I like finding quotes that seem to naturally go together, even if it takes a little thought to make the connection. Today’s quotes come from wildly different sources, but just seemed to make sense to me when put together.
“I’m not afraid of storms, for I’m learning how to sail my ship.” – Louisa May Alcott
I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. – Nelson Mandela
As we sail through life we my encounter many storms, some much scarier than others. Fear is a natural reaction for many, especially to a storm that we have not encountered before. When we are young every storm is a crisis; however, as we grow older, whether we realize it or not, we become less fearful of new storms, because they usually have aspects that we have encountered and weathered before – we have learned how to sail our ships through them. Perhaps that is the secret to conquering fears that Mandela was referring to in his quote.
Fears of things unknown may involve a fear of “looking stupid” or just a fear of failing at something. Many times, it involves the fear of what others may think of us if we do, or don’t do, something, or fail at it. Sometimes we fear rejection and the humiliation of being turned down. Really big fears usually boil down to fear of suffering pain or death if one fails. In almost every case, we let our imaginations run wild with improbable scenarios of the consequences of failure.
Real ships are sailed using a ship’s compass as the primary way to navigate through the gloom of night and through storms. In life we need and depend upon a moral compass to get us through dark times and crisis. Real sea captains always check and reset their compass’s before setting out to sea. We can check and reset our moral compasses before setting out each day by taking a moment to reconnect with God through prayer. Perhaps you know that this will be a rough day, at work or for personal reasons. Ask God for a little extra help and guidance to get your through this storm. Let God be your compass as you learn to sail your ship.
Once we get through whatever the event was that we feared, we can look back at the course that we steered and see where we might have taken a different tack and sailed through the event better. We are learning to sail our ship with God as our compass. The longer we live and learn and the more we put our trust in God as our compass, the better that we get at it, until we can state as William Ernest Henley did – “I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.”
Set sail today with God as your compass. You can overcome your fears by taking your directions from God. Be not afraid…learn to sail your ship.