Clean up after the storm!
All of us experience storms.
Most of us will encounter the storms that arise from the death of a loved one, a severe or terminal illness, or conflict with family members or co-workers. Some of us will experience actual common disasters such as fires, tornados or floods.
Preparation for storms especially those that you have no idea are coming involves the daily discipline of seeking God. For each of us that looks different but it is a critical life pattern to establish in preparation for what we know is coming.
Although many of us prepare for eventual storms through our daily walk of faith, many of us forget that storms produce debris. Remember there is always clean up after a storm – some storms have less but there is always clean up. Failure to recognize the need to devote time to the clean up may result in emotional and/or physical exhaustion, depression, illness, phobias and the inability to function in our daily lives.
Contemplate the following in preparation for the clean up which will come after your next storm. Remember storms will come. Being prepared as best we can is in God’s Will.
- Because we fail to acknowledge or see the debris field after a storm, we are not prepared for the temptation to fall back into the same habits that may have contributed to the storm in the first place.
- Many times, the newer the stormy experience, the more intense the storm is. Since we have not experienced the type of storm before, we don’t know what to expect and are in a weakened state. When we are in a weakened state, we are more apt to respond emotionally without asking for God for guidance.
- We tend to forget the lessons we have learned in our daily walks with Jesus – lessons like focus on today – tomorrow has enough trouble of its own. See Matt 6:34
- We forget that storms sometimes mean that we need to re-order our priorities. What may have been a priority before the storm may have to be reevaluated – a new order may need to be instituted.
- We may get trapped in what used to be, wanting it to go back to that familiar, comfortable time but forgetting that we are in a new place with a need to refocus. A shifting has occurred. Sarah Groves says it so well in her song “Painting a Picture of Egypt”:
But the places they used to fit me
Cannot hold the things I’ve learned
Those roads were closed off to me
While my back was turned
The past is so tangible
I know it by heart
Familiar things are never easy
- Most storms involve the need for us to focus intensely on a specific person, event or crisis and therefore after the passing of this intensity, it is difficult to allow ourselves to decompress, to reorder our thoughts and movements to reset. A reset button is critical – we have one – His name is Jesus. Permit yourself to rest in Him.
- Sometimes we fail to realize that the storm is over – that a doorway has been provided but we have failed to see it – we are still caught up in the swirling dervish and make choices to step back into the storm to our detriment. This usually is a failure to trust that God has delivered us from the storm and we have missed our cue to move on.
- Repetitive storms of the same nature sometimes mean we did not sufficiently clean up from the first one.
- Sometimes it is the nature of our work or the people placed in our lives that result in storms – but remember to be cautious about making someone else’s storms our own. Walking into someone else’s storm unless prompted by the Holy Spirit is always “bad” and sometimes deadly. It can result in the “lesson of the storm” being lost to the person whose storm it is which may be subjecting them to future storms of a similar nature.
- Storms can steer us “away” from God and into “self survival” mode – Part of the cleanup is recognizing our need for Jesus and asking for help.
- Remember to look for God’s help and answer to prayer during the clean up. Many of us “miss” God’s assistance by refusing the help sent to us.
- Above all, in the aftermath of the storm, we cannot lose sight of God’s love for us and His plans for us – plans to prosper us and not to harm us – plans to give us hope and a future. See Jeremiah 29:11
Storms can produce fruit – deeper and greater than was possessed before the storm – deeper love, joy, peace, patience, faith, – greater empathy and kindness, a newly acquired gentleness and more self-control. See Gal. 5:22. These “fruits” in turn, produce seeds which God plants and waters to maturity.
Each storm we weather, is an opportunity to come closer to God, to gain more wisdom and to produce more fruit. If we take the time to deal with the clean up, the next storm of a similar nature hopefully will feel more like a squall than a hurricane.
As believers in Jesus, we know there will be trouble – He told us. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
In Christ, we have peace. Peace in any storm. Our job is to claim it!