The Courage to Navigate

Have you ever heard of a boat being driven along by a storm? It usually happens when the equipment that was meant to steer the boat is no longer a match for the ferocity of the storm. No matter how experienced or knowledgeable those aboard are, sometimes the storm is just too powerful, and they find themselves at its mercy, being driven along the vast sea with no form of direction or sense of purpose.

Have you ever been driven along by life?

Sometimes when bad things happen, and keep happening, we lose our footing. What do you do when life is hitting you with blows at a rate that is faster than the rate of your recovery?

Have you ever felt completely lost, abandoned, adrift at sea? Have the years began to roll into one continuous, soul-sucking cycle? Have you been driven along for so long by a sense of blind responsibility that you have no idea where you wanted to go in the first place?

Have you been driven along by pain and regret for so long that you don’t know where you are? Have anger and hatred been your motivators for so long that you are now shipwrecked on some island, alone, and sad?

Do you know what it feels like to be completely lost on the sea of your own life?

Tonight as I was getting ready for bed, the thought came to me that there are those of us who have been driven along by circumstances, situations, and influences that are outside of our control, and there are those of us who have remained willfully adrift because we are afraid to take back the power we have been given to steer our lives in a particular direction.

I want to make it perfectly clear that there is hope in Yahshua for both categories of people, but I would like to address those of us who remain lost because we won’t admit where we are.

I want to tell you that there is absolutely no way you will be able to get to the place you envision if you do not first acknowledge where you are. Some of us are in places that we never thought we would be in. We have kept our eyes and ears closed as we allow complacency and familiarity to drive us along. We call severe character flaws personality traits and refuse to bring our flesh under subjection to the Word of Yahweh, and then wonder why the storms will not stop coming, or why the sense of aimlessness we feel won’t leave us. We preoccupy ourselves with keeping up appearances instead of embracing our truths, and it keeps us wondering in the wrong direction.

I want you to know that the enemy is completely aware of who and where each and every one of us is. He has the GPS coordinates for your emotional, physical, spiritual, and mental whereabouts locked and loaded. He knows the state that you’re in and the condition you’ve been in since birth. Why? Because any good warlord knows to track his opponents’ moves accurately and on a consistent basis.

He is fully aware of your strengths and your weaknesses. He knows what you’ve done and is willing to shame you with it for as long as it will keep you paralyzed. His goal is to scare you so bad in the midst of the storm that you abandon the control center and cower, all the while drifting further and further away from Yahweh.

His goal is to keep you distracted with adversity so that you won’t look up and realize you’re headed in the wrong direction. He wants to run you aground, he wants to shipwreck you, he wants to dismember your body and take your will away. He’s after your faith. Hear me, He don’t like us (read that in a Bahamian accent).

This is not the time to close your eyes to who you are. This is not the time to be willfully ignorant about the status of your heart. You need to take inventory of the cargo in your hold. You need to label your baggage accurately so that when you toss it overboard, you understand the significance of what you chose to let go of. You need to name your pain, identify your limitations, get acquainted with your imperfections, and finally introduce yourself to your potential.

You need to know what’s in you so you can figure out why you’re so lost.

Too many of us want to jump over the part where we face ourselves and rush to the part where we fulfill purpose. That’s not how it works.

Pastor Steven Furtick always says that Yahweh cannot fix what you won’t face. You have to own up to your mistakes now. If you want to move forward in life, if you want to charter a course and partner with Yahweh in purpose, you need to know who you are right now: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

But this takes courage.

Authenticity is not easy. It’s painful and stripping, it requires honesty and humility. But it is absolutely necessary in the pursuit of purpose. Before Yahweh can turn you into who you are meant to be, you have to acknowledge that you aren’t that person yet. You have to stop pretending long enough to feel your brokenness and call out for help. We all have flaws and faults, but we cannot keep allowing fear to stop us from accessing the parts of us that are undesirable.

To navigate means to steer, to plan or direct, to travel carefully or with difficulty. This requires focus, discipline, and determination. When sailors navigate their ships through storms, it’s not a passive task. They have to get involved and put to work all the things they learned over the span of their careers. They have to commit to the task of staying the course.

This is a lot harder than being driven along.

Being driven along isn’t the same as surrendering. When you are driven along, you are giving up control in order to be left at the mercy of your circumstances. This isn’t what Yahweh wants for any of us. What happens to you does not have to define you forever. In culture we love to dismiss people’s reactions and current status because of what happened in their past. I am aware that pasts play a huge role in determining where we end up, but I do not believe that our lives have to be results of the terrible things that happened to us. Terrible things do happen, and I don’t know why, but I do know that Yahweh is sovereign, and He is able to make all the terrible things that happen to us work for our good. You may not believe that, but I do, because the alternative is much too grim for me to adopt as a motivating school of thought or primary mindset.

His will is that we steer our lives, and that we use the map of His Word to give us direction, identify our destination, and provide the confidence to face the storms that lie ahead.

Yahweh doesn’t just want to tell you what to do – He wants to help you navigate, to make wise decisions, to follow good instruction, to embrace sound teaching, to submit to heavenly council.

I think we all want to fulfill our life’s purpose. But in order to do that, you will need to be strategic about where and how you sail. Being driven along by feelings is not enough. Being driven along by poor choices and unforgiveness is not enough. Being driven along by a victim’s mentality and the negative opinions of others is not enough. Being driven along by willful ignorance when knowledge is readily available is not enough.

It’s time to raise your head and get to figuring out what’s in your boat, and where the boat is.

Yahweh is able to help you take stock, and He is able to help you lighten your load. What you are carrying will not shock Him, it will not scare Him away. What you’re storing below deck will not cause Him to abandon you.

You are never out of the reach of grace. Nothing you are holding on to can disqualify you from receiving salvation, or strip away Yahshua’s love for you. Yes, even that can be acknowledged and discarded with His help.

You have not drifted too far. No storm of life is so strong that it can drive you out of Yahweh’s arms. No wind is too wild, no ocean too deep, no night too dark, no thought too depraved, no heart too broken, no body too bruised, no mind too confused, no life to wretched for Him to fix.

Maybe He won’t say ‘Peace, be still,’ to the storm. But I guarantee that He will help you hold your own in the midst of it.

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