I like to fish.
I picked it up a couple years ago pretty seriously. It’s something I really enjoy doing. It’s very challenging and complex. I love things I can’t figure out easily. Being outside, on the water, doing nothing but enjoying my solace is great. I really very thoroughly enjoy it. But, dang, I’ll tell you what… I don’t catch stuff as often I would like. I chalk this issue up to the fishing areas near my house are not great. And that’s in some part true. I can’t think of one public place where you are guaranteed to just light it up if you fish there. Maybe I’m not going to the right places. I don’t know. I do know that I’m not very successful a lot of the times I go. Could some of this be operator error? Of course, it could. I’m terrible at a lot of things. Last week, I was on Spring Break (what a great time). I went fishing several times. I spent easily a collective 12-15 hours casting… and reeling… and casting… and reeling. This was all done to no avail. No fish. Zero. I just kept going, though, hopeful that I would hook something. Hopefully.
BOOM! Thursday afternoon, on one of my last casts of the entire week, I snagged a pretty sizeable bass off the muddy bank at our local lake. All the hard work paid off. I had finally gotten just one fish. It made my empty trips worth it. It was a good fish, on a new lure, and I got to share that moment with some random people around the lake doing yard work. Epic day.
I’ve been fishing for weeks, though.
My spiritual life has been fine. I’ve been working through some books I’m reading, and studying, and praying. Grabbing some breakfasts with some guys. Attending my bible studies. Doing my church internship. Writing some sermons. Doing some talks. It’s been pretty casual. By all stretch of the imagination, I’ve been doing some serious work. At the end of it all, though, I feel this deep nagging in my heart. Every time I speak to a group about God’s Word, I come away feeling as if it was plain terrible. I read, and I immediately wish I could retain more. I get mad because my prayers seem to be so lame and shallow. I long for the consistent feeling of impact I used to feel so often. I’ve been fishing— power fishing. But at the end of the trip, I feel like I’ve got nothing to show for it.
But, is that really true? Of course, it’s not.
You go fishing to catch fish— I know, hottest take of 2019. But not catching anything does not inherently constitute failure, unless your only goal is to literally catch a fish. Mine is not. I go fishing to catch. I also go to get outside, to unwind, to think, to spend time with people, to get in the water, to try something new, to test my skills, to try and solve some problems.
I pursue Christ in order to know Him better. Yet, I personally don’t feel since about January that I’ve moved that much closer to Him. It’s as if I can’t do enough to get closer to Him. I try really hard to cram my eyes and ears full of Bible and Jesus and all these things, but life feels like a treadmill right now. I know that my emotions and my human experience are fleeting and fickle. I’m aware of the notion that my perception isn’t but a subjective understanding of a broken world.
I know that I don’t catch a fish because I feed him a lure. I catch a fish because he bites my lure. And the process of waiting on that to happen elicits memories with people, time spent with God’s creation, and a whole host of other things.
I also know that nothing done for Christ is done in vain. I don’t believe in Christ because I met Him. I don’t know what in the absolute world He looks like. I believe in Christ because He met me. I’ve been doing so many things that I feel as if the payoff should be greater. Joke’s on me— it will be.
I haven’t been catching a thing lately.
But you can rest assured that I’m going to keep on fishing.