Thursday, July 3, 2008

Giving Up Control

Do you canoe? I enjoy canoeing. I would like to do more canoeing in the future, but I realized something. I need to be able to give up control. "What do you mean?" You might ask...Well, I was at the cottage this weekend past with some friends and we went canoeing. I normally sit in the back and steer, this is what I have always done. One of my friends; however, suggested he sit in the back because he is heavier than me and he felt more comfortable in the back of a canoe. At first, in my mind, I resisted, thinking, 'Do I trust him to steer?' 'He doesn't know the lake, after all, and he is also visually impaired - legally blind, so how could he effectively steer the canoe?' I himmed and uhhhed for a few seconds and then I decided to give up my regular role of being in charge and let someone else lead.

It was difficult. Even as we started out, I wanted to steer from the bow. Instinctively I would use different J-strokes and drag my paddle to attempt to change the course of the canoe, but I was at the front and this behaviour didn't have the desired effect that it normally has at the stern. I realized that I was in a different place. A place that had a different role, not a less significant one, just a different one. I quickly understood that I needed to change my thinking from that of controlling the canoe to working with my partner effectively to navigate the water. I changed my paddle strokes and called out to my partner what lie ahead and whether we should make a gentle left or a hard right...When I took up this role, we began to canoe more smoothly and our strokes were stronger and we got further. That was when we could start to relax and enjoy the ride, the outdoors, and conversing. The ride ended up being great fun, once we knew and implemented our roles.

You know, my friend's visual impairment didn't even hinder us like I thought it might. In fact, it actually helped me to be more responsive to my role. I didn't have time to resist my role, I needed to step into it right away; otherwise, we would have run ashore or gone in circles. He knew his role and fulfilled it, I had to follow suit.

It was a good lesson for me. I like to lead. I naturally take the lead, especially if no one steps up to the plate. Sometimes though, I need to recognize that I am not meant to lead. Rather, I am called to follow and/or partner, not be the only one in control. I am more willing to fulfill this new role these days. ...It makes me wonder what God has in store for me - this lesson is preparation for something and I am willing to heed the lesson learned...

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