Belinda and I had a very frustrating and ultimately hilarious experience in a kayak I think you’ll enjoy. 

It got me thinking about how that there are times where we think we have something all figured out and we actually have it backwards. For example, we think that watching out for ourselves, thinking about what we want and need, doing what feels right all seems very natural and appropriate. Indeed, sometimes it is. But it is also easy to slide over a line and become selfish and self consumed. This is backward to the ways of God where He teaches us to depend on Him and to put the needs of others first. But that thought seems backward if you don’t know Christ.
There is a theme here. I played with this thought long enough that I wrote a book on how to find your way back to God and become like Jesus. I titled it “backwards”. The subtitle is “Created to Live SENT.”

Here is the first part of the kayak story. You can find the whole story in the book which you can purchase in the Resources section of this Website.

Does it ever feel like something’s backwards? Life’s not working for you, and you don’t know why. Imagine this. The beautiful blue Caribbean ocean. No clouds in sight. Gentle tropical breezes. The surf’s up. It’s another day in paradise.

However, my life wasn’t picture perfect. The idea seemed innocent enough, but the result was more telling than I could know. My wife, Belinda, and I were on vacation. We set out that day with eight other couples to kayak along the coast of an island and to enjoy a leisurely day surrounded by absolute beauty. What could be better than that?

We listened to the details of how to get the kayak off the beach and avoid capsizing when the first set of waves crested near the shore, but we couldn’t agree on what we had just heard. The surf was loud and adrenaline was pumping. Belinda was nervous because she doesn’t swim well. I was overconfident because I grew up in Alaska, had spent a lot of time in a canoe, and knew we would be just fine.

As we pushed off from the shore, I said, you paddle on the right (her strong side), and I will paddle on the left. The first big wave came at us and she paddled frantically on the right and then switched to the left. I tried to correct her verbally and offset her choices by paddling opposite her. That didn’t work because she kept changing sides. I didn’t know which way she was going next. I tried desperately to guess and keep us headed straight into the first big wave. To turn sideways into the wave would be certain disaster.

The bow went straight up in the air. The surf splashed in our faces. We went down the other side with incredible speed. Somehow we made it past the first wave upright. We were off on a great adventure!

Life is good! We can do this, or so we thought. Then the struggle for control set in. We argued about how to steer the kayak and who should take which role. I complained that everyone else seemed to have it figured out. And notice they were cooperating. They were even smiling and enjoying the
experience. That didn’t help us.

The guide instructed us as a group to follow him in a line parallel to the shoreline. We were not only falling to the back of the line, which was a problem for me, but he was so far ahead we could barely see him. After some animated discussion, Belinda told me if I was so smart I could just paddle by myself and see how that worked. I said,that would be an improvement. Belinda decided she had had enough and quit paddling completely. Out of frustration I quit paddling too.

Dead in the water. That’s what happens if you don’t paddle. Then the sea takes you wherever it wants you to go. That was not good!

We made apologies and started again. We tried harder. We tried a LOT harder. By now the sun was blazing hot. The sky was a beautiful blue, but there were no clouds. The fun factor was fading fast. We were far from shore. Belinda kept reminding me the water was deep and there were sharks. We couldn’t go back to where we had started. If we didn’t find a way to paddle together soon we would lose sight of everyone else. Besides, finishing last wasn’t an option in my book! What do you do when what you thought would be great fun takes a disastrous turn?

To be continued in Chapter 1 of “backwards”

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