Tag Archives: life questions

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

Importance of Fathers and Dads


This is retitled and republished from June 2006 because I had few readers then and consider it one of my most helpful early entries for Dads and Fathers. I also included links to the publications I mentioned back then.

Given the cultural view that any combination of adults and kids makes a family, just how important are fathers anymore? The older I get, the more convinced I am that Fathers stand in a place of tremendous authority and responsibility. This authority is power to bless or to curse. We have a huge assignment from God. Our words, our actions create or destroy . . . And God will hold us accountable for the use or misuse of this high calling–Father.

I have come to believe from having Fathered young people who were not my birth children, that spiritual fathers have a similar role and impact upon lives. God has not given me birth children of my own. Yet, he has kept his promise to give me many spiritual children. Some I have led to Him. Some have come to me sent by Him. In every case, I have sought to be a blessing–to be protective, instructive and generous. I have felt His empowering and have known something of His longing for His own children.

I have also learned the secret of boys and girls. I recently read a little booklet,You Have What It Takes which we gave out to all the men in our congregation. It was written by the author of Wild at Heart, John Eldredge. I agree with Eldridge that the key questions our sons and daughters are asking are:

BOYS
Do you resepct me?  Am I powerful?  Can I get the Job Done?  Am I worthy to be held in honor?

GIRLS
Do you treasure me? Am I worth your time and care? Am I lovely?  Am I valuable enough for you to protect and die for?

The wise Father/Dad recognizes these questions being asked in different actions and ways all the time. The wisest Fathers answer them when they hear or see the questions arising.

I believe that Fathers have the highest calling on the planet. I believe that Fathers are stand-ins for The FATHER–God. When your children, young or old, see you–they see the Father. You are the adverb pointing to the Verb. Whether we believe this or not does not make it any less true or valid. We fathers will be held accountable for how we stand in our authority. Jesus taught that we are not to use authority to “Lord it over” others. We use it to BLESS!! That is, we use it to build up, to provide, protect, and promote the welfare of our children, wives, and households. We use it to point them to God–the Father of their souls. We show them what He is like by our fathering.

QUESTION: How important do YOU think fathers are? What about “spiritual fathers”?
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