Dancing or Suffocating?

Family FishingWe all watched, excited, as the sunfish splashed up from the lake and landed with a thud on the dock. My husband reached out to remove the hook but the fish slipped from his grasp. “Look Mommy, he’s dancing!” And sure enough, the fish did look to be dancing as it dangled and flopped at our feet.

I can relate to that fish. From the outside, I look like I’m dancing. I race through my days; flip from activity to obligation, from crisis to need. Thanks to my smartphone, I’ve mastered multi-tasking. I get more done in a day than my grandmother did in a week. Yet still, there is never enough time. I look like I’m dancing—but in truth I am gasping for air.

What can we learn from the fish? It lurches away from the one who can set it free from the hook and plunge it in life-giving water. We too are hooked; jerked about by the demands of the world, pulled by anxieties and fears, caught up in our own desires.

“Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden,” says Jesus, “and I will give you rest.”

Make time in your day for Jesus. In the morning, before you set out onto the lake that is your life and start chasing the things that set their hooks in you, put yourself in his hands. Drink deeply from the Word. Set aside even ten minutes to read the Bible and hear him speak into your heart.

Then if you find yourself “out of your element” during the day, step aside for a moment and put yourself back in his hands.

We need the Word like a fish needs water.

Sarah Christmyer

Sarah Christmyer is co-developer with Jeff Cavins of The Great Adventure Catholic Bible study program. She serves as Strategic Consultant of The Great Adventure and is author or co-author of a number of the studies. Sarah has thirty years of experience leading and teaching Bible studies. She helped launch Catholic Scripture Study and is co-author of "Genesis Part I: God and His Creation" and "Genesis Part II: God and His Family," published by Emmaus Road. Sarah has a BA in English literature from Gordon College in Wenham, MA, and is working toward a Masters of Theology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia. Raised in a strong evangelical family, she was received into the Catholic Church in 1992. Sarah also writes at comeintotheword.com/.

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  • pnkyB4brain

    I am still navigating through this exciting website for Catholics. The correlation between the dancing fish and everyday lives is so appropriate nowadays. You are so right that in this hurried world 10 minutes to give to the Lord through reading the Bible is so very crucial to our everyday lives. Thank you for reminding me of this most important responsibility.

  • Sue Evon

    Great analogy! I can relate!

  • Martha

    Sarah, thanks for this post. I really needed to hear this message today. We’ve just returned from seeing my 92 year old father-in-law who didn’t really know who we were this past weekend. And now I’m faced with preparing to teach adult religious education on Sunday as well as lead a Bible study session during the week. I soooo need to take more time for prayer and Scripture reading as prayer rather than do the “prep for Bible study” and not really pray. Thanks for your encouraging materials. I’m glad to see you are studying at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. May God continue to bless you always.