So the perfect storm was setting up right inside my own house this weekend. On Friday, I started off by having 4 different workmen in my house repairing all sorts of applicances and electrical equipment. It began before 8am and didn’t end until 4pm. CRAZY!!! To top it all off, two of my kids were home for the start of a long (I mean LONG weekend). Most of it went smoothly with the exception of one of the workmen who kept bombarding me with bad news. You could tell it was going to happen, because as my sister, my mom and I were packing up boxes with “stuff” he would come out of the basement and say, “Can I talk with you for a moment?” Yes my $300 repair turned to $800 which led to $1100. AAAHHHH! Breathe. Breathe again. Breathe again.
Saturday was worse. Megan started her day with a quick run with her team (which I took her to) and during that time Pete and I took TJ to get a passport at the post office. Except the post office passport office was closed on Saturday. Oh well, I had a package to ship anyway. As we proceeded to the bank to drop off mortgage papers, I realized I left them on the kitchen counter. Back to the house. Phew. After finishing up my errands, I headed to pick up Megan and stopped by the store for more packing tape. At just before noon, I arrived home to lots of hungry kids. Packing kept moving backward on my of things to do list. Finally, we began our packing. After filling all of our trash cans with junk I didn’t want to pack and maxing out on donations (because I didn’t have any more room for them); we finally fell on the couch.
It was at this point that I realized, I was playing the hand bells at two church services tomorrow and cantoring one of those two services. Dang. I hadn’t even gone over my music. It was Saturday at 5pm and I needed to run up to the church to get my music (which I did). I arrived at church this morning – exhausted. It was a recipe for disaster. You see, I love to sing. I love cantoring. I love playing the hand bells. When you combine all those things with stress (to the max) then the combination doesn’t work out so well.
The first service went great. It was beautiful. The second service (where I was to lead the music for the service) did not go so great. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t my best. I couldn’t give God my best because I was maxed out. I had filled all my garbage cans of life with stress and there wasn’t room for God. Probably that first service tilted me over the edge.
I have done this before in my life. I fill my soul with all this stuff and there is no more room for God to do His work. He wants to work, but I haven’t left any room for Him. I don’t always fill my trash cans with stress, sometimes it is my own “busyness.” Sometimes it is my family. Sometimes it is my selfishness. Sometimes it is my pride.
I allow the perfect storm to brew in my body, in my mind, in my soul; and then that storm becomes a barrier between myself and God. That barrier stops a conversation between God and me. I desperately need Him, but I cannot see past the storm. I try to stop the rain and thunder. I try to make a beautiful rainbow appear, but sometimes I just get too far into the storm and I don’t know how to climb out. I make the storm worse, instead of stopping it from gaining strength.
My problem is I allow the storm to take over instead of asking God for help. By the time the storm has covered my soul, I am too deep in sin to get help. I need to let the storm pass or have God do something great – like calm the storm for me. It reminds me of a story:
Matt 8:23-27 When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. The men were amazed, and said, “What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”
Never once does the scripture say that the disciples think about calming the storm by asking in prayer for God to help. Never once does it say that they tried to devise a plan. They went straight to Jesus. Remember when I said last week in my blog how it was a blessing that Jesus left the disciples (in human form)? The disciples went right to Him and asked for help. They won’t always be able to do that (at least with the human form of Jesus). Since I have never been able to reach out and touch Jesus myself, I can tell you it is HARD to make room for conversation with Him daily. It takes lots of work!
The disciples were in the midst of the storm. They were past the point of no return and felt that death was imminent. The storm overtook their thoughts. They allowed the storm to overtake their thoughts. I am sure they saw it coming. Someone had to be awake to captain the boat. They probably even talked about how the skies didn’t look so good. The wind probably picked up and started rocking the boat. Yet, they waited until they thought they were going to die to call Jesus. What happened to prayer? What happened to devising a plan? What happened to coming up with a solution before the storm arrived? Once it arrived all they could do was to wake up Jesus. Kind of like I said early – once I get into the storm, I have to wait it out or pray that God calms it for me.
The point is I watch the storm brew. I see and feel the signs that it is going to be a bad one. The storm hits and all of the sudden I need God. I don’t even consider Him before the storm comes. Selfishly I just figure I can do it on my own. Guess what? I can’t. I need God. I need Him desperately. So did the disciples. They were a work-in-progress just like me. We go to God when we need Him. How about when we don’t need Him? How about just to say “thanks” for that normal, average day? How about discerning as our inner storm is brewing that we may be taking on too much?
So what could I have done to calm the perfect storm that happened to me on Sunday? I could have chosen to do a little less packing. I could have chosen to make a little more room for God. I could have chosen to ask God to let me know when “enough is enough.” I didn’t do any of that.
God wants to be there for us. He won’t stop the storm from happening, but we can. We can spend time with Him before the rain begins and the lightning strikes. We can honor Him for the strength that He gives us to face our daily lives. Praise God for today!