudspeaker had come on minutes before but it was in Italian. The man who gave us our tickets also said we needed to stay where we were. 

I saw a line of people about a hundred yards away. I sprinted over there and asked one of the crew. Though he only spoke Italian I put together that this was the ship I needed to be on. Remembering the man back at the port I sprinted back.

 He was talking with another man when I interrupted. 

I said, “Our boats over there. It’s leaving now. It’s not this one. It’s over there.”

All of a sudden a bunch of people started surrounding me. None of them spoke English. I did the best that I could pointing to my ticket and saying, “Let’s go.”

The next scene felt like a movie. 

I was sprinting towards the distant boat while the others, who had been waiting for the wrong boat, followed right behind. All the while I had the Bible with me. 

Thankfully, we all made it on the boat just in time. 
While I was running I thought, 

This is what life is about! 
As Christians we are given the Gospel message. We are told the truth. We are given instructions on which is the right ship to take us to the Kingdom. 

Sharing the Gospel through our lives is key. We cannot forget that in order to share the Gospel we must approach people. We must use our spiritual gifts to connect and take action. The people waiting on the dock did not understand me. They spoke no English. Yet, they understood my actions. They understood I was once lost and nervous and now I felt security. Now I felt peace.
Knowing the truth through the Gospel does not make us better than anyone else. But it does make us responsible. 

We are all called to be on the ship headed to the island of Heaven. In order for that to be a reality we must not become comfortable. We must take the risk and run back to help. We must carry the message of truth with us wherever we go.  And just when we may think we are only showing one man, a crowd may follow in the pursuit. 

Everyone of us has the ticket in hand to the right ship.  

If we know where that ship rests, why leave our fellow man behind? 

The Struggle Ship

So, I

I have just….LIVED.

However, in light of the all the positive vibes portrayed on my social media and daily conversation, college has also been a struggle ship.

What do I mean by this?

Well, “Hop on the struggle bus” is a common expression. However, I don’t really think a bus will do. To me struggling involves a lot of different components. I think a ship works better.

When I struggle…

  1. I feel like I am lost at sea.
  2. I feel like I do not always have control of my ship. 
  3. I feel fatigue (think dehydration).
  4. I feel alone.

Furthermore, in college I’ve been on the ship for a variety of different reasons.

1.Grades- Am I lost?

My sophomore year first semester, I had a hard time adjusting to the workload. Freshman year my GPA was great so sophomore year I shouldn’t sweat it, right? Wrong. I took on so much all at once and my GPA suffered.

This struggle was a big moment in my life because it started causing me to pose questions about my career path? Was ______ what I wanted to do? What is my purpose? Am I lost?

2. Faith- Who is in control?

Throughout my undergraduate experience, I have had a problem with the concept of control. In college a lot of things become out of your control—even small things. One example is being in the library without a car, walking out, and seeing that it is pouring rain. Another example, is being far from home when a family member is experiencing health issues. As a young adult, the need for control is so strong. We have grown up in an era that does not “go with flow.” Everything must go according to plan.

This struggle caused me to ask myself, “Am I really ever in control? If not me, than who is in control?”

3. Dehydration- What is draining my zeal?

Water is important (obviously) and being dehydrated can do some not so great things to a person. One of the main symptoms of dehydration is fatigue. In college, I have had moments of extreme fatigue. It was not necessarily laziness or sleep deprivation, but rather a numbness to strive for greatness. I felt as though I had nothing in which to fuel me. I was like a car running out of gasoline. I was a writer with writer’s block.

This struggle caused me to ask myself, “Why am I so mentally tired? What is draining the life out of me?”

4. Alone- Who is your refuge?

Being alone feels like the apocalypse to me. If anyone is a fan of Myers Briggs I am an ENFP. This being said, sometimes (a lot of the time) in college I will feel all alone on the struggle ship. My first reaction is to destroy this feeling of loneliness with talking to girls. My mind tells me, “Find a girlfriend Nick, and everything will be all good.” These thoughts of my need to seek refuge in another have caused me to struggle with finding my own personal identity. Whenever I felt alone, I would change who I was in order to befriend/impress another. The desire for acceptance was weighing me down. Through this struggle I became even more distant to myself…hence causing me to feel more alone (an endless cycle).

This struggle caused me to ask myself, “Who will never leave you? Are you truly alone on the ship?

_____________________________________________

How do I exit the ship kind Sir? 

     Today, I am reminded that though I am on the struggle ship, I am not the captain. Though it may feel like I am in control God is guiding me to the island. My struggle ship experience has shaped my character and has allowed me to consider myself a sailor for Christ.

     Throughout college, when I felt lost, I found my true passion. Whenever I felt as though I had no control, I reminded myself to TRUST in Jesus and His plan for me. Whenever I felt the zeal drain out of me, I realized I was not filling myself up with the love of the Holy Spirit but rather the pleasures of the world. Lastly, whenever I felt desperately alone, I understood that I needed Him now more than ever before.

     Christ is not the captain of the ship.

He is the wind guiding you to Paradise. The only way you can guide the ship is to allow the wind to take you where He wills.

This is much easier said than done. When you are a dehydrated, alone, and lost sailor it is so hard to just go with the flow.

I am reminded of the quote, “Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.”

So friends.

Hold the helm firmly. 

Brave the sea. 

Listen to the wind. 

Keep the faith. 

     In the rustle of the sail, you will forget you are on the struggle ship but come to understand that you are on the journey that leads you home.