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My Life As A Sailboat

Get ready…this is a long one. But it’s worth the time if you tend to let your emotions run wild like I sometimes do!

The logo that my husband and I chose for our ministry, The Reality Group, is a sailboat. We chose that because it’s a perfect picture of how we feel about serving God. You can either be like a rowboat, trying hard and struggling to do all that you believe will please God. Or you can be like a sailboat, driven and empowered by the Holy Spirit within you…in other words, either YOU can serve and fail repeatedly, or you can allow the life of Christ to serve through you and be victorious.

That part I knew with all my heart, soul, and mind. We have both learned the hard way that we must “sail” in service, empowered by God Himself. But recently we have experienced a time when God didn’t seem to be moving. It seemed that we were just “dead in the water.”

When that happens in the life of a believer there is always a tendency to return to life as a rowboat….I don’t know about you, but I would always start paddling again at that point. If God didn’t move, then I’d move “for Him.”

After months of impatient waiting and unsuccessful attempts to get God to move again, I reached a point of hopelessness. I began to think that I’d never hear any direction from God again. I felt defeated at that point. The boat that was my life was sinking. I was not sailing because God wasn’t moving and I just quit rowing because I wasn’t getting anywhere anyway. (Bringing me to a point of exhaustion and surrender was God’s intent by the way…He never wanted me to row again!)

I desperately called out to God. I didn’t want to be dead in the water anymore. That’s when God began to show me what He was doing. You might remember that when Mary and Martha sent for Jesus because their brother Lazarus was dying, Jesus waited until Lazarus was dead to show up on the scene. They both questioned why Jesus took so long.

I believe it is because they already knew Jesus as a healer. But He was about to show them something new about Himself; a new characteristic that they could depend on in times of sorrow and death. He chose this occasion to show them, and in fact the world, that He was RESURRECTION AND LIFE!

In my situation I had known Jesus as the wind that empowered me. I had seen Him do incredible miracles through me that were totally out of my abilities. But there was another way that He wanted to show me I could trust in Him.

19 This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, 20 where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. Hebrews 6:19-20 

According to verse 19, the HOPE that we have in Jesus is to be the anchor for our souls (our mind, will, and emotions). It is that hope that keeps us steady and secure during troubling times.

God began to give me some incredible imagery to teach me truth and restore my hope. An anchor is what keeps the boat from drifting with the prevailing currents during a storm or just during the times when the boat is not in motion for whatever reason, INCLUDING those times when the wind is just not blowing. (For instance in my life, when God is not moving.)

He showed me that though I have known Him as the “wind” I had never come to know Him as my “ANCHOR”…the hope for the times when God has me in a place of stillness….when the winds of ministry have ceased for a time. Those times of rest are supposed to be profitable for me, but they can also be devastating to someone who is accustomed to and enjoys “sailing swiftly”…as I do.

Here’s what I wrote after that revelation:

“I need to know Jesus as my anchor, not just as my wind. I need to know how to let Him hold me steady in a still place and not get caught up in the current of my runaway thoughts that take me off in dangerous directions where I neither want nor need to go. I need to learn how to get to the TRUTH that will give me strength, peace, and a sense of security when the storms of my life try to draw my emotions away from that truth.” 

God brought me to a point where I realized that the thought process that usually happened during a crisis in my life would eventually destroy me if I didn’t let God show me this new way of thinking. If trouble entered my life my thought pattern tended to run wild. I would get a sense of something being wrong and I would start to stew over it like a mild current running alongside a sailboat. But after a season of stewing over the crisis, the mild current turned into an overwhelming jet stream in my mind and I would then find myself drowning in it.

If there was ever anyone that needed to know how to be held fast by my Anchor it was me. I needed to know truth so that I would no longer get caught up in such raging currents that would keep sweeping me further and further toward the destruction of my peace, my sanity, and my ministry.

So I asked God to show me how to hold on to the anchor. And His response was SHOCKING. What was so shocking is that I spend my whole life teaching that it’s not about me holding on…yet I still thought that was the answer.

God began to show me that sailors NEVER hold onto the anchor. They just stay on the ship and trust the anchor to do all the holding! They just trust that the anchor will hold.

The key to my peace of mind is not holding on to Jesus. It’s a matter of trusting that Jesus will hold on to me…that His grip is STRONG and SECURE enough FOR ME!!! No matter what storm, no matter what current, if I will simply “stay on the ship” He will keep me from drifting into dangerous water.

So, my next question of course was: what does it mean to “stay on the ship”? What was He teaching me with that? Here’s what I learned:

I tend to panic and jump off the ship and when I do I jump right into the current of my raging emotions!

I can be sure that the ship in which I have my hope (salvation) will NOT be destroyed because the anchor that secures it (Jesus) is stronger than anything that can come against it. It will stand strong during any storm. But if I panic and jump overboard because I’m somehow not sure that the boat will be strong enough, then the strength of my anchor does me no good.

In other words, if I jump overboard to look for my security in other sources that are not “on the ship” (God ordained sources), then I will get caught up in the dangerous current of my runaway thoughts; I’ll get caught up in them, overwhelmed by the storm, swept out to sea, and I will FEEL alone and helpless and HOPELESS. If I seek my security in anything else but what I have in Christ, then I’ll lose all hope because there is hope in nothing else.

Here is the truth. If Jesus is both the anchor and the wind, then we have to allow Him to “blow” and “hold” as He wills. When He is being our ANCHOR we can’t try to get Him to move the ship. And when He is being the WIND we can’t try to get Him to stop it. He’ll stop our forward motion when He knows it’s best to do so and it will always be based on what we need. And He’ll move us forward again when the time is right and not before.

It’s not enough to know Him as the wind of our personal ministries. We also must know Him as the anchor that holds our lives steady during the times that we are still. And remember that He said to “be still and know that He is God.” The times of stillness are just as important as the times of great activity…in fact they may even be more important. Don’t hurry them. Stay on the ship and trust the anchor!

Debbie Childers

About the Author

Debbie Childers is the co-founder of The Reality Group (www.therealitygroup.org), a speaker, and the author of numerous Bible Studies. She finds great humor in the fact that all through her school years she got in trouble for talking and now she gets paid for doing it! She is married to Tim, her college sweetheart. He has recently retired from being a pastor and they have now entered a full time ministry of speaking, teaching, and writing. They have recently moved back to their home in Austell, GA, near their kids and grandkids. They have two grown children – Clay, who is married to Candi and they live in Dallas, GA with their son Cash. Her daughter Amy, is an artist with Glory Haus and is the creator of “Burlees” seen in gift shops all over the world. Amy is married to Sam, an educator, and they have 5 children!! Debbie’s SIX grandkids are the cutest children in the world. They have brought incredible joy to her life and made her old before her time!!