Walking on Water: When God Calls You Out of Your Boat

How to Overcome Your Fear and Step Out in Faith

Have you ever sensed God calling you out of your comfy boat to walk the waves beyond? Did you do it? Did you try and then sink like Peter? Or is fear holding you back from even stepping out? What’s keeping you from walking on water? Maybe you still haven’t figured out how to get your boat out of the harbor. I have days like that. I’m right there with you!

Have you sensed God calling you out of your boat? What's keeping you from walking on water? Overcome your fear and step out in faith today!
*This post contains affiliate links.*

Editing is Painful

I haven’t blogged much lately because I’ve been working hard on my book. I joined a program in November to finish the whole book in 90 days. It was a great course and I learned so much, but I didn’t get mine finished by the 90-day mark. (Enter feelings of guilt and failure)

Things happened that slowed me down. There was Christmas break, and a new volunteer position, and the homeschool co-op . . . in short, life happened. Not only that but in the course of fleshing out the message I wanted to share, my book grew into a trilogy. (Enter excuses and interruptions)

More than all the little surface things I use as excuses for not getting my book done is the internal resistance I feel about completing the project. When I get honest with myself, I realize that part of me is stalling, holding back, cringing at the thought actually publishing my thoughts and putting it out there for the world to read.

Suddenly, what I thought sounded like a great idea to pass on helpful information has become more like walking across a stage without enough clothes on to keep me comfortable. Yeah, I’m not so eager to get out of my boat after all. (Enter reluctance and fear)

I completed my manuscript fairly quickly using the writing methods I learned, but I’ve been stuck in the doldrums of editing for quite some time. Editing is painful and uncomfortable. I have to go back and reread everything I wrote and realize I’m not as cool as I thought I was. (Enter insecurities and self-doubt)

It’s kind of like watching myself on video or listening to my weird voice on a message or looking at an unflattering picture of myself. I would prefer to keep the image in my head of what I thought I looked and sounded like rather than face the reality of me. My book sounded much better to me the first time around.

When I first started writing, I was afraid no one would ever want to read what I wrote. Now I’m afraid someone might actually read what I wrote. I’m considering options for pen names.

But as I circle around all the possible ways to avoid potential embarrassment, I keep bumping into the fact that I’m not only doing what I want to do, but I’m doing what I feel God has called me to do.

The problem is that I’m afraid to get out of the darn boat.

Getting Out of the Boat is Uncomfortable

There He stands upon the waters. I’ve heard His call, and yet, . . .

I’m still in my boat, stalling making endless preparations, wanting to feel ready, striving to be perfect, and hoping I won’t sink. Here I sit, waiting for the wind to die down and the waves to still, watching with admiration those who’ve dared to step out of the boat ahead of me.

But Jesus is calling me now, so I have to answer Him now—when I’m not ready, glaringly imperfect and totally freaked out.

Truthfully, deep inside I know I will never feel ready or be perfect and as soon as this wave calms, the next one will be right behind it.

So I put my trembling hands on the edge of the boat and drag one leg over the side. It feels like it weighs a ton and I am already exhausted from that small effort alone.

The boat feels so much safer. It’s familiar. I’m comfortable here. Part of me doesn’t want to leave my boat. Why can’t I just fish from where I am, Jesus?

Walking on Water

But there’s a deeper part of me that craves a holy adventure, the part of me that asks,

What is possible if I trust The One Who Calls Me?”
and
What will I miss out on if I refuse?”

So I will step out, not because I have confidence in myself. I am nothing.

But because I have God-fidence in what Jesus is capable of accomplishing through me when I yield myself to Him. He is everything.

As I begin to lift my other leg over the edge of the boat, I’m aware that I’ve got to keep my eyes on Jesus. Poor Peter sank beneath the waves because he focused on the obstacles instead his Savior. I must make a deliberate effort not to make that same mistake.

I must resolve now, even before I step out, to take my eyes off what others think of me. I’ve got to refuse to listen to my own excuses, insecurities, and inadequacies and keep my eyes fixed on Jesus instead.

I see Him standing some distance away with outstretched arms and an encouraging smile, patiently waiting for me to swallow hard and step over the edge into the unknown, uncomfortable and unfamiliar.

Have you sensed God calling you out of your boat? What's keeping you from walking on water? Overcome your fear and step out in faith today!

 

Jesus Celebrates Our Baby Steps

Do you remember how you felt when your toddler was poised to take that first step?

That’s how Jesus feels about us.

When your child took a tumble what did you do?

Jesus does the same. When we mess up, Jesus isn’t spring-loaded to sternly scold us for not getting it right. He’s eager to celebrate our growth and progress and wrap us in warm hugs of encouragement.

He’s not focused on our fall. He’s full of joy at the steps we took before the fall and He’s anticipating the steps He knows we’ll take next after we get back up.

When I step out and do something new and unknown for Jesus, here’s what will happen.

I will fall.
I will blunder.
I will embarrass myself at least once, probably more.
I will probably be misunderstood and unintentionally offend people.
I will be judged.
I may be ridiculed.
I might even be condemned by some who are opposed to my message.
My pride will most certainly be crucified.

And that’s okay.

Jesus was ridiculed, misunderstood, mocked, falsely accused, judged harshly, stripped down, and beaten up because He loved me too much leave me unrescued.

He is asking me to do so much less for Him. How can I say no?

Let me be thought a fool for following my Savior. That is a small price to pay in the scope of Eternity.

Here’s what else will happen:

Jesus will meet me.
He will provide for me.
He will protect me.
He will encourage me.
He will fill me.
He will sustain me.
He will stretch me.
He will grow me.
He will always love me, no matter how clumsy or awkward I am.

Jesus will celebrate my innocent mistakes, not because I stumbled, but because I learned. I will only fail if I refuse to rise up again after I falter and face-plant.

Share What God Has Given

I was praying through my prayer guide this morning and when I got to the listening part, this is what I sensed:

“Don’t be afraid to pass on what I’ve given to you. That’s exactly why I gave it to you—not so you would hoard it for yourself, but so you could share it. There are hurting, broken people who need to hear what you’ve learned and they need to hear it from you. No one else can tell your story.”

I’m left to wonder who out there may be continuing to wander through suffering and doubt while I drag my feet because I’m afraid of a little transparency. Forgive me.

My whole motivation for writing this book in the first place was so others would not feel as lost and alone in their trials as I did. The longer I wait to finish my book, the longer the people who need this message feel hopeless and abandoned. I owe it to them to finish what I set out to do.

(If you don’t know my story, you can read it here.)

What about you?

Where is Jesus calling you to step out in faith?

He’s calling you somewhere. Every last one of us was created for a purpose and you are no exception. If you don’t know your purpose, ask Him to show you. Then pay close attention to what happens next.

He wants you to live like you were meant to live even more than you do! Trust Him to show you the way.

What are you afraid of?

Will you step out in faith anyway?

What’s the worst thing that could happen if you trust Jesus and climb out of your boat?

Can you trust Jesus to take care of you in your worst-case scenario? (which probably won’t happen, by the way.)

Will you start right now?

Don’t leave your boat tied safely to the dock called “My Comfort Zone”. You won’t catch any fish there. You have to untie yourself and set off.

Get out of the harbor called “What I Know” and venture out to the great sea beyond. That’s where the real living happens!

Boats weren’t made to be tied to docks. They were made to carry us to places we can’t get to on our own.

And Sister, you weren’t made to stay in the darn boat! You may think that’s where you belong, but if you listen carefully, you will hear Jesus calling you to something greater than you can even imagine!

I’m still scared, but I’ve decided I’m going to go for it anyway. Will you?

Can we hold hands and step out together, cheering each other’s victories and lifting each other up by Jesus’ power when we sink?

Let’s tell our fears to shut up and our insecurities to get lost.

Let’s just do it scared if we have to!

A holy adventure awaits!

Who’s in?

I’d love to hear what your big scary calling is. Will you share it in the comments?

Sometimes, the first brave step is simply voicing the God-sized dream He’s put within us—no matter how crazy it sounds.

Let this be our theme song as we climb out of our boats and walk where Jesus calls us!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which (at no extra cost to you) might provide some small compensation for me. This helps to offset my blogging expenses so I can keep writing. (Thank you!) I only use affiliate links to programs and products I have personally used and benefited from.

These are few tools that are helping me step out and chase down my God-sized dream:

  • Has God given you a message to share with others? Who needs to hear what you know? Find out how to go from blank page to published author in 90 days (give or take 🙂 ) with Self-Publishing School. Chandler Bolt will walk you through the whole process step-by-step, even if you hate writing (which I don’t, by the way. You may have noticed.)
  • Are you tired of wanting to do right yet falling so short? I am! Let’s not be so hard on ourselves. I have received so much encouragement from listening to what Arabah Joy has to say. Grace Goals is a revolutionary way to set goals and achieve change. Get your copy here!
  • I just found Diana Kerr’s website. I can’t tell you how liberating her message has been to me! Go join her mailing list right now and download her free guide, 3 Lies About Time Christian Women Tell Themselves & 3 Truths That Will Set You Free. I melted into tears when I read Truth #1. It won’t cost you a penny and it could change your whole approach to goal setting and to-do lists!

P.S.—God always nudges me to write what I need to hear. Even with this very post, I told myself I would publish this later after I was done self-editing and had sent my book off to the professional editor. Immediately, I felt in my spirit, “No. Do it now.” Okay, Jesus! You’re the boss. Here I go. I’m hitting publish today! What will you hit “publish” on today?

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Your comments make my day! What you do think about what you just read?

19 thoughts on “Walking on Water: When God Calls You Out of Your Boat

  1. Thank you Elizabeth!

    This is a blessing and I feel like you are speaking RIGHT to me, of course I know I was meant to find this article and you on purpose, thank you.

    I have the same exact things going on but switch it slightly to children’s books, both the illustrations and writing. He has called me out before, I was scared and unprepared. Now I have knowledge and I’m still scared, but I have Him..and encouragers like you!

    Thank you again, Elizabeth. You are a blessing!

    Lara P.

  2. So glad you shared this with the #GraceMoments Community Elizabeth. I was nodding all the way through it. When I had my first book published by a Homeschooling Publisher, it was only published as an e-book with the option for print later. It was fun at first, and the fear set in… I began re-reading it and seeing ALL the issues and I just wanted to take it back. Then when that publisher dropped the book, actually giving it back to me… I was happy/sad. Stupid emotions clogging up what I had wanted, a chance to edit it again and make it what I want and maybe publish it like I wanted. 🙂 It wasn’t the end of the world that the book was taken off the market for a while, but like you I want to drag my feet with the editing and put it off. Your words are reminding me to get back to the task at hand. Thanks so much!
    Cheering you on from the sidelines.
    Blessings,
    Dawn

    • Thanks for sharing your story. It helps to know we are not alone, right? I pray God will grant you clarity of purpose and perseverance to see it through while you make improvements. How exciting! Can’t wait to see what He does through your faithful obedience. Keep us posted!

  3. Great message! Thanks for sharing. Keep writing and plugging away at the book. Little by little, it will all get done. Suggestion: Submit your work to a review group before submitting to a publisher. That was the pivital point in my writing journey.

    • David, thanks for the encouragement and the advice. I appreciate it. I haven’t found a review group, but I have a couple of individuals I’m working with to help me edit and polish it before I send it off. When is your next book coming out?

  4. Thank you for your wonderful words. You have given me encouragement and the courage to face the things I am most afraid of. Many blessings to you and your family…from your new loyal subscriber!

  5. Elizabeth, your thoughts mirror mine…however, I take it one step farther: I’m afraid of boats! 😉 Even getting into a boat terrifies me, which equals my trepidation at finishing the design of my website/blogsite and hitting that magic button – “publish.” This site began in the idea state over five years ago, tiptoed into the design stage about two and a half years ago, and hid behind its creator’s skirts a couple weeks ago when a huge rattlesnake slithered across its path, rattling a warning. Now, it sits, awaiting its creator’s breathing to calm and her tremors to stop, so she can step out of the boa…umm, how about I use a different scenario…so she can step onto the swinging bridge over Pine Creek and get to the glorious forest trail on the other side, where friendly black bears await to frolic and play and… Well, okay, that’s taking it a bit too far…heaven can wait! 😉

    Seriously, I’d appreciate prayers to finally get this out of my head and heart and out where, as you said, I can reach the people God wants me to. My commissioning verse, Isaiah 50:4, says (slightly paraphrased), “The Lord has given me the pen of a writer so that I might write a word in season to him who is weary.” The writing part, I’ve got; it’s the designing and all the tech stuff that unsettles me, although I have a lovely young friend who has graciously offered her skills and time. Some of it, I just have to do myself and trust God to help me figure it out. May God bless both our efforts, as well as your readers who write or speak! <3

    • Sounds like we are in the same “boat”! 🙂 Glad to have you as a fellow traveler on this holy adventure! Let’s hold hands and jump together. Lifting you up in prayer, Sister! If God calls, He will equip, but only after we step out in obedience.

  6. So much goodness here, Elizabeth! Blessings on your book! I’d love to be part of your launch team when the time comes. I’m very grateful for Chandler’s methods and for SPS. His advice and the group support has helped me launch into the big, scary world of self-publishing.

  7. Just recently I’ve started asking God, “what bold thing are you calling me to do”. I have to admit I’m afraid to find out what the answer is, so reading this has been very helpful. Thanks, Elizabeth!
    Blessings,
    Marva | SunSparkleShine

  8. I love your list of what happens when we are willing to trust – He meets, sustains, provides – so beautifully and wonderfully if we are just willing to take that first step. Your words reminded me of Zechariah 4:10, “Do not despise these small beginnings because the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” Great encouragement, Elizabeth. Visiting from the Grace & Truth linkup today.