The importance of the anchor chain

A friend and I were talking about the anchors in our lives recently, the elements that ground us and give us purpose.

Most of us would probably agree our personal anchors are God, spouse, children, family and job. When we’re looking for a purpose or a motivation behind something, we go back to those basic components of our life to keep us focused.

Wikipedia defines anchor as: “a device, normally made of metal, that is used to connect  a vessel to the bed of a body of water to prevent the vessel from drifting due to wind or current.”

Ships use anchors for stability in foreign ports–or so I always thought. But my sailor husband explained that it’s not the anchor that holds a ship in place, it’s the heavy cable that attaches the anchor to the ship that makes all the difference.

“A rule of thumb says you need five to ten times as much chain as the depth of water. The deeper the water, the more chain you’d better have because the anchor won’t hold if you don’t have enough chain,” he said. In reality, it’s the weight of the chain that keeps the anchor from slipping.

And of course everyone understands what happens when the chain links are weak or when they break.

That turned the “anchor of my life,” analogy upside down. Surely, it’s the love of God and for my family that motivates me when life’s storms blow up or I find myself in an unusual position.

Or is it?

Is it the fact of them, or the relationship I’ve constructed with them? Isn’t it the conversation, the life together, the shared experiences, that really connect me to God and my family?

Fact is, I know all sorts of people. What makes one person more important than any of the other six billion people on the planet, however, is my relationship with them and theirs with me. The deeper, the stronger, the sturdier, the more interlocking my life with a person, the more I’m anchored to them.

That’s important in a family, but even more important with God. The better I know God–from reading the Bible, pondering what it says, praying to God and seeking His will–the more connected I feel to Him and the less likely I am to wander away.

It’s not enough to know the fact of my God, the fact of my husband or my family. I have to genuinely know them to be anchored to life.

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