3 Vital Steps to Prepare for Life’s Storms
Storms Happen. Sometimes when you least expect it. So, how can we prepare for life’s storms? I’m going to share with you 3 vital steps of preparation.
I had time to focus on these steps while we prepared for a literal storm in our city: Hurricane Irma. Before getting into the steps, we must remind ourselves of the truth:
Plain and simple. Storms are a part of life, literally and figuratively.
Now, I could write for days on how to prepare for a literal storm, since I just spent hours researching how to prepare for a hurricane. However, I feel called to focus on the figurative storms in life. The ones that have nothing to do with “mother nature” and everything to do with our heart.
How can we be prepared for life’s storms?
Is it even possible to be prepared for a storm rather than be blindsided by it? I believe it is possible.
So, here are three questions to ask yourself in order to assess whether or not you are prepared for a storm:
1. Where is God?
Is He the center of your life? Do you turn to God when things go wrong? Are you making decisions in your life based on what He tells you through the Bible?
Be honest with yourself. You are not preparing yourself well by fooling yourself.
If you are a Christian, you know the right thing to say here.
But is is a fact in your life?
Or is God placed lower and lower on your priority list? Are you having to remind yourself to spend time with Him, only to find at the end of a long day that you “couldn’t find time.”
When your relationship with God is solid, you have a firm foundation that no storm can destroy.
Having God placed at the center of your life is VITAL to being prepared for life’s storms.
2. Where are you?
Look around you. Are you in a “good place?” When I am not doing well mentally, I will say to Steve, “I am not in a good place.” What I mean is that something is off…something in my life is causing everything to falter.
So, where should you be? What is a “good place?”
Well, that is different for each of us. I will dare to say that much of my good place depends on the answer to my first question, Where is God?, in my life.
But there are other factors, too. Is there a sour relationship occurring? Do I have work piled up that I have ignored or been too busy to get to? Have my husband and I had quality time together? Is my time being spent wisely? Am I surrounding myself with like-minded, godly people? Do I feel mentored as a parent or wife or ministry leader? Are there people in my life that I trust and am accountable to? Am I enjoying life–truly enjoying it? Are my healthy desires being met? Am I achieving goals? The list goes on and on.
Think of it this way…if you are required to stay in one place for an extended period of time while a storm rages outside, you want it to be a nice spot. No one wants to hide away in the gas station bathroom during a storm. Ick. We’d all prefer to be in a comfortable home, preferably with a huge generator and a stocked pantry.
Your environment changes how you experience the storm.
Where YOU are–good place or not so good place–changes how you experience the storm.
Don’t stay in the “gas station bathroom” place. Make the changes necessary in order to be in the fully stocked comfortable home when that storm hits.
3. Are you ready to do what it takes?
This is huge, friends.
Are you ready to truly do what it takes to not only make it through the storm, but thrive in the middle of it?
This takes grit and determination. Humility and grace. It usually requires forgiveness and sacrifice.
Preparing for life’s storms always requires faith.
The answer to this question is also dependent on the answer to question #1 and even question #2. With God, all things are possible. Without God, it’s super hard and even impossible.
If you are exhausted BEFORE the storm, it’s even more difficult to rally strength and perseverance once the storm hits.
When life’s storms comes, there is so much to focus on. You need to brace yourself, expect the unexpected, protect yourself from danger, protect others around you, and so on. Then, after the storm, the focus has changed but is still all-consuming. So, though you may be tempted to do a quick clean-up and move on, I encourage you to stay focused on the details of the storm and what it takes to completely heal and live well.
Doing what it takes requires focus and sacrifice.
When preparing for Irma, my usual schedule went out the window. I couldn’t possibly focus on all my normal daily tasks while also taking on the added stress of preparing our family for what could have been a catastrophic storm. Don’t get me wrong, I did the things that HAD to get done, but any non-essentials were removed.
The same thing applies with a figurative storm.
You have to dig your heels in and hyper-focus on the task at hand.
You can’t expect to keep status quo in all the other areas of your life while you are trying to battle an enemy in one area.
We speak to couples in crisis a lot. Several of them have a difficult time accepting that repairing damage in a marriage requires sacrificing in other areas of life. In this day and age, we are all so busy and lives are filled with schedules and appointments and tasks and jobs and lists and this and that.
Something has to give, friends!
Sometimes it’s the things you enjoy or the activities your kids love. If your marriage counseling sessions are scheduled during baseball practice, then maybe your child needs to skip this season. (just for a season) It’s possible you need to step down from that leadership team while you sort out a family crisis. Perhaps your spouse needs to change jobs in order to be home more while you battle an illness.
You cannot continue at your usual pace and with your usual priorities while a storm is wreaking havoc on your life. You just can’t.
I know of a couple that sold their beautiful home and moved their family of five to a small apartment in order to reduce their spending so they could get out of debt. It is a big sacrifice for their entire family. But the sacrifice is nothing compared to the peace they are experiencing in the decision to rid themselves of the weight of financial burden.
Prioritize. Be ready to do what it takes.
God will lead you. The Holy Spirit will prompt you to what needs to go or stay. Listen to Him!
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; and lean NOT on your own understanding. In ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He will directs your paths. -Proverbs 3:5-6 my (emphasis)
To prepare for life’s storms, we need to:
1. Keep God at the center.
2. Create a life of peace, love and joy.
3. Be prepared to prioritize and sacrifice.
Hurricane Irma was the largest hurricane in recorded U.S. history. But I felt safe. I trusted God and His plan for me. I was in a “good place” where there was no room for fear. And I was prepared for extreme sacrifice. May it be so in the next storms in my life…and yours.