Thursday, April 18, 2013

Calming the Storm of Life

In times of chaos, whether physical or emotional, our lives are like the wind. Things are blowing here and there, pushing us through life, perhaps towards places we neither desire nor understand.  An overloaded calendar may keep us so busy that we simply rush from one obligation to another, never really focusing on any one thing.

One may interact with those treasured the most, yet not take the time to get below the surface. Sure, we can say, "I took my daughter shopping for prom dresses." or "I rushed to my son's soccer game after work." and "On the way to the meet-and-greet with his co-workers, my husband and I discussed the menu for this weekend's cook-out with the neighbors." We think we've connected with loved ones, yet it is rushed, and almost has the air of a check-list of things to do.

While out on a boat with the Disciples, Jesus must have been really tired because He fell asleep. As Jesus slept, a sudden storm came up and the Disciples were terrified. "And he arose and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, "Peace, be still." And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. (Mark 4:39)

No, you can't just easily make your life less busy, but perhaps little small steps can help it be less stressful. Perhaps you have little control over the schedule. After all, each responsibility, often added over time, is just that - a responsibility. When you think about it, each individual may only have a few things going on. Yet, in the overall picture, as a household, there is much going on.

How did this scripture speak to me, reminding me of life when I was a too-busy working mom? That's not the usual application, is it? I've heard discussions about it, always focusing on the lack of faith of the disciples and how they learned otherwise. Yet, tonight it spoke to me differently, reminding me of a lesson learned years ago, and I felt led to share it with others that may benefit.

While the scripture might seem to be about obtaining calm out of the storm, it's about more than that. It is about faith, or confidence, in the power of God. It is about both taking control and trusting. And yes, it is about the power of God to provide peace.

How does this apply to a busy modern life? What is the solution? Be purposeful. Pay attention to the individual tasks, appreciating them, or more importantly, the person involved. The last thing that makes sense would be to add more, right? But perhaps that is what is needed. 

Consider the second part of the scripture. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. Yes, it's important to keep all of the plates in the air as you juggle life. Yes, it's important to set aside time to focus on the family. But there is more.  

Despite what may seem like a packed schedule, somehow, you must squeeze out just a little more time.  Don't "do" anything during this time, just be. Be calm, Be quiet. Breathe deeply and relax.  Obviously, this isn't TV time, or "help with homework time." No, it is "be at peace" time. 

If you are so used to noise that the quiet is a distraction, then perhaps you could put on some quiet music. I prefer quiet, preferably by nature, either out away from things, or just by an open window. The twittering of the birds at dawn or the drone of the dragonflies by the river are my perfect background. Some like meditation, yoga, tai chi, or prayer - they are all examples of how you could start, but the primary task is to just be. Later, this may become your time when you focus on spiritual things, but first, you must cease the wind and allow the calm to cradle you.

Your soul craves this time. Even if it requires getting up a little early or staying up a little later, carving this time out will go a long way towards your rejuvenation, connecting to the "you" deep within. God will provide the calm you require just as surely as Jesus calmed the stormy sea.

Peace be until you.

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