Tranquility in the Storm of Life

Today I read a blog of a lady whom I used to follow a few years ago. I stopped visiting her site because the two of us started heading in different directions spiritually. She’s a truly beautiful and talented writer and today’s post reminded me of that. I read the first part of her post and stopped. I loved her words so much and they reminded me of the same journey of surrender I’ve been on this last year. The one major difference between our journeys, though, is that Christ has been at the center of my experience. I’d like to take her eloquent words and add a few of my own here to capture how God has given me tranquility in the storm of life.

“Life has been taking me on a ride. Not the roller coaster variety where the twists and turns leave you nauseated and thrown around, clenching and screaming, wobbly legged and spinning when it’s over. So that’s good.

This is more of a balloon ride. Lifting off the earth, and back down again, but in a soft and fluid motion. Because this is what it’s like when you move with the Spirit of God. When you surrender.

I’ve had more peaks and valleys than I can count. More scenes to see that I can recall. There have been times when I thought for sure this one or that was It. It would be the one that popped our balloon or took us over the mountain or settled us back to the ground but each and every time the clouds would smile crookedly and the wind would chuckle and twist us ’round to a new direction, a whole new scene.

This has been God teaching me surrender, to trust Him.

Teaching me to loosen up my grasp and just allow myself to float, allow the dips and swings to realign me and shake me from my sentry post and just let go. Show me that there is no such thing as gravity when I’m not in a death grip with the thing trying to catapult me to the ground.

Soft and gentle. This is Surrender.

He takes my second guessing and my worry and my deeply seeded desire to navigate the winds, and He wraps a sense of peace around me. So that everything is still there, snugly wrapped as well; I’m just warmer and cushioned from the harshness of the wind.”

balloon

1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation (storm) has overtaken you except such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able; but with the temptation will also make a way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.

Your journey through life can be a roller coaster or a balloon ride. It is our decision and it is made by how we choose to respond to life’s challenges. For me I have always used the death grip method –grit your teeth, close your eyes and hold on tight until the ride is over and once it is pick the whole experience apart worrying and guessing if I did it right. Did I say the right thing, was it my fault it happened in the first place? What can I do to prevent this from ever happening again?

The death grip method is controlled by feelings and the balloon ride is controlled by Wisdom (Prov 2:6). My feelings see the storm developing ahead and it wants to back paddle and run far and as fast as I can away from the thing that is threatening me. Wisdom calms me saying that it’s safe to stay because He has promised to help me handle what’s in the storm.

When I’ve listened to Wisdom and chosen the balloon ride it still gets uncomfortable at times, atmospheric pressure rises, but if I turn my thoughts to Him He guides me to some deeper understanding of the situation, even as the storm is developing, and I am able to see from a different perspective. I’ll illustrate:

Damon is still looking for a job and the thought of leaving here looms like dark clouds on the horizon. I ask God for a different view.
I love the work I do, even though it frightens me at times, and my mind wants to explore the what-ifs so I can be prepared for the worst of what may come. Again I ask God for a different view.
I will focus on doing my best in the ministry God has given us and let Him worry about Damon’s next job.

The issue arose and my feelings tried to control my thought process. I keep asking God for a different view until my thoughts change. Sometimes I have to turn to scripture, a book,  a sermon, or lecture just to stop my mind from trying to board that roller coaster. If I allow it to progress it will overcast my whole day. But each day I surrender my feelings to His wisdom, I get lighter. The roller coaster rides become few and far between. Order and peace dwell in my home and laughter and love reign.

So quickly we forget the last storm and how God pulled us through. We’re tempted by thoughts from others that perhaps our course isn’t the right one. But I can look back and see how God has closed and opened doors for me to be right where I am. It was my plan to be in India and He said no you’re training will begin right here. This is step one, wait and I will show you step two. So relax, breathe, and trust I will reveal the next phase of My plan when the time comes.

Just because a job ends or things don’t go exactly as we had planned I choose to let go of the feeling that I must know the next step in advance. It’s a day by day, moment by moment surrender. All I can do is be faithful in the work we are given right here, right now. My dreamy side has spent far too long imagining out all the what-could-bes. Now I need to get busy and focus all my energy on being successful in the little things. Never mind the rain (or snow) falling all around me. There will be many more storms to come and as long as my ways are committed to Him these things need not be distractions. I believe this is that peace that the Bible speaks so often of. I’ve been searching for it my whole life and at long last I think I finally understand it. Now I just need to keep putting it into practice.

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