God has been showing me little sailboats everywhere for almost a week now. Each time I noticed a new one, I would smile, knowing it was a little wink from Heaven. On vacation, my family and I checked into where we were staying, and a picture on the wall had a sailboat with words printed over it reading:
“You can’t change the direction of the wind, but you can adjust your sails”
I got this image of people being still in the water, frustrated at their lack of motion. Ready to give up, they were trying everything with no success. Then, as they adjusted their sails in a new direction, they FOUND the direction the wind was blowing and began to become unstuck.
Adjust your sails! God then said “a rosy gust is coming”. “Rosy” seemed like a strange word, so I looked it up just to see the official definition. It can mean HEALTHY, YOUTHFUL, PROMISING, or HOPEFUL. A GUST of air or wind is a sudden uptake in wind speeds in a way that’s noticeably different.
There is a SHIFT coming that will be a noticeable INCREASE in HOPE and JOY, but to experience it will require us having our sails positioned to “catch” the wind of the Spirit.
Since we are going to be adjusting our spiritual sails, I started reading about sailing techniques. Here’s how we can adjust the positioning of our heart to be filled with new joy from the Lord:
1. Trim your sails! “Trimming” the sails keeps you upright and adjusts speed. Other sailing advice includes “reduce your drag”, and “carry and lightweight headsail”. There is a trimming, reducing, or lightening that will need to be done that will keep you from being improperly weighed down or slowed down. This will mean sometimes letting go of “good” things to pursue a more limited list of “God” things. God has specific things He wants you to put your time and energy towards in this season of shifting, so be prayerful and intentional about seeking Him on what stays and what needs to take a break during this season. It will be tempting to “do it all”, but if the Lord is calling you to trim what you’re keeping it could be to avoid a spiritual capsizing or slowing down.
2. “Even if you don’t have much wind, there is still a lot to learn.” This sentence caught my eye as I read about sailing. Preceding a gust is a lot of less-strong winds or even stillness. When there’s not a lot of movement happening, there is still much to on be prepared on a sailboat to be ready to catch the wind as it comes. If you’re in a slow season or waiting season, don’t assume it’s time to put on autopilot or do nothing. In fact, another sailing tip the Lord highlighted said “it’s very easy to overdo the rule of thumb that says ‘slacken everything’ in light winds.” DON’T slacken everything. Instead, ask God how you can be PREPARING. There’s purpose even in the stillness.
3. “On warm days with light winds, the wind will generally increase during the afternoon as the land heats up. Don’t rush breakfast – the sailing will almost always be better later on.” Don’t rush, get fed. There is a temptation to rush during this season, but I believe this sailboat season is BECAUSE it **must be God-powered instead of powered-through**. There is a pacing that is very important that God is doing in this season. It’s also important to not skip being fed. Take extra time to pull back and “feed” on the Word. It seems small, but without more recharge time, your extra work will feel like little more than spinning your wheels.
4. Be on “wind watch”! As I continued to read sailing tips, I came across this passage: “There will probably be a brief period of flat calm, but look out for puffy white cumulus clouds forming over the shore showing the beginning of the sea breeze circulation. The clouds will drift inland as the onshore sea breeze becomes established”. This reminded me so much of Elijah watching the skies and when a TINY cloud appeared he knew, by faith, something BIG was coming. In the calm, still keep watch. Look for little signs that your “gust” is coming. And be ready for when God calls you!
5. Don’t despise smallness. Small sailboats, as opposed to bigger vessels, are more responsive, easier to steer, and able to TEACH you more…whereas larger vessels are harder to learn on, have less responsive steering, and low maneuverability. Embrace the SMALL steps and ask the Lord “what is this teaching me to be able to steward more?”. God is moving in BIG ways in the small things- not just the large vessels!!
6. Transition can be chaotic. This sentence from sailing instructions reminds that “When the wind is up, the sails flap around and you may feel a moment of chaos before getting back in control.” If you feel like you’re floundering or life is chaotic, you are just in TRANSITION. Take a moment, receive peace, and continue to make your “adjustments”. It won’t be long before your sails are full, and you’re on your way!
Fill my sails with Your Holy Spirit. Show me what needs to be trimmed. Show me in what direction Your winds are blowing so that I can partner with You instead of working by my own power. Give me eyes to see Your joy around me and to glimpse Your coming gusts of hope. Teach me how to rest without losing my readiness. Sync me with Your pace and show me how to use even times of stillness and slowness for preparation. Help me to see with Your eyes the value even in the small things You have me doing. Give me peace in transition and hope for what’s to come. In Jesus’s precious name, Amen.