shipHow do I change the direction of this ship? I hate that my life feels like a shipwreck. It probably looks like one, too.

If there was ever a shipwrecked soul (apart from me), it was Bill W., the father and founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. I was introduced to AA through a person I dearly loved when I attended an Open AA meeting—a gathering open to all. I was 16. That evening altered my life and my understanding of community. The authenticity was captivating, the community riveting.

“This is what the church should be like.”

I was already well aware that the church was not a safe place to be real. Masks were the norm. Somehow we had come to believe that God’s credibility rested on us and the image we projected. The church was about image control, not a place of grace and on-going transformation.

Anyway…I recently watched a dramatization of Bill W.’s life. I didn’t know his story, only his name. “Shipwrecked” describes his life well. Once proud and successful, his ship hit rocks. All that remained was a broken, splintered mess. The whole story blessed me, but one gem emerged. When Bill was in the early, fragile days of recovery, he knew what he wanted. He had tasted new life, but his commitment to sobriety was was tested at every turn. Through a series of events, he came to understand a simple truth that altered the course of his recovery and restoration.

“To keep it, you must share it.”

On this journey through overload and exhaustion, we’ve all hit bottom. We’ve all hit some rocks, some of us more than others. The damage is real. I would venture to guess you are reading this blog because within you is a desire for “a better way.” This better way becomes ours when we recognize that our recovery from overload will be a journey spanning the of our lives. We must commit to the long haul. There is no quick fix.

My passion for Run Hard. Rest Well. runs deep. I am a hard-core addict of work. I write and speak, ultimately, to an audience of one. Me. I don’t want to go back. My life (and my LIFE) depend on it. So does my children. This culture, when given full reign, points us to a single destination: self-destruction.

Do you want to change the direction of your ship?

Explore. Taste. Try. Fail. Wrestle. Grow. But know in your heart, “To keep it, you must share it.”

Out loud. Deep within. In person. All the time.

Lord, the rudder is yours.

Do you think there’s truth in, “To keep it you must share it?” What will that look like in your life?

First time here?

22 thoughts on “Shipwrecked”

    • Thank you.
      Thank you.
      It’s an “answer” from a very deep place within my soul.
      A soul-shaper and I am on my knees in gratitude to the One whose tender touch is determined that I embrace His best. He is faithful and never ever gives up on me.
      Blessings on the journey!

  1. So…in the frantic flow of this life, as we indeed try to ‘measure up’ at every turn, how does one ever get beyond personal beatings to actually become able to share???

    • Linda — your heart cry is mine. i began my journey into the rhythms of rest 23 years ago. It took 10 years of wrestling with God over this thing called “rest” before I ever had anything to share about it. I believed so many lies — founded on “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” That TRUTH, tainted with self-reliance and my short-sighted ability to live off of 4-5 hours of sleep and tons of caffeine — about buried me, destroyed every priority I held, and inflicted untold damage of the people I loved the most. YES — if we do life His way and not my way, not the way of 24/7 … I can do what HE has called me to do, but not necessarily what others want me to do. I join you in the ranks of self-torture. I never measured up to the standards I created for myself and the standards I allowed others to dictate into my life but God blessed me with enough rest here and there over ten years that I came to believe it was the basis of the abundant life Jesus had for me. My prayer for you, dear, treasured one, is to rest this week. Maybe one hour. No guilt. A gift. A gift from you know who. It is a journey of deep surrender to allow rest to have its way. The sharing will come from that. But for now, your honest sharing with us, opens up deep places that allow Him to enter into our pain, our fear, our hunger for something more.

  2. What I am learning is if I want to turn my ship in any direction at all, I can’t. It standstills in the stagnate murky waters. However if I let God steer, he will send the gentle winds, he will send storm to turn my ship around; sailing closer to Him. It is hard sometimes to let our Lord take control of the wheel, but he has given us the strength just to give it up to him. As always, a wonderful blog with wonderful timing! The Great and Almighty is Good to me. Have a blessed week everyone….

  3. As I read and reread your blog, I am so touched. As I look around, I see all these perfect lives and happy faces and think… what is wrong with me. In fact, I’m told, what is wrong with you? If you loved Jesus and believed in Him…blah, blah, blah. I am learning to be real. God has given me no other choices. I am learning to rest…..well, maybe. Sometimes in the do nothing mode, I have to fight the thoughts and the mind and the energy of the lies….so rest….maybe some. But the thing is…I’m learning. I’m being led by God. I’m not where I was….not in the good or in the bad. I’m in a different place. That is scary. I’m in the unfamiliar and, if I’m really honest, in spite of the fear of the unknown…there is a sense of excitement….adventure. There are walls coming down, breakthroughs on the horizon, change in the direction this old ship is taking. I wasn’t in a bad place…. before, but I was heading to the right country by the wrong route. I was looking for India and finding America. Rest…for me…for right now….is letting go of the need to understand where this ship is taking me. The things The Lord is telling me and showing me are so far off my “me” experience that I couldn’t begin to understand if I tried. I hate letting go of control, but it’s kinda fun in a scary sort of way. Now check me tomorrow. I may be a basket case again. LOL!

        • Betty,
          Thank you, my friend. I went on retreat a week ago Tuesday. The timing was His, like usual. He had a line up of introducing me to 2 fathers who also lost young adult sons, one in a tragic accident, the other to a rare form of liver cancer. It set the stage for good things. God things. A bucket full of over-due tears. Psalm 144, 145, 146 — His words to me for the day. I write Josh long letters on these days…letters he will never see, but ones that allow me to explore the depths and heights. Josh is in a pattern of 1 good day to 2 rough days. Every day he is quick to cuddle and hug and say I love you. Precious, wonderful days! Hospice is so dedicated to keeping him out of pain. A gift !! How are you, Betty?

          • Honestly? Buckets full of tears. I know God is at work. I know He is, but I am dying as I cry out from the depth of my soul for a moment in His arms that I can feel….a note from His voice…a touch of comfort. I feel the chasm that keeps hope so far from me. Will there be any peace? Any rest? Will I ever experience the Sabbath rest? He tells me I cannot hide. I don’t understand. He says I’m a leader. His idea of leadership must surly be different from mine. He tells me there is a wall between us…sin? shame? guilt? self protection/control? the enemy? I don’t know, but I need it down. I can’t breathe…physically and spiritually. He tells me that He is making me a fighter. I hate fighting and everything I do is a fight. The pain is more frequent, more intense, longer duration. If it’s not the belly issue, it’s the arthritis. It’s all attacks from the enemy and I know it. A few weeks ago I had to be carted out of church….again. God is at work. He is faithful. He will bring healing that I cannot see and do not know. He is making me a new person, but I am tired. There just is not enough sleep. I am weak and getting weaker. But God is in control. He has a plan and His timing is perfect. I just wish I weren’t so broken. I cry out for healing…for you, for Josh, for a baby expected to not survive birth, for a new world. I cry out “God, You said Your yoke was easy.” He says my idea of easy and His are not the same. A yoke is hitched to a plow and there is fallow ground that needs to be broken up. He is at work and I must be about His tasks.

          • Betty,
            Are you familiar with Sarah Young and her books — Jesus calling? She ministers out of her pain. She faces a constant level of pain through her chronic Lyme Disease that doctors have not been able to treat. I think you two are kindred spirits. i think her devotional prayer book would a place of shade and rest on this desert trek. Have you heard of her?

          • Actually I have 3 of Sarah Young’s devotional books that I read and enjoy. Yes! She touches me incredibly. Streams in the Desert and Springs in the Valley by LB Cowman touch deeply too. She had her pain also.

          • Springs in the Valley is signed…authored by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman. I’m not sure I ever heard her name. If I’m not mistaken the Cowmans were good friends with Oswald Chambers and wife. I love his work which was put together and published by his wife after his death also.

  4. My sister, my soul-mate–the one with whom I thought I would grow old is in the process of dying. My heart is breaking but God is good and present. And I built myself a snowman today–something I have loved to do since a child. It was the most calming activity experienced in a long time. Resting and trusting in His character.

    • Suzanna,
      My front yard was a wonderland of snow today. I can see you outside forming a snowball in your hands. The wind in your face. The clouds a mass of gray-white beauty. Then you found the right spot to set it down and began to roll, carefully, skillfully into just the right size. Suzanna, I am thanking God for the simple joys that ground you in His goodness and remind you that for the journey ahead you and your sister will never be alone. Praying for you right now. Praying for your sister and all who love her and thanking God that you find a resting place for your soul as you walk a road you never imagined. Do you have a Red Diamond?

  5. You struck a nerve. You hit home. The Church should not be a place where we wear Masks.
    The Church should be: community, authenticity, grace, forgiveness, acceptance as the forgiven sinners that we are. A place to support one another in the ongoing transformation as we grow where God has planted us: rose, thorns, and all.
    How can we as forgiven members of Christ’s Church help our churches become safe places where people can take off their Masks, be honest about wrestling with sin, repent, and rejoice in Christ’s forgiveness?
    I know confirmed youth who have left our churches because of the Masks they were expected to wear and the image they were to present which denied the reality of what was going on. I pray they have not turned their backs on God as well. They have found acceptance and support among friends who are not Christian. I claim Jesus promise to seek out these lost sheep until they are found and returned to the fold. How can we be His helpers? How do we reach them?

    • Kathy,
      First things first. Your passion comes through strong, and with it, the call God has on your life. That’s where it all starts.
      I am most released to be real, when those around me speak of the true, tender places–places where they have failed, fallen short and are wrestling.
      It’s an important starting point, when I am real and vulnerable with others. Small groups is another place where God can do a powerful work. When I lead a small group or a lead a retreat of small groups, “safe place – real place” is a part of the ground rules. We speak of “taking off the masks.” It opens doors for the Spirit to work.

      The kids. Oh boy, this is where the rubber hits the road. Share the pain you feel with other adults. Share your passion. Pray. PRAY! Do you already know some of these kids? If you do – call them up and take them out for ice-cream or coffee or dinner for the sole purpose to listen. Tell me about your experience with our church. What’s your earliest memory. What’s the best? What’s frustrating. etc. Then share your story. What’s your earliest memory? The best? The most frustrating. Tell them your goal is not to “get them back to church” but to let them know that someone cares. Ask what you can be praying for, for them. If it works, pray for them there. Otherwise, send them a note a week later to let them know you’re thinking about them…praying. A few weeks later, call again and see if you can take them out. That care, support, listening ear with no agenda to “get them back to church” – with speak volumes and will soften and prepare their hearts for what God has planned for their future. That’s my heart. My 2 cents. Is is realistic? I don’t know. What do you think? What is God laying on your heart. I’m praying for you and your passion because an army of us need to rise up. Our marching orders are so clear cut…to love the lost, last, least and lonely. These adjectives need to be attached to a real-live person. a face. A life. Who are we loving who is lost? Least and last? Lonely? I’m asking this of myself. Name. Face. Real, live, on-going interaction. May we run His race in His strength!

      • This is great, Brenda. I took the grand kids out and we spent a couple of hours just sitting at the drive in. They kept talking about “remember when…?” I loved it. Loved the laughter. It was an open door. That’s all we look for…an open door.

          • No, I didn’t. The kids got in trouble because I had taken them out, so it kind of ruined the day. It was fun while it lasted. I brought in food another day. That was fun.

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