Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when
with the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask you to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push back the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.
This we ask in the name of our Captain,
Who is Jesus Christ.
Attributed to Sir Francis Drake, 1577
Not so long ago, I was introduced to this prayer from a friend’s blog, Elisa, on Tumblr. I wanted to find it again a few months ago, but I couldn’t quite remember how it went, but I knew the core of the prayer – how one wanted to boldly go further away from the shore to see the stars. And then today, I remembered.
I love this prayer. Although it was penned several millennia ago, I find that we can all relate to this longing. In the first lines, I find how beautiful a disturbance or intervention is when it comes on a time when we think we have it all figured out. By ‘it,’ I mean we have reached our dreams or are on our way to them. Or we have let our pride in ourselves and capabilities weigh heavier than our relationship with God and how we treat our neighbor. Or perhaps it can mean we have become too comfortable with our lifestyles, wanting to relax and rest rather than to work hard for others and then take a little rest, only to regain energy for another week of serving again.
Sometimes, it is very easy to be tempted to just be idle. To have control over your time. It’s easy, because social media made it easy for us to compare where we are to somebody else’s phase in life. We are conditioned to think that this was the pinnacle, the finish line where we should be, when I know deep in my heart that there is something more, that there should be more than this. I’m no stranger to insecurities and self-doubt, so I must constantly remind myself of how God wants to push us, to disturb us, to dream bigger dreams than ourselves. Happiness isn’t the main goal, because there’s so much more to life than a fleeting feeling. He wants us to realize something more courageous than chasing happiness and worldly comforts.
Lately, I’ve been thinking of plans – plans for the coming years. I have a few thoughts in mind, but I really really really don’t know, and sometimes, it just frustrates me. I feel like one wrong move could lead me to a path He doesn’t want me to be or falls short to who He wants me to be. Like there’s the best option, but I didn’t take it. How does one discern? How does one know if something is in His will or not?
Whenever I feel like my heart is going towards something, I ask God that He purifies my motives. I believe that in everything we do, it must be done out of love rather than serving the self. So maybe, wherever we find ourselves in life, we must do it more for God and others. I don’t know if there is a specific vocation or place He wants us to be, but maybe we’ll know when we get there.
Maybe this is part of the mystery of faith. And this is where we are called to work hard and trust Him wherever we are right now. We cannot be lax nor indifferent – we cannot afford to do so, as that is the perfect time that fear can strike us numb or pride can stifle our growth.
The farther we are from land, to the point that we can see it and its lights no longer, we only have the stars to guide us. As we venture from what is comfortable to a path that leads to loving and serving deeply and truly, we only have God to trust.