Sailing This Season of Life

Have you ever felt like you’re stuck? You just can’t seem to get unstuck from where you find yourself at this point in your life. No matter what self-talk or how much you pray, nothing seems to move you ahead toward your final destination?

In sailing, this condition is know as “becalmed.” Some times this can be because the wind simply stops. There’s nothing we can do about that. Sailing depends upon the wind. As every sailor of small craft knows, without an engine a becalmed sailboat has no other option but to wait out the calm and pray for a breeze.

Marcy and I love sailing. We’ve owned two sail boats. First a small Sunfish, then a larger 18 footer. We LOVED our time on board. There’s nothing like a well-equipped, nicely appointed, sea-worthy boat (may be a hold-over from my Navy days). Any chance or invitation we get, we jump on board. Yet we’ve found ourselves becalmed many times.

Sometimes our slower headway was because we “fell off”–meaning we turned away from the direction wind. Or directly into the wind and allowed the main sail to luff. Sometimes we did it on purpose to stop the forward movement so we could fix something.

On another occasion, we “broached.” A broach is when a sailing vessel looses control and suddenly turns sharply away from its intended direction of travel. A broach usually involves heavy heeling over to one side and we’ve almost capsized on the Sunfish when we broached.

In my life, I have “fallen off” and “broached” as a result of discouragement or disappointment or over-commitment. In any case, these conditions prevent forward movement toward our destination because we turn from the direction of the Spirit’s movement.

The wind we need for navigating life’s seasons is the wind of the Spirit of God. Interesting that the Greek word for spirit is pneuma, meaning literally “wind.” Without the wind of God in our lives we can founder and simply drift, with no seeming purpose or direction.

Sometimes the wind just seems to disappear (it never really does) but it’s so gentle that it can’t fill our sails enough to overcome our inertia. At those times Marcy and I have had to just sit and wait. We watched the colored tell-tale on the top of the mast and at the end of the sheet, waiting for something more serious than mild waving. We filled our waiting with prayer and talked to each other, making the most of our time. Those times of quiet have been rich for us. Soon enough, the wind returned and we were once again speeding over the water.

If you’re becalmed right now in your life, if you find yourself unable to move ahead, don’t despair. Don’t be discouraged. This can be a season for you to enjoy a closer fellowship with the lover of your soul. The Lord will move you on soon enough. Right now though you may have need to WAIT. Waiting upon the Lord is not easy for busy, working people; but it is needful.

Soon enough the wind of the Spirit will fill you and move you to the desired port or safe harbor.

If you’ve broached, finding yourself off balance, just prayerfully turn back into the wind and set sail again. Put it behind you and learn from it. You can sail the next season that much more experienced.

If you know someone whose life is becalmed right now, or if she has fallen off course, why not be a friend and send her a link to this post. Taking the moment to act kindly may be just the encouragement that she needs right now and your kindness will build her up.

Safe sailing.

©2011, David C Alves

Photo used by permission. ©2011, Chad Dutson, Daily Capture

One response

  1. Nice points, David. You said “If you’ve broached, finding yourself off balance, just prayerfully turn back into the wind and set sail again.” I have personally positioned myself in similar circumstances, and each time found the truth of what you say. Prayer is a powerful tool to guide you through life. Thanks for sharing. Chad.


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