I Quit My Job Today...and what sailing taught me about Proverbs 16:9

I quit my job today. My day job, that is. Seriously. Put my 2-week notice in the old fashioned way.

Here’s the thing. I love my job. I love my bosses and I love my coworkers. I love the work I do, and I liked the future I had there. Did you see what changed at the end there? I liked the future, but I didn’t love it.

I’ve always read Proverbs 16:9 one single way.

In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps.

Proverbs 16:9

NIV

I say one single way because I don’t know that it’s right or wrong or that it can only be one thing at a time. I’ve always read it as:

Humans plan where they think they are going

BUT…

God directs where they really end up.

Maybe that’s the way it should be read. But the other day I was reading Proverbs 16:9 and it hit me in a new way…

Please let me explain with a short story.

Last summer my wife and I took a sailing trip on Lake Superior in Duluth.

We met a built, but lean, captain named Mark. His skin was leathered from the 30 years of sailing under the scorching sun. He was friendly and had a deep conviction for the planet. He explained everything he could about climate change, recycling, astronomy, and the sea. I gained a deep respect for Mark. He lived differently because he saw differently. He engaged in meaningful conversation and encouraged sailing into new waters.

 

During our trip, Mark explained that every few years he takes his family on their sailboat through the rivers and canals leaving Lake Superior to get to the east coast. From there they head down to Florida or the Caribbean. That amazed me.

We were on a huge boat and I had no idea you could sail this kind of vessel all the way to the coast. Mark explained that one of the most important parts of taking any trip is to plan your course. And the most important part of planning your course? Identifying where you are trying to end up...

From there you work backward and look at the day-to-day tides and currents from your destination back to your starting point. You check charts and reference guides from sailors who have gone before you. And lastly, you find the right time to leave. Not a time that’s convenient to leave, but a time that will give you the safest passage and help you arrive at the perfect time. And the cardinal rule? Commit to your destination but stay flexible in your approach.

Here’s why that story helped me see Proverbs 16:9 differently. I always looked at planning a course as the details of your trip, the day-to-day strategy. But that’s not the most important part. The most important part is the destination. Where are you planning to end up? I think the second half of that Proverb isn’t in conflict with the first. I think, maybe, we still get to reach the destination that we want to reach. Maybe it’s just saying, “be flexible on the day-to-day details.”

In other words-

Envision the big plan, but allow room for the little details to move or change. Don’t micromanage your life but also don’t drift through it without a destination in mind. Focus on the big and be faithful in the little.

 

So that’s what I’m doing. I knew that my day job wasn’t the destination. I would have loved to comfortably switch from my day job to managing THE/RISE full time. But that’s a day-to-day detail. I need to be faithful and show up in the day-to-day, but be flexible and trust that I’m headed to the destination that God has blessed. So here I am. It’s scary and exciting and nothing I could do on my own.

 

What course are you planning?

Do your actions map to your course? Are you heading in the right direction?

 

I’d love to hear in the comments below!