In the Storm, Batten Down the Hatches
When we’ve built our life on the solid rock of faith in Jesus Christ, we know we’re safe in the storm from total destruction. But what about storm damage? Houses can sustain leaky roofs and broken windows, even if they’re not blown away. Building codes in storm-prone areas often require stronger materials and shutters that can be closed during high winds. Just before a predicted hurricane, TV news is filled with images of preparations to secure homes and businesses in more dramatic ways, such as sandbagging and boarding up windows.
There are also strategies you can employ to prevent life-storm damage such as a hysterical meltdown or full-blown case of hot messiness. I needed to use them when my life felt like it was falling apart the other day. These simple items helped me calm down and gain better perspective. They filled me with peace that pushed away my anxiety. They will do the same for you.
5. Remember what you know. Remind yourself of the verses you’ve memorized. Maybe you’re even wearing one right now that you can read. Recall to mind biblical truths such as, “God is good all the time,” and pair it with Romans 8:28 and Jeremiah 29:11. Look for encouraging memes on the Facebook pages of sites such as Proverbs 31 Ministries or from friends who routinely post them. Carry a purse-sized devotional book for go-to help, or keep a Bible app with a daily devo on your phone.
6. Pray. Take your concerns to the Lord. Tell Him all about them and offer them to Him. In a crisis, we don’t have time to stop for a long prayer session, but we can pray what I’ve heard described as S.O.S. prayers. These are short (maybe only two or three words) pleas for God to help. I have been in situations where the only words I could manage were, “Oh God.” They were addressed to the Lord. I knew the Holy Spirit prays for us when we don’t know what to say, and I trusted Him to do it then. In retrospect, I can see that He did.
7. Find something to be thankful for. One of the best things we can do to get our minds on the right track is practice gratefulness. After remembering truth and praying, it’s much easier to move toward thanksgiving. Even if it’s only being able to find your keys as you rush out the door, take time to thank Jesus for His help and provision.
8. Think right thoughts. Do you see the progression here? Philippians 4:8 provides a list of the types of thoughts we should keep in our minds. This is a discipline we need to practice all the time, but it is imperative when storms bombard us. These thoughts are lifelines that calm and help us see hope. Did you know your mind is engineered in such a way that you cannot think two thoughts at the same time? Yes, you can switch back and forth between thoughts rapidly, but you can’t think a bad thought while you’re thinking a good thought. Zig Ziglar got it right when he said, “Most people’s problems come from stinkin’ thinkin’.”
9. Call for back-up. Call your prayer partner and others you know who will pray for you during difficult times. I have four friends who always get a text from me when life goes haywire because I know they will stop and pray as soon as they see it. My tense muscles relax when I read a prayer one of them has typed back.
The next time life’s storm clouds gather, or a sudden rogue wave knocks you off your feet, these strategies will help you stay rock solid. You’ll be prepared and able to re-group. Building a life on the Rock is the best insurance against serious damage and a guarantee that you won’t be smashed to bits. It doesn’t mean bad things won’t happen, but it does mean you’ll be helped through them and emerge safe in the end.
Kathryn Graves, author of the book Fashioned by God, is a style expert, fashion coach, and Premier Designs jewelry consultant. She is also a pastor’s wife and Bible teacher. Kathryn helps women discover the source of real beauty in Jesus, freeing them to gain confidence in their personal styles. She is Mimi to three grandsons, and loves to play with color, both in fashion and interior design, and painting with pastels.
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