Take Time to Steady the Ship

Take Time to Steady the Ship

You’ve been through a storm, and there has been major upheaval. Please, take time to steady the ship and restore direction. 


It was a wild and unsettled time in my life. It was like my little life boat had run into a big storm and I had held on for dear life.

The storm was over, but now it was a time when I had to ‘steady the ship’.

What does it mean to steady the ship?

I suppose it means to get the ship back in control.

I can imagine a captain of a boat going through the process of stabilising the boat.

Seeing if there is any serious damage.

  • Has anyone been washed overboard?
  • Is the cargo secure?
  • Are the engines working?
  • Are the sails intact?
  • Are there any holes bringing in water?

Then perhaps, after the security of the ship has been established, other questions are asked.

  • What’s the compass saying?
  • What is the new position of the ship on the ocean?
  • Are there other storms on the horizon that need to be prepared for?

Is it time to steady the ship?

Some people, I have found, seem to live in a perpetual storm, or that’s how it seems.

They always have a drama happening and if they don’t, then wait a few days and one will soon appear.

It’s like they can’t handle boredom. If they aren’t in a storm, then they’re more than likely to create one or find one they can join in on.

Then they want someone to steady the ship, but all along they are rocking the boat and creating waves.

‘Sit down’! (you’re rocking the boat)

I shout, encourage and plead.

‘Let’s steady the ship’

Then they look at me kind of strange, and with quietness, they sit, focus and find a new sense of calm.

He steadied the ship

I think of the times when Jesus steadied the ship of his followers.

That day when evening came, he said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.”

Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him. 

A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.

Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. Mark 4:35-39

There are other times when he entered their ‘boat’ and said, “Quiet! Be still!”

There was the time Jesus, post resurrection, walked alongside some followers as they travelled home from Jerusalem Luke 24:13-35.

The next story in this passage is where Jesus enters a locked room and steady’s the ship.

Then the two from Emmaus told their story of how Jesus had appeared to them as they were walking along the road, and how they had recognized him as he was breaking the bread. 
And just as they were telling about it, Jesus himself was suddenly standing there among them. “Peace be with you,” he said.
Luke 24:35-36

‘Peace be with you.’

‘Quiet. Be still.’ 

I want you to imagine Jesus stepping into your boat, coming alongside your stumbling walk, or entering an inner room of your life locked away from others and speaking presence and peace.

That’s the offer of Spirit (Holy).

I will ask the Father and he will give you another Comforter, and he will never leave you. John 14:15

Restoration of the simple and safe

It’s not doing the complex. It’s not doing the extreme.

No sudden movements or rash undertakings. No rocking the boat.

It’s doing a few things well. Making the habits of your day the rhythms and rhymes of your journey.

Looking at the basics of life – food, sleep, exercise, being quiet, resting.

Then, like a wise ship’s captain, look at what has happened and where you are now. You think about where you want to go for the next day (not the next year).

It’s doing the simple and safe. Out of this grows a confidence to chart into the future.

About Cricket

To the game of cricket.

Here in New Zealand, we have adopted the phrase ‘steady the ship’ as metaphor into the game of cricket.

If the team that is batting loses a number of batters very quickly, often the commentators will say that it’s time to steady the ship. To bring the game back under control, steady things up, and get it back on track.

Read more about how one of our famous cricketers, Kane Williamson, did this. Steady the Ship.


You’ve taken some blows, you’ve been through a storm, and life is a mess. It’s a time to steady the ship.


Quotes to consider

  • The pain of something old falling apart—disruption and chaos—invites the soul to listen at a deeper level. It invites and sometimes forces the soul to go to a new place because the old place is not working anymore. Richard Rohr 
  • You learn to be calmer or more compassionate the same way you learn anything else: through repeated practice. Rick Hanson
  • A good journey begins with knowing where we are and being willing to go somewhere else. Richard Rohr
  • To destroy abuses is not sufficient; customs must be modified. The mill is there no longer; the wind is still there.” Victor Hugo Les Misérables
  • A good journey begins with knowing where we are and being willing to go somewhere else. Richard Rohr
  • The great traditions always call people on a journey of faith to keep changing. There’s no other way this human personality can open up to all that God is asking of us. Richard Rohr

Questions to answer

  1. Have you ever had a time when you needed to ‘steady the ship’ as such? What did you learn?
  2. What would be the essentials to check first in steadying the ship?
  3. Who would help you steady your ship?

Formation Exercise

  • Imagine yourself in boat in a storm and Jesus enters your boat and says ‘Peace, be still.’ Or imagine yourself as one of those early followers of Jesus with their whole world turned upside down. Jesus enters the room and says ‘Peace be with you’. What would be your response to him?

Further Reading

Preparing your Shelter from the Storm

What’s in Your Emergency Mental Health Grab Bag

How to Develop a Compass for the Brain

Barry Pearman

Photo by Rafael Garcin on Unsplash


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