Lessons from Jesus in the Boat

Jesus-sleeping-in-boat-at-peace-in-stormOn that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
Mark 4:35-41

As we go through life, we will always have storms and trials all around us just like the storms around the disciples with Jesus on the boat. In the passage, the disciples were panicking and fearful of their lives. They were afraid of the raging storms around them. It is very ironic that despite having the Prince of Peace with them, they allowed their fears to get out of control. They even doubted Jesus as they woke Him up saying ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’. Jesus replied ‘Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?’ Surprisingly, the disciple’s faith was still in question even after being with Jesus for some time.

If we look at our lives, it’s pretty much the same thing. We allow our external earthly situations to disturb our inner peace. We react to the world around us relying only on our limited capabilities. Even when walking with Prince of Peace – the Son of God, we still allow ourselves to be disturbed, worried, angered by what’s happening around us.

The verse shows us that we are always with Jesus so why should we be worried? Why should we be overly concerned when we are in the ‘boat’ with Jesus? How much is our faith in our Father above?

In times of trials and tribulations, let us center the peace in our hearts knowing that we have Jesus with us. Let us lean on our father for our worries. Let us walk in faith knowing that God is a good God and in control all the time. Let us wake up in the morning knowing that God loved us first. Let us remember that God loved us even during our sinful worst. God loves us so much that He sacrificed His one and only Son to die for our sins.

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalms 18:2

Let us center our peace in God and not allow the storms around us to take control of our life. Let us stay calm and sit with Jesus in the boat.

Love & Acceptance, Identity and Performance

man wearing white and blue shirt jumping on white avai table
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

When I was in my 20’s, I had the tendency to focus on my performance at work. Not having the privilege to have a college education has driven me to perform twice as hard as my peers. I needed to prove my worth in the companies I worked for back here in the Philippines. I derived satisfaction from the job titles I was able to earn. I felt love and accepted by my family for every promotion I got.

However, the time came that I felt the pressure and stress of trying to maintain such a high level of performance excellence. I was afraid that I would lose both my identity, value, love and acceptance if I slowed down. I felt trapped between the stress I created for myself and the performance I needed to maintain in order to keep my position. This was all before I turned to God.

Turning to God made me realise that I was already loved and accepted. Turning to God made me realise that my identity is defined through my relationship with God our father. Being at peace with this, I was able to perform at my best without the fear I used to carry in my mind.

Our current education system is designed to have our children focus on performance. Performing academically and/or in sports have been centre to our educational system. Our children’s identity are somewhat defined by their performance in academe or in sports. They feel the love and acceptance of their family, classmates, teachers and friends when they excel.

We carry this trait as we grow older into adulthood. We bring this behaviour in the workplace. It becomes very important for us and our future that we perform well at work. The job titles we earn becomes a ‘badge’ of honour. We link our identity to the role we play in the workplace. Our identity is linked to our being a doctor, lawyer, senior manager, Vice President, CFO, CEO, HR Head and so on. The love and acceptance of the people around us is linked to our identity. It’s very similar to when we were in school.

If left unchecked, this can cause us problems in the long run. What if, for whatever reason, we are no longer able to perform at our peak? What if we move out of our prestigious role in the company for a job with a lesser title but more meaningful work? What if we retire from our VP role?

In essence, this is our performance flow:
Performance -> Identity -> Love and Acceptance

At a recent Authentic Business workshop I attended, I realised that the flow is completely opposite of what it should be. The true flow must start from Love and Acceptance. We first have be centered in love and acceptance. We are loved and accepted by our maker. Finding peace in the love and acceptance of our father above is a truly refreshing feeling.

Once we are centered in God’s love and acceptance, our identity is also clearer. Our identity is defined by our relationship with our father above. Our identity is defined by the purpose that God gives us.

Rooted in God’s love and acceptance defines our identity. Our identity now fuels our performance. We perform at our best because we are loved and accepted. We perform at our best because our identity is not rooted in the world around us. We perform at our best because our identity is rooted in God’s love and acceptance.

God’s love and acceptance -> Identity -> Performance

Let us all perform at our best to honour the provider of our talents and opportunities. Let us all perform at our best because our identity is rooted in God’s unwavering Love and Acceptance.