Friday, November 4, 2011


Jane Seymore's art design of open hearts
Today I'm opening my heart to you on a personal issue.  It's not that I need to have a true confessional moment so much as this fits my original purpose for blogging.

When I started writing I threw open the curtains to my life for several reasons:

  • to preserve our family history and anecdotes
  • to encourage others, often through humor or word plays
  • to give glimpses of my spiritual journey, both successes and failures
Today that 3rd purpose reveals both a struggle and a gain in my own life.  It's embarrassing to share your weaknesses.  I'm part of a ladies' Bible study in which we do this weekly and find true bridges into each others' lives.  Raw honesty.  Being real. In a safe place.

This blog's had over 24,000 readers most of whom I'll never meet.  Safe place?  Maybe not.  But the value of my lesson is too important not to share.  Maybe it will help someone else.

But HOW?
I have a critical nature.  It doesn't always show but is often in my thinking.  I complain in my head a lot--against myself, others, a situation.  The targets are many.  Controlling those thoughts is vital to a happy life.  It's also very difficult. But I stumbled onto a simple solution.  It's working for me right now.

Soon as that first negative thought pops into my brain and I recognize it as a criticism, I shoot up an emergency silent prayer, "Lord, reset my sails."  

He does!

Before this, my pattern would be one critical thought linking to another and another so that within minutes I'd have an iron chain necklace of negative thoughts weighing me down. Mind you I may not have voiced a one out loud.  Yet. But my inner spirit stank! And sank!  Anyone relate?                                                                                                              

That little phrase, resetting my sails, came to me through a quote years ago.   

"A ship hauled into drydock for repairs can sail further and faster than ever.  Resetting the sails takes time but is necessary for navigation."

A little research into the phrase produced:
Abstract: An improved sail restraint for Migler's vertical axis wind turbine in which excessive wind speed automatically causes the sails to be feathered, protecting them from wind damage, and, when the wind speed is reduced to an allowable level, the improved sail restraint automatically allows the sails to be reset to their nonfeathered, working position.
OK.  What that means is. . .I have no idea.  TOO abstract for me! So a bit more research shed the layman light I needed:

 metaphor. The author is saying that we have to find out our real core values and then we can find ways to lead a fulfilled life, included finding out which career to follow or which activities to choose for our free time.
Then he goes:

"...first we choose to become value-driven and then zero-in on those values, which in turn can guide us to reset the sails of our lifeboat".

Lifeboat!  I get that metaphor. My complaining, critical thoughts could sink my lifeboat quickly when negative thinking spiraled down like an anchor.  For years I've prayed about this problem during my devotions.  

But recently I found a working application of that quote. I ask the Lord to show me the very second my thinking is wrong.  He does.  And I respond in that moment, "Lord, reset my sails."

You blew it again, Kathy!  Lord, reset my sails.
She hurt my feelings.       Lord, reset my sails.
Idiot driver!                     Lord, reset my sails.
Those kids are wild. . .  
  why don't parents discipline?  Lord, rest my sails.

For me, this was bringing every thought into captivity.  His captivity, not mine.  Like a squished spider, the thought stopped.  He replaced it immediately with good, true, pure thoughts.  My weakness became a canvas for His strength.  

Simple?  Yes.  It's my Bread crumb on life's journey and I share it with you.  In the parables of the lost coin, the lost sheep and the prodigal son, the one who found the treasure shared the news.  Why?  Because good news about a good God is for everyone.  

Maybe resetting your sails is a tool you need too!

On a lighter note I posted an extra Halloween blog below this week.  Enjoy!


  1. Thanks Kathy! I'll give this a try. Especially in San Diego traffic.

    John Smith

  2. Thanks Kathy: I often resorted to feeling the same way because many times in my youth and even til this day, people "use and abuse" me as another good friend told me. I am trying so hard to correct any wrong that I may have said, or done in the past and I like your prayer, reset my sail. One friend told me when I think I'm critical of others, its actually my insecurity I'm criticizing. Thanks for your site. I find it encouraging.

  3. Yikes! I sure needed this in a bad way this week! Thank you!! Hugs!