Once upon a time there was a fish. This fish lived in a large fish tank where he was very happy. He spent his days swimming happily about, oblivious to the fact that he was in such a large fish tank. Twice a day a half dozen minnows were dumped into the tank and the fish would lurk and pounce at the minnows, hunting each one down until he consumed it whole. He was a great minnow hunter. The greatest of his kind. Every night the fish would swim around in a dark corner of the fish tank until he got comfortable. He’d float there, thinking about what an accomplished day he had catching those minnows, and would fall fast asleep.
The fish lived this life for quite some time. He had a happy life. He was a happy fish.
One day this fish’s owner put barriers around the fish. Clear thick glass walls around the fish where he had just enough room to swim about as he always had. The fish didn’t notice the walls as they were so transparent in such a large fish tank. Just as always, the time came where a half dozen minnows were poured into the fish tank. Just as always, the fish lunged at the minnows to consume them.
The fish shook the stars from his eyes, stunned by the hard wall he had slammed himself into. Still, he continued to lunge at the minnows growing more intent on his hunt with each pounce. This went on for some time. The minnows would get poured into the tank. The fish would lunge at the minnows, only to slam himself against the thick barrier walls.
As the days passed the minnows swam happily about the large fish tank. Growing in numbers. Growing in size. Pained by relentless efforts of getting past the thick barriers the fish became discouraged. When the minnows were poured into the tank each day the fish no longer lunged at them. He no longer swam about the tank happily. He just floated. Floated there in the same spot as the sun rose and the sun set, day after day passing before him.
Only a few days had passed and the owner of this fish reached into the cool waters of the fish tank and removed the thick clear barrier that he had placed around the fish. The fish was now free. Free from his barriers. By now two dozen minnows swam around him. Bigger than any minnows he had consumed before. The fish didn’t lurk. He didn’t hunt. He didn’t pounce. He didn’t consume. The fish did as he had been doing and he floated there, in the same spot, as the sun rose and the sun set.
The barriers in the fish’s life had been removed. Yet there he floated, day after day passing before him. Because of the barriers that the fish had once had, he now believed he was a bad hunter, unable to catch the minnows. The barriers no longer stopped the fish. The only thing stopping the fish was the fish himself.
Which makes me wonder… how many of you stopped hunting your own minnows? How many of you are stopped by barriers that have long since been removed? How many of you are letting day after day pass before you as you float, right there, in the same spot?