“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain”
I don’t know about you, but I’m so ready for April to be over.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, April showers bring May flowers? Well, forget April showers, because this month came fully-loaded with torrential downpours! It’s been a month full of lost keys, acne breakouts, sinus infections, dangerously low bank account balances, and broken break lights. The struggle has been so deliciously real. (Deliciously, because I have never had to eat this many packages of super cheap 2-minute ramen noodles in my entire life.)
But despite the many frustrations and challenges that have materialized during these past 30 days, this month has also been full of beautiful sunsets, incredibly generous friends, words of encouragement, hot cross buns, and The Lord of the Rings movie marathons. Still, when battling through storm after storm on a daily basis, it’s easy to pass over these blessings and take them for granted.
My mom reminded me that sometimes when we face difficult challenges or situations that make us overthink and overreact—we should serve. When I turn my focus from inward to outward, my problems appear smaller and my compassion for others becomes greater. When I build others up through generosity and kindness, I am helping to bear someone else’s burden, while being relieved of my own at the very same time. My mom is a wise woman. (I should listen to her more.)
My dad had another perspective. He reminded me that the enemy is always on the prowl, ready to attack at a moment’s notice. When the Lord is doing a redemptive and powerful work in my life, the enemy will do whatever it takes to prevent the Lord’s will from unfolding in a fruitful way. Maybe that looks like sending a bunch of super hot guys down my path when I promised the Lord that I wouldn’t date until 2018? Maybe it looks like a sickness that prevents me from attending football training for a week? Maybe it’s car trouble that hinders me from presenting a human trafficking awareness message on a local radio station? I’ve learned that the enemy will use pretty much anything (and anyone) to distract and deter me from living out God’s plan for my life. My dad reminded me to keep focus, to remember the truth, and to continue to push forward. He’s pretty wise too.
Now God on the other hand—instead of simply giving me some sweet words of wisdom like my wonderful parents usually do, He has a habit of throwing me straight out of the bird’s nest and head first into the wild blue yonder. “Fly, Sam, fly.” Splat. “Take two, let’s try this again, Daughter! This time don’t do it your way, do it My way. Trust Me!” Splat. “Sam, I said My way…”
That’s usually how it goes…
But let’s quickly back up a step. A few months ago I prayed for the Lord to help me find my joy in the storms of this life. I asked for the Lord to help me be content and grateful even in when difficult circumstances come my way. (Dearest friends, a little disclaimer… don’t pray this kind of prayer unless you want the storms of this life to start showing up on your doorstep.) The God we worship has a knack for answering our prayers, but sometimes those prayers are lovingly answered with hurricane force winds.
Now this is one of my greatest struggles—finding joy in trials. It’s easy for me to identify a trial when it comes my way—but having the right attitude amidst those trials is a whole different story. I usually barely make it out alive, grumbling and complaining the entire way through until I finally manage to see the light at the end of the tunnel. (Dramatic, I know.) When in reality, my attitude should reflect the attitude of Christ—which is peace.
Paul has some wisdom to share on this topic too. He writes in Philippians 4:6-7, “Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
I think we humans like to complicate things, but I’ll speak for myself. I love to complicate things. God says, “love one another,” and I say how, where, who? God says, “trust me,” and I say why, when, how? God says, “I will provide for you,” and I say are you sure, really, how often?
I wonder what would happen if I simply obeyed God? I wonder how much joy I would find in my trials if I prayed about everything and gave thanks to the Lord for all He has already accomplished in my life? I wonder how much peace I’d experience if I stood firm on His Word rather than on my fluctuating feelings? I wonder what would happen if I just… trusted Him?
And I wonder what would happen if I decided to start now?
There is one more wise man that I am going to quote before ending this blog post. Gandalf the Grey once said, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” So, my friends, the time is now. What will I decide? What will you decide?
Together, as we journey through the storms of this life with the Lord by our side and the Holy Spirit in our hearts, let’s learn to dance in the rain… and find our joy.