In the 18th century, maritime ships would find themselves sitting with windless sails. In a region near the equator, sailing ships would be moving along with their sails taking full advantage of the winds when, without warning, the sails would suddenly fall limp. At other times, sudden squaws would erupt with thunderstorms and hurricanes. This phenomenon became known as the “doldrums”. The word doldrums comes from “dold” meaning “stupid”, and “rums” meaning “tantrum”. So sailors would sail themselves into an area where the weather was having a “stupid tantrum”.
Sometimes life is like that and we run into stupid tantrums, or the doldrums of life. We are just sailing along making good time when everything seems to fall flat, be listless, with the onset of a low-pressure system, and we are left wondering why our lives are having a stupid tantrum. However, at times, life throws squalls at us, blowing storms and hurricanes our way. How does one handle a life that is acting out, throwing stupid tantrums? It is not like you can spank your life, send it to its room, ground it, or take something away to punish it.
Now I have been thinking “How does one get into the doldrums, or in a stupid tantrum?”. Well, in nature it occurs when conditions are just right to create a windless environment, forcing a ship to sit still which then creates a mood of depression among the sailors. In such harsh conditions, squalls erupt without warning as well. In that time period they did not have the knowledge to avoid such areas. We too enter into the doldrums of life when the conditions are just right to create a listless, depressed time. It could be the loss of a job, a relationship, our health, or of direction, which causes us to drift or tosses us around a bit. “Let’s get going” becomes the cry or “Please life, stop having a stupid tantrum”.
Perhaps sometimes we create our own stupid tantrum and our life does need a spanking, needs something taken away, needs to be sent to its room, or needs us to repair something that is broken that is causing the squall or listless time. What are we to do or not do? In either case, whether our own fault or not, something must be done. The question is “where do we want to go”? The sailors had a destination, a place to which they were headed, cargo to deliver, a mission to complete, and their lives depended on success.
Getting out of the doldrums, or life’s stupid tantrums, means the compass must always be pointed toward God. Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to guide Holy men of God to write a plan for the doldrums, those stupid tantrums of life. God says I have a plan. In 1 Corinthians 10:13 we read an encouraging statement.
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
Trusting in this scripture can lead us out of some doldrums. A prayer to the Lord asking to provide a way of escape is something we must do at times. However, we need to actually take advantage of the escape route when it is presented.
The Lord also wants us to take a hard look at ourselves as well. Is Christ really in me? Do I really understand the mission He has for me? Have I been in the doldrums so long that I have forgotten who I am in Christ Jesus.
2 Cor. 13:5 “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!”
Who I am I? Good question! The scriptures tells me exactly who I am. Could knowing who you really are help a person get through unexpected squalls and windless days of life: Those stupid tantrums of life.
You, and I, are persons of worth. John 3:16 proves this. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
We must be of great value to God for His Son, Jesus the Christ, to come and become a human being, sent by His Father, to save you and me. Those that believe in Him and follow Him have a plan, a destination, and a mission in life. When we enter the doldrums of life, our identity in Christ Jesus becomes wind for our sails and the calming influence we need. Who are we then?
John 1:12 I am God’s child.
John 15:15 As a disciple, I am a friend of Jesus Christ
Ephesians 1:3-8 I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child.
Ephesians 2:10 I am God’s workmanship.
People have one thing in common. We all have stupid tantrums at some time in our lives or sail into the doldrums, and Christ is there for us. Perhaps you are in the doldrums right now and are experiencing a dull windless time where you feel you are going nowhere, or a squall has kicked up giving you trouble. The Lord wants you to know that you are not alone. If you are not a child of God, a Christian, God wants to get you going in the right direction. Trust Him to lead you out.