There is a season in every year when boat owners pull their boats out of the water and put them in dry dock. Certainly not what boats are known for, but a necessary process nonetheless. Over time, various forms of debris accumulate on the hull.  Foreign particles and parasites attach themselves to the hull, hoping for a free ride, but creating increased resistance to the smooth flow of water and slowing down the boat itself.

We all experience this process of build-up, sometimes in ways that are slow and difficult to detect.  Inaccurate beliefs, unhealthy assumptions, lack of pure faith, succumbing to criticisms and feeling defeat may cause us to slow down and limit our effectiveness.  We may even become numb to our original values, dreams and passions.  A job loss, financial pressure, low self-esteem and feeling stuck can literally stop us from moving forward.

“He who cannot endure the bad, will not live to see the good.”  Jewish proverb

Immediately following a recent seminar on following your dreams I had a man approach me with a questioning look in his eyes.  He explained that he had been a pharmacist for 17 years – and in that period of time had totally lost touch with his dreams.  He is an example of what I call the “frog in the kettle” phenomenon.  We know that if you drop a frog in hot water, he’ll jump back out immediately.  But put that frog in lukewarm water, slowly turn up the heat, and he’ll cook to death without moving. 

Maybe it’s time for you to strip the boat.  Put yourself in dry dock and commit to removing all the debris that has accumulated on the hull of your life.  Take a fresh look at where you are and where you are going.  Hopefully you’ll uncover those old childlike dreams once again.  The vulnerability of stripping down to the hull may feel threatening, but it’s not as threatening as continuing to drag along through life with the weight of unfulfilled dreams and the baggage of misdirected activity. 

Business, relationship, financial and health failures often bring us to this point of weakness.  And yet it is there that we have the freshest opportunities for new, invigorating growth.  Embrace these times as opportunities for reflection, rest and meditation, confident that on the other side will be renewed strength. 

From the Bible

“Now your attitudes and thoughts must all be constantly changing for the better.  Yes, you must be a new and different person, holy and good.  Clothe yourself with this new nature.” Ephesians 4: 23-24 (TLB)

This particular verse used to really irritate me when I was going through an extremely tough time.

Direction for Today:

Is there an opportunity you think you may have missed due to barnacles on your hull?  How could you still capture that opportunity? 

This article was originally published on the Crosswalk Careers channel in April 2007.

Dan Miller is President of The Business Source, founder of "48 Days" and author of 48 Days To The Work You Love and 48 Days To Creative Income. He is the growing authority for creating effective life plans that are achieved by integrating natural gifts, unique personality traits and one's own values and passions. His unique clarification of how God gifts us will introduce you to a new sense of freedom and fulfillment of your life's calling. For more information, visit http://www.48days.com/.