Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. (Matthew 14:28-29, NRSVUE)
Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore. ~ Andre Gide
I enjoy the practice of prayerfully choosing one word to help guide my decisions, purposes, and reflections each year. My word for 2023 feels a bit uncomfortable, and I hope it will stretch me in new ways. My guiding word will be VENTURE.
Venture – to make or embark upon a venture; dare to enter or go; to take a risk, dare, presume
As I wrote in an earlier post*, my days have been more protected, isolated, and comfortable in these recent years. I have largely followed my usual routines, mainly spent time with family and dear friends, and generally adhered to my usual writing formats and projects. In doing so, I may have neglected opportunities to try new ways of living and being, to become part of a community, or to expand creatively. I question whether I have been fully embracing this gift of the abundant life Jesus meant for us.
Venture serves as my invitation to be more daring, to challenge myself more often, to expand my horizons, to explore new ideas. Although I am not certain how this will unfold, my first steps will be to listen for inner inspirations, and to pay holy attention to outer invitations before accepting or declining them.
This passage about Peter beautifully guides my hope for the year. As he sees him walking on the water, Peter asks Jesus to command him to walk out there, too. And Jesus says, “Come.” Even though Peter eventually falters and fails, he earnestly wants to follow Jesus and is brave enough to take the first steps. And when he does not succeed, Jesus is there to help him up.
Peter’s example then becomes my daily prayer.
“Lord, if it is you…” to discern if the invitation I am sensing is holy and genuine,
“command me to come to you…” to discern where I am to go,
“and help me to be brave enough to take the first steps…” to ask for courage and trust.
Like Peter, I may falter and fail, but I will trust that Jesus is always here to take my hand.
The risk in reaching for great things is that they might elude our grasp. But have we considered that the ‘reaching’ might in fact have been the great thing? ~ Craig D. Lounsbrough
Thank you always, dear friends. May you notice many blessings in this new year!
(Photo by Karen)
Definition found at https://www.dictionary.com