What Fishing Teaches Us About Life

Lots of people fish; it’s how you fish that determines whether or not you will actually catch anything.  The same is true about life.  Lots of people are physically alive, but how you live will determine whether or not your life is actually full and meaningful.

Dad the FIshing Guide

I grew up rod-and-reel fishing with my dad.  Over the years we have fished for trout, walleye, bass, and recently, Alaskan sockeye salmon and deep-sea halibut.  Each fish differs in many respects:

  1. Diet
  2. Habitat
  3. Season
  4. How they engage the bait or lure

One thing never changes:  how you manage your line.

Early on dad drilled into my head the truth that you must always keep tension in the line; not too much or the fish will not be able to sufficiently swallow the bait, and not too loose or you will never know if something bites.  You have to keep it just right.

If the tension is right you will feel the nibbles and hits transmit through the line, up the rod, and to your hand like your rod and line are a giant antenna.

If the line tension is right you will be prepared to set the hook when the time comes.

The same is true with life.

You have to maintain a little tension; not too much or you will be anxiety-driven, but not too little or you will be apathetic and unresponsive.

Maintaining the just the right tension is called active waiting.  Active waiting has several characteristics:

  1. Peace.  You have ordered your life so that distractions and noise are balanced with sufficient refreshing time.  Personally I believe this requires significant time nurturing a relationship with the Creator of the universe.
  2. Attentiveness.  You are actively observing your life and experiences.
  3. Anticipation.  You expect opportunities to come your way.
  4. Engagement.  You recognize opportunities and take immediate action.
  5. Balance.  If your action fails you learn what you can and return to active waiting.  If your action succeeds you continue looking for the next step in the process.

Most of us say we want a life without tension, when that kind of life would be enormously unfulfilling.

A healthy life involves actively waiting for what God is going to bring your way and responding when the time comes.

Where in your life do you need to engage active waiting?

The Truth about God

God is not confusing.

Huh?

That’s right.

But aren’t all of those seemingly contradictory things about God (perfect love and justice, loves all people but convicts the guilty, present everywhere but individually involved, the Trinity, etc.) extremely complex and confusing?

God is definitely complex and hard to understand sometimes, but he is never confusing. God is very clear in Scriptures that Satan is the author of confusion.

So when you and I face a difficult situation and we feel extremely confused, we can be certain that God is not the one confusing us.

We are, or Satan is.

We are flawed human beings corrupted by evil, and consequently we have a hard time seeing clearly. Satan, on the other hand, has no interest in allowing us to see clearly.

So when you or I feel confused, here are some steps to clarity.

1. Press into God. if God is the source of clarity, it only makes sense to pursue him more. Entering into the confusion only leads to more confusion.

2. Get objective feedback. Solomon tells us that there is wisdom in seeking the counsel of many wise people. Don’t isolate. Seek out one or two trusted people to be your advisors.

3. Deal with it. Don’t ignore the situation. Wade in and wrestle it out. Peace waits on the other side.

Where are you struggling with confusion?

When in Doubt, Throw It Out

My dad used this phrase yesterday when I mentioned that I was not happy with my blog post.

Yesterday morning I wrote down some thoughts quickly during breakfast that I thought were very good at the time. Later on, though, I felt uneasy.

I like to let things set a bit or read them through several times before I publish them, but yesterday I did not.

First I took 5 minutes and made a small change. Finally I came back later and deleted the whole thing, as well as the links on my social networks.

Almost immediately I felt better.

The saying, “When in doubt, throw it out,” can apply to a lot of things in life, not just blog posts. If you feel uncomfortable about a decision, change it or make it right. Better yet, don’t make it at all if you can.

I know I would have done well in the past to follow this little bit of wisdom.

What is bothering you that you need to “throw out?”

ink

I forget where I first saw this line, but I find it so true:

Ink is cheap therapy.

I’m talking about writing, not tattoos.  I have no experience with the latter, and do not care to.  Writing, on the other hand, is a dear friend.  Sometimes I find that simply sitting down and writing helps my mind unkink itself.  Seeing your thoughts on paper somehow makes them more real, more permanent, more . . . kinetic.

Fears or dreams roaming in the mind do little more than upset mental furniture.  In order to produce change in the world these thoughts have to be released on the world as we know it.  Once they are released the laws of physics kick in: every action produces an equal and opposite reaction.

Once I wrote a thought down and I was immediately repulsed and embarrassed by it.  I could not blot it out fast enough.  Many other times I found peace spreading through my soul as I wrote out my thoughts and the words God seemed to be placing on my heart.  For better or for worse we speak things into existence when we write them.

Writing becomes even deeper therapy when we write what has hurt us, grieved us, saddened us.  I find peace as I acknowledge what I am feeling.  Over the past few years I have done hospital visits from time to time in my church work and I have found, as my dad explained to me once, that people just want to be heard.  Everyone wants to be validated, to know that their feelings matter and are not lost in the sea of humanity.  You do not need to agree with them, you simply need to validate their thoughts, feelings and opinions.

When no one is around to tell us our thoughts and feelings matter, writing is our way of telling ourselves your thoughts and feelings matter.  You are not crazy.  Acknowledging and validating feelings and thoughts and experiences allows us to move on and not be trapped by them.  Feelings such as fear, and memories of injuries and wrongs are poison, and if we do not rid our system of the poisons floating around in our bodies, we will not be able to live fully as God intended.  Fear, and Satan himself, only have a hold on us when we hide in secrecy.  His biggest fear is that we will bring things out into the light and see that we can indeed move on and find healing.

Ink is cheap therapy.  What do you need to write down so that you can move on?