People talk about the “calm before the storm.” Is it just me, or does it seem like every day is a storm of its own?
Not an everything-is-crashing-down storm. More of a life-is-wildly-hectic-and-filled-with-lots-of-good-and-bad storm. I keep waiting for life to slow down. (Did you just laugh at me?)
People who have walked this wife/kids/job road before me simply nod, grin, and say something to the effect of, “Suck it up. The storm continues until your youngest goes to college. And sometimes longer.”
But there has got to be a way to weather the storm more effectively. Not just endure – but fully live. Not just survive – but truly embrace and enjoy the “storm-ness.”
I think the storm has been particularly frustrating lately because it is impacting my time with God. Prayer and Bible reading so quickly slip into mind wandering and pondering the upcoming events of the day.
The verse that God keeps bringing to mind is one of the most famous in the Bible – Psalm 46:10 (NIV):
Be still, and know that I am God.
So necessary. Yet so, so hard.
Maybe it would be helpful if we look at what the Psalmist wrote before – and after! – he said to be still. In verses 7 and 11 he writes:
The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
I think he was onto something.
Give this 5-minute exercise a try tomorrow morning (or today at lunch):
Minute 1: “The Lord Almighty” – Close your eyes. Slowly repeat the phrase “the Lord Almighty” with a few seconds in between. Picture the Lord as Almighty, powerful, huge, kingly, on His throne, ruling. Slowly allow the phrase to become “I worship You, Lord Almighty.”
Minute 2 – “…is with us…” – Picture yourself in His presence. He wants you there. He has invited you there. He has done the inviting – not you. He is smiling. Say nothing. Just be in the Presence.
Minute 3 – “…the God of Jacob…” – God has been around a long time. He is not surprised, nor is he flustered by your current storm. Spend one minute reminding yourself that God has always been God. He has walked alongside millions before you. If it helps you focus, simply say, You are the One who was, who is, and who is to come.”
Minute 4 – “…is our fortress.” – A fortress is a place of safety…of refuge…of protection. We talk about “laying our burdens at His feet” all the time. We rarely do it. Take one minute and actually do it. Quietly – but out loud – say, “I trust you with…” and fill in the blank. (Then don’t pick it up again.)
Minute 5 – Be still. – No words. Just be still. Know that He is God. And you are not. (By the way…that’s a good thing.)
Now…move into your prayer time, Bible reading, or even into the day’s “storm.”
Give it a try. Then do it again tomorrow. Warning: There’s a good chance it will take a week or two before it becomes easier.
Come back here and let me know how it goes. (Please. I really want to know.)