Mankind owns four things
that are no good at sea:
rudder, anchor, oars
and the fear of going down.
I love this poem. There are so many things that hold us back from being the people that God created us to be, and I think this poem captures a few of the biggies.
- Rudder. A rudder helps steer the boat. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think there are good things about having a rudder in our lives. It gives us direction, and it helps us control where our life is going. But sometimes our need to be in control can be detrimental. We might miss out on an opportunity because it doesn’t fit in with our plans. We might not leave any room for God to show up in our lives. It’s probably better to hold on to the steering wheel of our life lightly.
- Anchor. An anchor stops the boat from moving. Often in life, we get to a spot that feels comfortable, and we want to stay right there. We stop moving, changing, and growing. As a matter of fact, sometimes we actually resist movement, change, and growth, because it’s too scary. This not only causes us to miss out on opportunities, but it also causes problems, because the world around us is constantly changing. If we aren’t moving, changing, and growing, we will get left behind. It’s probably better to put our anchor back in the boat and get moving.
- Oar. An oar is a tool that an oarsman uses to propel the boat forward. This is often a good thing. We need to put forth some effort to get where we want to go. However, sometimes we work and work, and don’t get very far. We might not be taking the wind into consideration, so we might do a lot of work and not get anywhere. Or we might be putting in a lot of work but then find we are moving in the wrong direction. Also, sometimes we row and row, but forget to take some time to enjoy the ride. In life, it’s a good idea to do some rowing. But notice the wind. Make sure you are rowing in the direction you want to go. And take some time to relax and enjoy the ride.
- The fear of going down. Fear holds us back. When we are afraid of something, we are less likely to step into it, even if it is good for us. Instead, we shrink back, and stay where we are comfortable and familiar. To be our best self, we need to go for it. A certain percentage of the time, we might fail and go down. But that’s okay. Better to try and fail then to not even go for it. Courage is key to living a full, awesome life.
Discussion: Which of Machado’s ‘four things’ do you struggle with the most? What is one step you could take toward letting that thing go?