Straight from Wikipedia so take this for what's it worth: "The phrase "anchors aweigh" is a report that the anchors are clear of the sea bottom and, therefore, the ship is officially under way. "Anchors aweigh" is often misspelled as "Anchor's away," leading to confusion of the terms and the misunderstanding that it means "to drop anchor."
I'll admit that I was unaware of the different spellings of this phrase and I was certainly more than unaware that "anchors aweigh" meant that an anchor was free of the sea bottom. I, perhaps alone was still saying "anchors away" thinking that it meant, "drop the anchor". Regardless of the spellings or the meanings my thought for today is still the same and both actually apply quite nicely to what I sense God has been speaking to me over the last few days.
If you've followed along in my journey for any length of time then you know that I'm a planner. My days, weeks and months are largely driven and mapped out according to a specific calendar of events and an even more specific to-do list for that particular day. To make it more manageable I've actually broken my rather lengthy to-do list down into four separate to-do lists based on the nature of the tasks and with regard to the specific event. Within some of those to-do list, dates are assigned to allow for a quick glance at what needs to be priority for a given day, week or season.
In addition to my multiple to-do lists is a calendar that is pretty packed with staff meetings, pre-marital counseling sessions, student ministry events, young adult events, larger church events, planning meetings for several different organizations I work with, my son's sporting events and concerts, meetings with students and volunteers, weddings, funerals, various writing deadlines and of course the all important reminder of when my library books are due back...come on, I'm not a monster.
I don't take advantage of it as much as I'd like, but one of my favorite times of the day are those quiet moments in my house, well before dawn, before anyone else is active. The house is still, a few birds can be heard chirping outside in anticipation of the soon to be rising sun and I'm left to my own thoughts. A few days ago I found myself in that moment running through the list of to-do's, upcoming calendar and schedule of my life over those next few days. Anxiety crept in pretty quickly. I became overwhelmed with thoughts of how all of this stuff was going to get done. Too many meetings, too many items on the to-do list, too many commitments.
Suddenly an image began to emerge in my thoughts. The image that God kept running through my mind in those moments was one of a boat being tossed around by the waves. The waves were made up of my calendar and to-do lists. I was experiencing the same feeling I get when I spend a day in the actual ocean, swimming and repeatedly being pounded by the waves, feeling my body being pulled to and fro by the power of the constant current. I felt like I was being managed by what I was supposed to be managing.
In my mind's eye an anchor appeared. The anchor dropped from my tiny boat into the massive waves and suddenly I was stilled. I was all at once reminded that God desires to serve as that anchor for my life. The long list of to-do's, the endless meetings, the teachings, the counseling appointments, the face to face time with people, all of it was only serving to throw me around unless I was anchored to something or rather someone, who was the very definition of stability, peace and surety.
I quickly searched the internet for a list of Scriptures having to do with God as our anchor and foundation and began reading through verses like...
You will keep in perfect peace
all who trust in you,
all whose thoughts are fixed on you! - Isaiah 26:3
Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem,
a firm and tested stone.
It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on.
Whoever believes need never be shaken. - Isaiah 28:16
In that day he will be your sure foundation,
providing a rich store of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge.
The fear of the Lord will be your treasure. - Isaiah 33:6
My busiest days and seasons, my most effective and efficient days when I crank out the most activity are all worthless without me starting that day by connecting and committing myself to the Source of Stability. When I fail to make this connection, when I fail to drop anchor and ensure that I'm first connected and grounded in what God has for me I run the risk of allowing all of my meetings, to-do's, appointments and interactions to become nothing more than checking off boxes.
Our anxiety and feelings of being overwhelmed are sourced not in the hectic pace of our lives, they are sourced in our failed connection to the Source of our stability. Get connected. Drop anchor. Be encouraged and keep moving forward. -Andy