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How to Build a Boat to Handle Life’s Storms

The storms of life can be plentiful and scary, but when we build a strong boat, even the biggest storms become easier to handle.

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One summer day at a beach in the Puget Sound, two of my brothers and I decided to build a makeshift boat. We borrowed some rope and lashed together some logs—the perfect boat for exploring the surrounding area. However, we quickly ran into trouble: we had no way of steering or moving the boat, which meant that the current was slowly moving us toward the ocean beyond the inlet. Eventually, we had to get off and swim for the shore, reluctantly abandoning our little boat that was certainly doomed for failure on the ocean waves. 

Unlike our log boat, other ships voyage on the ocean with little fear of sinking, thanks to modern engineering. Even when there are huge waves and howling winds, the sailors on those ships come home safely. In our daily lives, the way we experience challenges is largely affected by our boat.

So how can we build a metaphorical boat that won’t sink when things get scary? In the BYU devotional “Six Ways to Be a Better Boat Builder,” Christopher A. Mattson explains that our boat is anything that affects our life journey, including “our individual character, attitude, resiliency, priorities, talents, and habits.” To build a stronger boat, we can focus on improving these areas of our lives by using spiritual principles, like prayer and scripture study, to shore up weaknesses.

In the case of the logs my brothers and I lashed together, our boat was poorly thought-out, badly balanced, and completely susceptible to the whims of the waves. In the same way, I’ve had attitudes and habits in the past that made me susceptible to the waves of life, unable to move in any given direction without a great deal of difficulty. In order to improve my metaphorical boat in those situations, I had to rely on the Lord to guide me, study the scriptures to increase my spiritual momentum, and repent to correct areas of my life that needed more balance. 

We all could use a better boat—better attitudes, extra resiliency, stronger character, more positive habits. With the Lord’s help, we can improve each of these areas of our lives so that we can thrive even when things are hard.

Source: BYU Speeches

—Susanna Bergeson, Latter-day Saint Insights


Find more insights

Read more about the importance of our metaphorical boats in M. Russell Ballard’s talk, “Stay in the Boat and Hold On!

Take a look at Emma Franklin’s Latter-day Saint Insights article on working with others in our boats: “How to Find Our Swing to Increase Unity.

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