Cruise Control by Karen Lembo

Last summer we celebrated our twentieth anniversary and our oldest daughter’s graduation with a special vacation—our first cruise. The thing I enjoyed most was just sitting on our balcony staring at the blue water passing by. It was so great to disconnect from the computers and cell phones and end-of-the-school year chaos. Actually, I had to force myself to just sit–I’d become so accustomed to multitasking and flitting here and there. But once I got the hang of it, it was like a little taste of heaven–and made it that much harder to come home!

As I watched the blue water drift by my balcony, I lamented the fading days of our vacation and tried to imagine how I could keep the peaceful feeling of the cruise alive during the hectic days of my “real life” just ahead. From my balcony, I could see into the Bridge and I could sort of make out some of the screens and radar from my limited vantage point. Then it hit me: I realized that at no point during our entire voyage did I even remotely consider going up to the Bridge and taking command of the ship. It sounds silly, doesn’t it? There is absolutely no way I would even begin to know how to steer that ship home! I could see how huge and complex a task that would be. Instead, I just sat back in my deck chair, relaxed, and enjoyed the ride.

Why do I insist on steering my own ship? Why do I suffer the stress and anxiety associated with a task too monumentally complex for my limited abilities? Granted, I can’t just put my feet up and float through life. Like my friend said the other day, sometimes it seems life is like drinking from a garden hose–it just keeps coming whether you want it to or not! But on the other hand, do I create stress and anxiety by worrying about things I can’t control? Jesus said, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:27) My mind is so often overloaded with information, I can’t seem to stop thinking, can’t stop juggling my ever-increasing “do list.” Is this how God wants me to live? I think not. It was, and still is, time to surrender the controls.

God loves me. He has great blessings in store for my life if I but trust Him to command my ship and carry my burdens. Yes, sometimes He may lead me through suffering to get where I need to go, but I needn’t worry when I understand the outcome of that suffering will still be my gain. In a way, I can relax and put my feet up and enjoy the ride. Yes, I will have to work, but I won’t have to worry. I won’t exhaust myself trying to handle things that are out of my control. This is what it means to trust God. This is what it means to live the abundant life He has promised all of His children. This is what it means to rest in the Lord.

So, want to join me? Here’s a suggestion: let’s plan time to just sit a while with our feet up at least once a day this week and let’s plan not to feel guilty about it. Then let’s plan to worship God by praying, singing a praise song, reading a psalm or writing one in our journals. Let’s thank Him for being the Captain of our ship, and let’s take time to simply relax in His love. Ah, I can just smell that sea air…

Dear Lord, I invite You to keep the controls of my ship. I believe You are the only One capable of navigating this life and getting me where I need to go. Please help me learn to surrender my control to You and please help me learn to relax without feeling guilty. Lord, thank you for this wonderful life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Cruise Ship Photo Courtesy of Liz Bogus

Karen Lembo is on a mission to help others “live above the laundry pile” by sharing the biblical insights and helpful advice that God has revealed among the dirty socks. Karen currently resides in Salisbury, MD with her husband Art, and their three children, Emily, Arthur, and Katie. Learn more about Karen and read her blog, “Living Above the Laundry Pile,” at

Pirate Preacher

The Pirate Preacher is the Communications Director at Christ' Church at Moore Square. On Monday nights he leads a "Jesus Study" in Moore Square. Each Sunday between 12:30 and 2:00 the Pirate Preacher and others, gather in the park to hand out food, water, and other items that add to the abundant life Jesus promised. He's also is an award-winning author of middle-grade, YA, and adult fiction and a writing coach and instructor.

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