Steady in the Storm, Chapter Seven: The Fearless Pirate Captain
“I wasn’t sure if trusting God should feel and look this scary, or if it was because I was doing something wrong… Walking out God’s call for our lives is not always safe, but it is good and He promises us peace, grace and strength through it… He is ok with us going through storms and discovering our weaknesses, knowing He will see us through them and we will be better versions of ourselves on the other side.”
I’ve been struggling a lot lately. Who hasn’t, it’s 2020 and the world seems to be falling apart everywhere you look. I find myself in conversation after conversation over how heavy everything is, there is tension everywhere. You can’t go to the fruit stand and buy a bag of apples without feeling like the tension in the room is going to break at any moment, causing a fist fight or something worse to break out. Everything feels heavy. That’s the best word I can use to describe it right now, it’s all really heavy.
I’ve known myself to struggle with an overall sadness in my life. I know this sadness has waved in an out of depressions at times, but I didn’t know how to label it or that asking for help was what I should do. I’m more able to recognize and label what is going on now, especially this year, because the depression seems more rampant than usual. And I know it’s not just me. It feels like a collective depression. I feel the weight of what is seen and unseen, and most days I just can’t take it.
My opening book quote seems to reflect a cruel God when you consider my thoughts. The classic thoughts of, “How could a loving God allow such things to happen? Doesn’t he want you to be happy?” seem to be the reaction. Yes, I do believe God does want his children to be happy. He wants them to experience his love and joy and peace at all times. The problem is we get in the way of ourselves when trying to reach for this.
I get depressed when I can’t solve the worlds problems, the problems in my house or the problems inside myself. I get overwhelmed with all that needs fixing and get sad when it feels like it’s never going to get better. The weight of everything that needs ‘doing’ is too much for me. I can’t do it. I give up. Why does following Jesus have to be so hard some times?
Jesus never promised a safe and easy road, but he did promise he would be on that road with us. I think Jesus is ok with us going through our storms, because it causes us to realized our dependance on him. It causes us to self-evaluate and turn to him for strength. I told a friend last night how frustrated I am with waiting. When I ask God for answers I hear him say, “Just wait, hold on”. The image of a race horse, hauled up in a stall came to mind. The horse is ready to break the boards down with impatience and energy and want. Jesus is holding the gate and latch saying, “Just hold on”. I’m such an impatient person. I hate waiting. My friend said to me, if I learn to find peace in the waiting, I would find a great gift indeed.
The things we learn in our storms are the treasures we carry with us throughout our whole lives. In Steady in the Storm I talk about the chaos of walking through alcoholism in my marriage. I was recently asked to comment on my level of resilience. I surprised myself when I confidently spoke of how resilient I was, knowing this was an attribute that was created through my marriage. I also recently commented on my ability to compartmentalize work and home life. This was something that plagued me at previous jobs. Once again, I was surprised and even proud of myself for confidently boasting in my professional abilities.
You don’t realize what you’re building in your storms. We only see the chaos around us and the unrest and depression we feel. On the other side of storms you begin to operate in the strengths you have developed, sometimes without even realizing it. I know for me, only God could craft these abilities inside me. When I look back on the darkness of my storms, all I can see is how weak I was. To come out of the storm at all is a gift, to come out of it with strength and abilities to walk better, straighter and more confident is a miracle.
2020 is hard. There is a lot going on, it’s hard to keep up and fathom it all. Don’t try to fix it, understand it, or even embrace it. Just admit it’s out of your control and embrace God’s strength instead. On the other side of this we will begin to see the gifts, abilities and attributes he was instilling in us during the storm.