A man without a goal is like a ship without a rudder. Thomas Carlyle
The winds and currents of life are formidable forces. Rudders are simple navigational tools used to steer boats and ships in open waters. They are used to provide navigation control against winds and currents while staying on course at the same time. When we try to navigate through life without a rudder, we can find ourselves rather helpless against these powerful forces. It is also like a leaf at the mercy of blowing winds.
Our journey through life is much like trying to travel in open waters. Whether it is the basic row boat, a sleek sailing vessel, or luxury liner, the quality of our journey is dependent upon the skillful use of a rudder. Whether there is a current or not, the wind is with us or against us, and we are equipped with a powerful engine or not, we are dependent upon the proper use of a rudder to make steady progress toward our destination. The rudder provides the leverage needed to steer toward our destination, without it we have no control of our direction.
Rudders provide determination and purpose. They provide our motivation, goals, discipline, values and principles. They are necessary to provide the heading we choose to take our life. Without a rudder, we lack substance and are at the mercy of wherever trials and tribulations take us. Life can be smooth sailing or very tumultuous. Storms are always on the horizon. When conditions become hazardous, our rudder becomes even more essential for staying on course. Ships without rudders lose their ability to steer and often end up on the rocks or at the bottom of the sea. Having a rudder sometimes means the difference between life and death.
It seems with age, we gain in wisdom and understanding. Along with increased wisdom, we become more aware of the need for having meaning and purpose in life. As this happens, we get more skilled at using our rudders to point ourselves in a specific direction and toward desired destinations. Many of us have allowed life to blow us around like a helpless leaf for too many years. It is time to grasp our rudder with firm hand, point our ship in the right direction, keeping our eyes on our objective and using life’s forces to move us forward. If our rudder is missing or inadequate, we are ill-equipped to control our direction or our ultimate destination.
Challenge: If you have ever driven on ice you probably know how it feels to lose control. The steering wheel is your rudder. Lose control and your life is in danger. On a deeper level, the things in side you, the things that make you who you are, become your steering wheel or your rudder. If you do not have sufficient meaning, purpose, values or principles guiding and directing your live; your well-being is in peril.
Wisdom: To reach a port we must sail, sometimes with the wind, and sometimes against it. But we must not drift or lie at anchor. Oliver Wendell Holmes
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
We live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7
It is a good feeling to know our direction and have confidence we are heading in the right direction. It is quite the opposite when we feel lost or lack confidence in knowing we are doing the right things. There is much about the nature of this life in which confidence and assurance can easily give way to feelings of inadequacy, insecurity, or even helplessness. If we wish to move from the uncertain to the certain, God is waiting to show us how.
Prayer: Help me to do a better job of taking control of my rudder and steering my life in the right direction.