The other day I got stuck between two people having a conversation and mentioned in an offhanded remarked that I felt trapped. Someone asked if I meant like a fish in a net, and I affirmed that the feeling was similar. Later, as three people discussed something about which I had absolutely no frame of reference I stated that I felt like a fish out of water. (Both of these remarks prompted an interesting discussion about what kind of fish I would be. A discussion that I was ill-equipped to have.) Without exactly meaning to, i had created an interesting parallel. Both times I was equated with a fish. Both times the analogy was apt.
Whether a fish is trapped in a net or happens to find themselves on shore, they are not in the environment that God intended for them. All the things that fish were created to do are not possible in either of those circumstances. In the first, the fish has had outside forces conspire to remove it from its natural environment. There is very little that a fish can do to affect change once they are in the net; the idea is to avoid it. In the second situation, the fish itself has acted to get outside of God’s plans. Following what it thought was a better alternative created a situation in which it was unable to survive. The fish probably doesn’t intend for that to be the end result. Nevertheless, it is.
Sometimes I think humans are not that much wiser. We let outside forces surround us and prevent us from following God’s plans. Or, we ourselves think we know a better way, and so we jump out of the ocean of God’s goodness, intent that there is a better life for us on the sand. There never is. God made us for one purpose – to give Him glory. Any time we act on our own we’re supplanting that purpose with our own desires. Anytime we do that, we’re trapped. We experience bondage, not freedom. We experience death, not life. We seek to do our own thing, and than find that our own thing is not worth pursuing. We’ve been given everything we need to live the life we’re intended, if only we’re content to be what God’s called us.
I don’t know what fish I would be. I’m grateful that I don’t have to choose. I only hope that I can be the person that God intended and not let anything, whether outside forces or my own desires, prevent that.