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Out of the boat

"Out of the boat" Continued...

Issue: "Geo-gizmos," April 25, 2009

Q: But hasn't that changed with the Obama administration?

One friend of mine recently referred to this time as a sort of diaspora . . . like when the Christian church was persecuted in Acts and Christians went out from Jerusalem. It can be a very healthy thing for those Christians to be forced into other positions. They may have stayed in Washington longer if there was a Republican administration, but they'll have to find other work and maybe that's a part of God's good will, to move them into other positions into think tanks or the NGO [non-governmental organization] world.

Q: What happened after you left Heritage?

After being in a place for a while you start to think about your calling again. I've learned you're not going to have laser beam clarity about what God's calling is on your life. Most of us aren't wired for that clarity. We blunder along with the grace of God and the prayers of others, we get a sense of our giftedness, we have a sense of what those opportunities are, we have friends who speak into our lives, and then we take steps of faith and we test them out-we gradually discover what our calling is.

After being in this journalism and public policy business for a while, leaving Heritage was a chance to step back and think, "What do I want to accomplish with the second half of my vocational life that I think is going to be more interesting, more fun to do, closer to what my heart is?" You think through the whole calling issue again in a major way.

Q: In a sense you're in the same place as a lot of college seniors.

The process is not that different. In principle, it's the same sets of issues you're going to face: thinking through the sense of calling, the next steps, the practical decisions you have to make. But also, especially when you're young, you have to chase your dreams. There are some dreams I'm going to have to let go of at some point; they're just not going to happen on this side. But youth forbids you to start tabling dreams.

I've been reading a book by John Ortberg, If You Want to Walk on Water, You've Got to Get Out of the Boat, which is a great collection of his sermons. He makes the point about Peter getting out of the boat and walking on water. We tend to think about Peter as the impetuous one: He acts before he thinks, he's not deliberate enough, he's not careful enough. But Ortberg's point is that there are 11 guys who never got out of the boat. What about those guys?

Peter had the experience of walking on water, think about that. It didn't last very long, but he had an experience that no other human being has had. The guys in the boat were warm, safe, and dry but they never had that experience. That to me is a powerful story about pursuing your calling before God. And I'm facing the same questions, issues, and challenges. I'm pursuing a Ph.D. at this stage in life and I probably should have done it 20 years earlier, but I'm doing it now.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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