Saturday, November 2, 2013

Jonah.....GET OFF MY BOAT!

They were rowing to save their lives, but they were getting deeper and deeper in the water. The waves were crashing over the sides of the boat. It was taking on water. The harder they rowed, the worse it got. They had tried to lighten the load, hoping that would bring the boat up out of the water some. Supplies, food, you name it went over the side. It didn't help. They knew they were going to die if something didn't change. Run down below and wake the man who's sleeping. What was his name? Oh yes! Jonah.*

I was sitting in a women's conference, listening to a remarkable woman of God. She was showing us the flip side of the story of Jonah, from the point of view of the men in the boat whose lives were at stake because of Jonah's disobedience to the Lord. You know, when you put it that way, it kind of gives a whole new meaning to the story!

They knew they were going to die if something didn't change. Jonah had the answer; "Throw me into the sea." They had already tried everything else. Nothing worked. Why not try one more thing? So they did. Immediately, the sea went still.

In our storms of life, the same thing may apply. You have helped someone out countless times. You have forked over hundreds of dollars for someone who only gets themselves back into trouble. You have listened countless hours, trying to give good, sound advice, but it is always ignored. You have spent many sleepless nights crying over hurtful words spoken by someone who has never once thought how it would affect you. You have a Jonah. Maybe you have more than one. But if the people in your life are preventing you from moving forward into the ministry that God has called you, then it is time to get them off your boat. 


It may sound a little harsh. You may be thinking, I can't do that to them. But what you need to remember is that YOU DID NOT DIE FOR THEM.... Jesus did! You cannot save them. Jesus can. 

Keeping them in your boat, allowing them to make you miserable, make you tired and exhaust you, is only hurting both of you. It's time you took a deep breath and said, "Jonah... GET OFF MY BOAT!"  Kicking Jonah off your boat just means to stop allowing someone to influence you negatively, and to stop allowing them to drain you. 

I began to feel a little guilty at first when, while at a family event, I was made fun of and laughed at, and then ridiculed in what was called "joking" for wearing mismatched socks, and my hair being purple. When stating that I used these for ministry, I heard, not understanding, but a very sarcastic and patronizing, "Pshh, Ministry!" But I kept quiet. I kept calm. And I walked away. It was then that I realized that Jonah had to get off the boat.

You have a Jonah on your boat. You just thought of who that is while you were reading. It is time to kick him off your boat and move on. You don't have to do it in a mean way. You can do it very lovingly. I did. At my accusers, my mockers, I had just hugged one and kissed the other, then I smiled at them and walked away. By the time the event was over, they were approaching me and telling me they loved me. Of course I love them, too. But I cannot be around them. Their presence in my life is toxic. One day, they will understand why. Yours will, too.

The best thing you can do for your Jonah is to pray for them. Yes, you love them, but you have to get out of the way and let God handle them and take care of them. He will do a much better job than we can. In fact, when we get out of the way, God can do miraculous things with both of you! You AND your Jonah. Besides...it just might mean that your Jonah finally has that encounter with God that they needed to have.

As time goes on, you will discover that your Jonah will learn to stop depending on you to get them out of the messes they get themselves into. They will have to. And you will find the peace and rest that you need, and the opportunity you have to move into what God is calling you to do.

Stop lending God a hand today. Step back, take a deep breath, and get Jonah off your boat!


*You can find out more about Jonah's story in the Bible. The book of Jonah.

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