I think this term was used to describe a ship at sea.
Have you ever had to steady things up? Sometimes we start drifting into bad habits again and making poor choices. When a ship starts to list it begins leaning to one side or the other and there is great danger of it capsizing and sinking in the waters.
Is there something causing your ship to list? In Scripture the tongue is compared to the rudder of a ship. The rudder of a ship is very small in relation to the entire vessel yet it steers the ship and can turn it one way or the other. Words are so very powerful. They can be used to heal and build up or they can be used to express hateful, vile things meant to hurt. Out of the heart the mouth speaks.
The spoken word is like a spent arrow which can never be called back. There was a story about a woman who had gossiped and spread awful things about another woman in her Church. She found out that what she had spread was untrue and went to her pastor to ask him what she should do. He told her to take a feather pillow and walk around the town and scatter the feathers as she went. She did not understand why he was asking her to do this but she did it. She went back after completing the task and told the pastor she had done as he had said. He told her to now go back and gather the feathers back up again. She told him that was impossible they were gone and she could never do that. He said, "So it is with words. Once spoken they can never be recalled".
I imagine many of us have been on the receiving end of words meant to hurt. I know I have. I also carry regrets about things I have said. The opposite is also true. I have received compliments, encouragement, and support through the words of others. It helps keep my ship from listing. I want to do that for others as well.
We talk to ourselves more than we talk to anybody else. Let's use those words to guide our ship toward the safe harbor of reaching our own goals as we help others to do the same.