If You Want to Walk on Water, You’ve Got to Get out of the Boat

One of the most influential nonfiction books, for me personally, has been If You Want to Walk on Water You’ve Got to Get Out of the Boat by John Ortberg. I read it during a time when I was yearning to find my purpose—my calling. I’d made some crazy mistakes along the way because of impulsive decisions, and I was seeking direction to avoid more.

The truth for many of us—we hold back from using our gifts or following our dreams because of fear. We’re afraid of failing and looking foolish, and we’re afraid of the added expectations success might bring. So, we don’t take risks, even when we feel a nudge to make changes in our jobs, ministries, relationships, etc. We lack trust in God having our backs and making a way.

From the book’s inside cover:

Peter may have been the first one out of the boat, but Jesus’ invitation to walk on water is for you as well. But walk on water? What does that mean?
~ Walking on water means facing your fears and choosing not to let fear have the last word.
~ Walking on water means discovering and embracing the unique calling of God on your life.
~ Walking on water means experiencing the power of God in your life to do something you would not be capable of doing on your own.

Taken from one of the chapters:

“If you want to walk on water, you’ve got to get out of the boat.”
“You boat is whatever keeps you so comfortable that you don’t want to give it up even if its keeping you from joining Jesus on the waves.”
“Want to know what your boat is? Your fear will tell you.”

Chapters cover things like how to discern our gifts and what God has called us to do, dealing with fear, trusting God, the importance of using our gifts, and what we can do while waiting for answers. The author also includes challenging questions in each chapter that help us process our personal journeys.

If you’re struggling with discovering your purpose or following through on what you believe God is leading you to do, I encourage you to pick up this book.

If you’ve read If You Want to Walk on Water Youve Got to Get Out of the Boat, please share your thoughts. 

If you haven’t, in what area of your life do you think it might be helpful right now?

What others books do you think readers might find helpful if they’re struggling with discovering their calling?



  1. Writing a novel - contemporary Christian romance - calls for me to 'get out of the boat'!

    1. Go, Mary! Get out of the boat! You can do it! And once you get out, don't get back in. ;-)


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