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The quest within us to ever learn and acquire new skills is innate.  We were born eager to know about this new environment and setting we entered so suddenly at birth.  Everything is new to a newborn. Soon they begin to see faces that are “there” daily, voices that are familiar, and patterns that begin to let the new arrival understand some things about the agenda we call “life”. As we grow, we acquire more skills, facts, and abilities that allow us to function.  Those traits are the fuel for a lifetime of zealously living our lives.

All of us, however, reach a point that we are comfortable with our lives, our family, our standing in the community, and our level of expertise (whatever level that may be!).  Just because we are comfortable does not mean that those around us will allow us to coast.  Friends, associates, children, new people at work, and new ideas that constantly “pop-up” as new gadgets all require that we determine which things we choose to master and which things we choose to ignore.  For those of us that are “just a wee bit older” now, the latest electronic gadget is not a “hot item” for us because we are still trying to understand the one our children gave us several years ago!  We are likely no longer as aware of the latest music group and the name of the band, sports stats and stars, and the latest designs in clothing or the name of the trendy restaurant that just opened.   We begin to settle in to what we like and think the rest of the world should be “just like us”.  Anyone you know that is like this?  Can I see a show of hands?

If we were truly honest, there is a reason we lose our sense of eagerness to embrace every new thing.  We just don’t want to tackle anything that we might not master quickly.   We realize that we are not as sharp as we once were and thus, we are can sense that we are “failing” in health, mental sharpness, and passion for life.  That is not the reality always, but our perception of ourselves and our inabilities can make us feel that disappointments from our past, fears about being chided with “I can’t believe that you can’t (whatever is the challenge)” and a “present time” that is “moving far too fast” has left us in the dust….too often feeling like failures.  But what our detractors don’t always know is how many great moments and victories have been ours.

 The decision to grow always involves a choice between risk and comfort. This means that to be a follower of Jesus, you must renounce comfort as the ultimate value of your life. And that’s sobering news to most of us, because we’re into comfort…but “water-walkers” must master failure… Did Peter fail?  Failure is not an event, but rather a judgment about an event. Failure is not something that happens to us or a label we attach to things. It is a way we think about outcomes…Did Peter fail? Well, I suppose in a way he did. His faith wasn’t strong enough. His doubts were stronger. ‘He saw the wind.’ He took his eyes off of where they should have been. He sank. He failed. But here is what I think. I think there were eleven bigger failures sitting in the boat. They failed quietly. They failed privately. Their failure went unnoticed, unobserved, and uncriticized. Only Peter knew the shame of the public failure. But only Peter knew two other things as well. Only Peter knew other things as well. Only Peter knew the glory of walking on water. He alone knew what it was to attempt to do what he was not capable of doing on his own, then feeling euphoria of being empowered by God to actually do it. Once you walk on water, you never forget it–not for the rest of your life!”   (Ortberg, If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat, page 21-23).