God at Work, Spiritual Growth

Calm Before the Storm

I love the beauty of a sunrise or a sunset. It makes me see life in simpler terms. In the moment, I can let go of all the things my mind is seeking answers for. I can give myself permission to acknowledge that the One who created such beauty before me is the same One who created me. The picture presented to me fills me with peace, and as I look out at the landscape, I feel stillness, but also expectancy.

My acknowledgement that He created me somehow takes me out of my head and allows my heart to swell with gratitude and thankfulness. It is as if knowing that God has answers I do not have, but am still searching for, aligns me to receive them.

The alignment needed comes as I commit myself to living that truth, then allow trust to build and fill my heart. It comes as I recognize His mercy and grace which is a foundational key to building trust. The foundation continues to strengthen when I accept that Jesus sacrificed His life for me, that I would be free and live free. As I stare at the picture of God’s creation, then look at my own face in the mirror, I am reminded to see the beauty in all things for all things were created by and through Him.

The breath that emanates from my mouth is His as surely as the sun rises and sets daily. The breath that keeps me living day-by-day is just as beautiful as the sunrise or sunset. The stillness that comes as I take a breath is a loving reminder of His presence living in me.

The inward part of me, the one filled with His presence is waiting like the calm before the storm. The calm before the storm is a phrase that is most associated with chaos and damage such as a hurricane or natural disaster. The storm, which is defined in www.dictionary.com, is “a disturbance of the normal condition of the atmosphere, manifesting itself by winds of unusual force or direction, often accompanied by rain, snow, hail, thunder, lightning, flying sand or dust.”

I keep seeing that inward peace, the stability that comes with it and that expectancy as something positive, something good. It keeps bursting inside of me that “the calm before the storm” is a time of preparation for the manifestation of what you have longed for, prayed for, or dreamed of. It is in those times we stand when in the natural things look bleak and try to overwhelm us.  

The storm or “a disturbance in the atmosphere” can be a temptation to doubt God’s word or His truth. It may come in the form of a bad report, or even something like the pandemic or a crazy political season which we now face that tries to overwhelm our thoughts.

The storms we face, or the disruptions in our atmosphere, are entry points where we choose to walk by faith, or we allow our minds to faint in fear. Fear or faith, what are we consistently choosing? We make choices every day that keep us aligned with God’s word or spirals us down the rabbit hole through our thoughts. God tells us that we are to choose life but what does that mean? What does it like? How do we choose life in the face of all that comes to steal our peace? How do we keep our peace in the middle of all the circumstances we face?

This is how I choose life in the face of the storm.

  1. I chose Jesus as my Savior, not just my Savior, but also as Lord. I have given Him permission to challenge my actions, to transform my life, and to empower me to walk in integrity. Little did I understand at the time, the decision I made is one I continue to make each time there is a bump along the road to that transformation. That renewal of my choice is a resurgence within in me that no matter what comes, I will choose to trust Him.
  2. I have learned that my daily connection with God is a necessity when making decisions that lead to that transformed life. I begin the day listening to Him and recording in a journal what He speaks to my heart. It serves me well over time to remember His words.
  3. I declare the promises of God out loud, on purpose (this is also the way I interrupt negative thoughts that have formed or are trying to form in my mind).
  4. I meditate on God’s word and His promises to me, and they fill my mind. They become more real to me than the “what ifs” that spring up. I force my focus to be on His words and think on them. I choose to dwell on the promises instead of the alternatives that lead to fear and anxiety. Is it easy? No, but it is necessary and becomes easier to catch the tapes that we have running in our minds when we start filling it with something in comparison.
  5. His presence fills my thoughts and displaces worry and fear, His love for me overflows and in my heart the knowledge of His goodness stays.
  6. I make the decision daily to believe that God’s word is true. It does not matter where I go, He is with me if I am in Christ. He never leaves, never forsakes and is always an ever-present source of help when I need Him. No matter what, I am never alone if I have accepted Christ into my life.

I declare out loud as often as I need to:
I choose to trust the Spirit of the Living God who abides in me, more than the things that are happening in the world around me. I hide myself in You as I go about my daily routine. I will not fear for You are with me.  Your Spirit leads, Your wisdom guides, and the things I do are because of my faith in You Lord.  I place my trust in the goodness, mercy, and grace of God.

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