Thinking about boats this morning. Are you a fan of being out on the water, feeling the rush of the wind and the sunshine on your face? There’s a sense of freedom out on that open water, and there is freedom in knowing Jesus.
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12 – NIV
“If you were a boat, which one would you be?”
My nurse manager asked that question many years ago as part of a teambuilding exercise for our small leadership team. She placed a handful of photos on the table in front of us, each one displaying a different kind of boat. The menagerie of pictures included all manner of boats from canoe to cruise ship, from row boat to barge. “Pick the boat that describes you best,” she said with a hint of a smile.
Surveying the array of photos in front of me, I snatched one from the pile, laughing out loud. It was a perfect icon for me…a speedboat!
That speedboat was flying across the water leaving a huge wake of choppy waves behind as it raced toward an unseen destination. Moving at high speed, it was stirring up the water, making things happen. Yes, fast and focused, that’s how I liked to roll!
I always have liked to move fast. I walk fast. I talk fast. In my driving days, I liked to go fast.
There has always been so much to do, so many tasks to accomplish, so much good work to be done. Something in my psyche makes me notice problems and feel responsible to help solve them. Oh, and did I mention that it all needs to be done quickly?
My compulsion to move fast while maintaining an intense focus proved a useful disposition for a nurse. There was certainly plenty of tasks to be completed, all with their own sense of urgency. Whether I was caring for patients at the bedside or consulting on some project, I moved at a rapid pace. Dashing from meeting to meeting, hopping from one project to another, I crammed the maximum into each work day. The pace didn’t slow down at home either as I managed to fill my days with the tasks of childrearing, household chores, and volunteer work.
Looking back, I suppose I took great pride in all that busyness, ticking off my to do list, solving the never ending list of problems. But now I wonder. What did I miss in all that rushing around? What did I fail to notice because I didn’t take time to slow down?
In this season of retirement, I find my pace is slower, and that’s not such a bad thing. It gives me time to appreciate the majesty of the sunrise or to marvel at the kaleidoscope of color in my garden. There are opportunities to connect with others, a chance to listen instead of rushing to speak. More than ever before, I am taking time to pause and pray, to reflect and regroup.
The speedboat still shows up sometimes, but I no longer crave its incessant speed. I prefer sailing these days, standing on the deck, scanning the horizon, feeling the wind unfurl the sail. The wind directs my speed and course, and I don’t control the wind. Only God has that power. Only God should be at the helm, not me.
Yes, I think it’s high time I let God drive the boat. I am not in control of the speed or the direction, but then I never really was anyway. I want to see where God is steering me. What awaits me with the coming of the dawn? I don’t know, but God does. He’s got the plan, and I trust Him to steer.
If you were a boat, what kind of boat would you be? Are you satisfied with your selection or is it time to change course?
Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
Psalm 86:11 – NIV
O Lord God, in You we place our trust. In You, we find our hope, feel our peace. Help us to let go of our need for speed and our incessant desire for control. You have a good plan for our lives, and we need to wait on You and let You steer us in the right direction.