There it was, propped upright on a bed of shells and seaweed, far from the water’s edge. The small, yellow-fleshed fish appeared to be staring at us, although we knew the eyes were now unseeing. It must have been tossed to the shore in the earlier high tide.
The body was lifeless but no decay had set in. Somehow it had managed to escape the keen eyes of the pelicans soaring above looking for their next meal.
My husband spotted it first and pointed it out to me. I said, “Fish out of water.” He nodded and we continued with our walk.
That simple phrase continued to roll around in my mind. I have often felt like a fish out of water but now had a disturbing visual to accompany the thought.
According to thefreedictionary.com the phrase means, “to feel awkward because you are not familiar with a situation of because you are different from the people around you.” The expression alludes to the fact that a fish cannot survive for long on dry land.
Looking back on my life I realize that the times I felt like a fish out of water occurred when I was self-focused. By turning my attention outwards I can see that it’s not all about me.
Jesus often brings me into unfamiliar situations. He does this not to make me uncomfortable, but so I can experience growth. When I embrace these times and look for the opportunity to be of service to him, I will no longer feel like a fish out of water.
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, 6 so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15:5,6 NIV)
My husband and I were driving between Calgary and Vancouver. There were many times that a slow moving vehicle caused a long line of traffic behind it.
Drivers would get frustrated and some would pass where they shouldn’t and have to cut back into the line when oncoming traffic approached. Their impatience caused some unsafe situations.
Signs that told of a passing lane ahead meant relief for those caught in this backlog. As we approached the passing lane there would be a sign asking the slower traffic to keep right. This would allow the others to safely move ahead.
In one case the offending vehicle stayed in the left or fast lane. When other slower moving traffic moved to the right, as per the sign’s instructions, there was no way to pass. The one impeding the other vehicles seemed to have no idea the problems being caused.
It made me wonder how often in life I have been so focused on myself that I didn’t realize the problems I was causing for others. Have I caused them frustration because I didn’t get out of their way? Did they take unnecessary risks because of my behavior?
There is nothing wrong with moving aside to let others pass. By allowing them to do so, they may encounter opportunities they would not have had otherwise. Encouraging others to keep moving forward instead of being stuck behind me is also an act of faith.
God’s timing for me is perfect. If I rush ahead I may miss something that he has planned for me. I trust that when the timing is right, he will move me into the passing lane. For now I need to be content with where I am.
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to anyone who seeks help from him. (Lamentations 3:35 GWT)