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Living With Direction And Overcoming A Rudderless Existence

Updated on July 24, 2017

God created each one of us to live with purpose and destiny coursing through our veins. It is for this reason that when we resort to living life in a rudderless way, we know that we are not living to our full capacity. Don’t settle for a rudderless existence, pursue a purpose and fulfill a destiny.


A rudder is a device that is used to determine direction. It is used on ships. It is a vertical blade at the stern of a vessel that can be turned to change the vessel's direction when in motion. It is also used on aircraft.

It is a movable control surface attached to a vertical stabilizer, located at the rear of an airplane and used, along with the ailerons, to turn the airplane while in motion. In proportion to the size of the ship or the aircraft, a rudder is a very small device that makes a HUGE difference. A rudder, for the purpose of this discussion, is any means of directing or guiding a course.


To be rudderless is to have no rudder. When we speak about being rudderless it means we are lacking in direction, control, or coherence.

For example, we speak about the confused and rudderless markets. What we mean is that the markets are going no-where. It means we are aimlessly drifting, adrift, afloat, directionless, planless or undirected. It also means we are purposeless - not evidencing any purpose or goal. This is no way to live, and yet some people will spend their entire lives aimlessly wondering along.

Recently I heard someone speaking about my home country and they spoke of their concern that the country was rudderless. Even the world and the countries of the world seem to be operating like this these days. There is a lack of leadership and direction worldwide.

You and I should determine that we will not live like that, even if it is the prevailing pattern.

Rudderless ships get wrecked and rudderless planes always crash.

The same is true in other situations: rudderless countries go into decline and rudderless individuals end up frustrated.


A rudder only has an effect when we use it.

James 3:4 Take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.

A rudder uses the prevailing circumstances to change the direction or course of things.

A rudder allows for a change in direction while in motion. We all need a rudder but it is more important and we get moving!


Anyone who has sailed knows that without forward motion, the rudder cannot steer the boat. For a rudder to work, it needs some existing forward movement. Albert Einstein, “Life is like a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

So the first step to living with direction is to get moving where we are and that will enable us to overcome a rudderless existence.

Take what you do seriously; give it your best shot. Be the best at what you do and do it with all your heart. Get motivated, get professional, get productive, get momentum and get busy. Then with the advantage of movement your will be able to steer things into a direction. When you stop being ‘on the move’ things will slow down and setting a new direction becomes impossible. Without the movement, nothing will change.


1. Apathy: Lack of interest or concern, especially regarding matters of general importance or appeal; indifference. Lack of emotion or feeling; impassiveness. The opposite is enthusiasm. The original word for apathy is ‘without feeling’.

2. A ‘whatever’ attitude! The opposite is a ‘it matters’ attitude.

3. Laziness: Resistant to work or exertion; pre-disposed to idleness. The opposite is diligence.

4. Discouragement: Having no confidence, hope or spirit. The opposite is to be encouraged.

5. Indecision: Reluctance or an inability to make up one's mind. The opposite is decisive.

6. Fear: A feeling of anxiety caused by the presence or perception of danger. The opposite is to be bold and courageous.


I have come to the conclusion that there is no such a thing as ‘a small thing’. Everything matters.

James 3:3 We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth.

Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Take one step at a time, but make sure you take the step. As a young man I used to enjoy windsurfing. It was a popular sport some years ago. I had to learn to constantly adjust my sail and read the changing wind patterns and then use these elements to make progress. It was these constant small and seemingly insignificant adjustments that made the sport a possibility and a delight. If I just sat down on my board and did nothing, I would end up exactly where I did not want to be, nowhere.

My brother is a commercial pilot and I discussed this matter of the rudder with him. He mentioned that a rudder only useful when in motion. BUT once an aircraft was at cruising speed you only make incremental adjustments. If you tried to make major adjustments, you would damage the plane. So you make use of small changes to bring you to your destination.

Often, it’s those small seemingly insignificant adjustments that make the difference between success and failure.

Are there any small changes that you need to make today? It could be an attitude adjustment, or a choice or a quality decision. Use the prevailing conditions to navigate your way towards your goal.

Perhaps God has been speaking to you lately? Have you obeyed, or did it seem like something insignificant that you perhaps did not respond to His prompting? Small things matter.


Our words have creative ability. Speak life over yourself.

James 3:5 In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.

Trust God to lead you and trust Him to give you direction. Then start taking the little steps and keep moving. Be patient, it takes a while to re-direct a big ship!


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