Never Trade Your Ocean for a Pond

The following poem, for a number of reasons, moved me so very much when I read it. Written by bestselling author Jon Acuff and recently presented at his START conference, it speaks to the dreams and hopes of so many of us who desire to serve God through our gifts but often find it easier to stay in our own “ponds” where it is comfortable and where we are celebrated for something that we know is less than our best.

We all get our own oceans.

Just over the horizon, they beat against the shores of our comfort zones
while we content ourselves to float about in small boats
on small ponds
with small dreams.

Should the wind blow faster than we like,
we can stand up in the shallow, tepid water, knee-deep and headstrong,
as if we are the captains of the voyage.

We are not,
we are sailors hidden in ponds.

But erosion has nothing on the beating heart.

Try as you might to silence that dream, it refuses to stay dead.
Numb it all you like,
hide it under being an adult and growing up and being realistic,
it will not shut up.

Will you be great or just greatly known?

Will you master the sea,
or beat your fists against your chest in a proud pond triumph for the small dreamers who line your safe shore and cheer your safe life?

We are not on the sea yet.

The sea is black deep, the bottom unreachable, the waves hungry.
There are sharks and cliffs and trenches that would swallow the Grand Canyon.

No mantra will save you.

No three steps will neuter the ocean.

Scream some positive affirmation you learned at a hurricane until your voice goes bloody and it will not calm.

The sea was not meant to be controlled.
The sea was meant to be sailed.
To surrender to something that is bigger than you, has always been bigger than you, will always be bigger than you.

I choose sail.

I choose sink.

I choose rise.

And you? You must choose.
Today, lest you sacrifice that rarest of gifts once again.

We all get our own oceans, never trade yours for a pond.

– Jon Acuff


In what ways have you held yourself back from the oceans God wants you to sail? What are your plans to sail fearlessly into the unknown?



One Reply to “Never Trade Your Ocean for a Pond”

  1. I’m overwhelmed reading this; it was what I’ve been trying to say for many years. And your writing is also enlightening, keep up the good work! God Bless…

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