I grew up on the water. Many of my favorite childhood memories include long days full of sunshine, lake water, and water skiing. As may boaters know, if the water gets rough, it is a good idea to get in the wake of another watercraft. Doing this will calm your ride and clear the route allowing you to be less affected by other boats causing choppy waters due to running alternate routes.
Recently, I heard a talk by Dr. Henry Cloud that stuck with me due to my past on the water. He discussed how the wake that a boat leaves behind is very telling of how the boat is doing. If the wake is curvy you know it lacks direction and focus, if it is shallow you know the boat is burning fuel, and if it is too steep the drag needs to be adjusted. He paralleled this to the wake that we leave as individuals. In this life, we will leave a wake in our work, our relationships, and our communities. We may be good in one or another but getting solid wakes in all three can be challenging, yet necessary.
When I think about wake, it brings clarity to what has been done and what needs to happen. Although I assess these things on my own frequently, I have learned that you can not be your own sole critic. It is so important to be open to hearing other's feelings on your results and relationships. In order to be focused on leaving an impactful wake, it is important to ask those around us what kind of wake we are currently leaving. Do I make people better? Do I make situations better? Do I resemble Christ in my interactions with others? Although intimidating, it is crucial to hear honest feedback in order to know what to adjust and what to enhance to ultimately leave a positive wake. Also, just like on the water, it is important to find a leader with a balanced wake to get behind. This will help calm life's choppy waters and will provide a space for you to remain focused on throwing a wake that will be a blessing to others.
Dr. Cloud states clearly: "The wake is the result we leave behind. And the wake doesn't lie and it doesn't care about excuses. It is what it is. No matter what we try to do to explain why, or to justify what the wake is, it still remains. It is what we leave behind and it is our record."
The idea of our wake is haunting and exciting. It clearly depicts what our character and actions leave behind and forces us to focus on what we believe, do, and say. There is a stream of consistency needed in order to leave a good path behind. Just like you can tell a lot about a boat just by looking at it's wake, you can also tell a lot about a person by the wake they leave behind. It is my prayer that we all begin to consider what paths we are cultivating and recognize that the wakes we leave behind will impact the world for the Kingdom.