Christian insprirational

Got Vasa?

“That is just ridiculous. What an idiotic thing to do,” the tall man, standing next to me, muttered to his companion. He was referring to the construction of a ship called Vasa (pronounced Va:sa, with accent on last syllable). It is housed in the Vasa Museum in the Royal National City Park in Stockholm, Sweden that my husband and I visited last year.

Our guide, as we toured the museum, told us Vasa is the legendary ship built by the King of Sweden in 1626-1627. It was commissioned as a symbol of the King’s military ambition and designed to be a powerful war vessel armed with tons of bronze cannons. The Swedish King, Gustavus Adolphus, used the majority of the country’s resources to establish a powerful military presence in his campaign to occupy countries in the Baltics and defeat Poland-Lithuania during a conflict he initiated in 1621.

Formidable as she was, and no doubt ready to prove her superiority in battle, Vasa was unable to make it farther than 1,400 yards out of the harbor on her maiden voyage in August, 1628. Due to instability caused by unbalanced weight from heavy battle equipment in the upper portion of her hull, she sank moments after leaving port. Despite warnings, the King proceeded with the launch that resulted in destruction of the vessel and loss of lives. The ship was salvaged and restored as closely as possible to original form in 1961. Today it sits in a museum designed to house this piece of Swedish history.

When we returned to the U.S., I thought little about this story, and what it said about personal choices, until recent months that is. As things in our country/world have escalated in violence, division, uncertainty and fear, I have felt increasingly more combative as a means to take control of the uncontrollable events around me. Then one day while looking at pictures from our trip, I found the photos of this ill-fated vessel. In my quiet time with God, I began to reflect on Vasa, what made her unsuccessful at her mission and what lessons could be learned from her.

God called me to start noticing how I proceed with each day and to answer the following questions. Do I pour my mental and spiritual resources into being better than or more powerful and dominant in my encounters with others (including on social media)? Do I arm myself with the heavy battle equipment of judgement as I venture into the sea of other humans who may also be feeling the sting of division, uncertainty and fear? Do I have need to engage in struggles while thinking there are only two sides and mine is the right side? Do I sometimes ignore the warnings of God’s teachings and my wiser friends when I am about to embark upon a course that can possibly lead to the destruction of a relationship or distance me from the Holy Spirit?

Sadly, I must confess that on some days, if I’m being honest, I have to answer guilty to all of the above. But being aware of these characteristics has brought me into a new realization about choosing courses of action. I can set my face toward battle as a primary function of my day. Or I can hand off my cannons, my illusion of mighty control and my need to be right, to the One who fights my battles for me.

As Keith and I have traveled this world, learned from her people, listened to the stories and histories of others, I am enriched by what God teaches if I will first take a seat in His classroom. I don’t believe He sends lessons to shame or blame. I believe He wants me to release the burdens that can keep me from doing the work He has assigned for me. In this case I’m grateful for the lessons of a ship built centuries ago.

After all we have endured in the first half of 2020, recently I’ve begun to wake up each day, look in the mirror and ask, “Got Vasa today? Or is there another way to sail the seas of uncertainty, division and sometimes fear?” It really is a personal choice. I know I can’t do this by my own power. Trying to do so adds frustration to the complicated mix of things I don’t want in my life. I’ve found it’s simply about being willing to ask for help in releasing those heavy cannons designed for battle and destruction that keep me from enjoying smooth sailing.

Connect with me, Laura Padgett, on Twitter @lauraleepadgett or my Facebook Author Page

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6 thoughts on “Got Vasa?”

  1. Your email could not have come at a better time as I decided to back away from facebook. I found it difficult to just pass by things written when things were being written about how our country has gotten to this horrible place. I am backing away from watching the news as well which is a bit harder to do because me husband is a news junkie. I try to busy myself with other things when it is on, but he likes to discuss the news with me. I tell him how upsetting it is to me and he backs off a bit. I had quite a talk with God the other day which prompted my decision to back away from facebook and other things that were not making me happy. He is in charge and I know he is always right there for me to talk to him whenever I need him which has been more frequent in the past several months. I am beginning to do other projects to keep my mind off the status of our country. There is nothing I can do about the current things happening so the less I think about it by doing other things to keep my mind busy then it is all the better. I was at the church this morning for a couple of hours and felt such a calmness being there which I have missed so much in the past several months.

    Thanks, Laura for “listening” and give my best regards to Keith. Blessings to both of you. Stay safe, stay well.

    Pat

    1. Pat. It means so much to me that you read these. I actually also have backed off. But you know what? I was one of the ones in there swinging and needing to take control (which of course we do not have, right?). But I just let my ego and my temper get the better of me some days. Well, I did until about two weeks ago when God sat me down and said, “Look little girl, I’ve given you the gifts of writing and speaking and so what is going on with this fighting and being right?” He wasn’t mean but He was firm. I realized I was wasting my time and His gifts by returning to the street fighter girl and trying to fix things my way. Oh brother. Anyway I learned that repentence is release and release is freedom. Woohoo. We are free indeed. So now I’m making fun FB live posts and talking about trying to do the best I can as a faulty human but returning to the One who loves, loves, loves us and only wants our best, always. Blessings right back at ya and Keith says Hi. We wish you a blessed fall and safe, healthy days ahead. Luv ya. Thanks again for reading this.

    1. Thanks Deb for reading this. In a day when so many are at each other’s throats with the goal to be right (mostly out of fear and defensiveness) God I believe is calling Christians to listen and learn and not always have to win. I want to do what He wants. And thanks so much for supporting this work. Blessings.

      laura

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