While out walking today, ominous clouds rolled in. It’s been overcast off and on, so I took a little plastic bag along for my phone. And was glad I did. All of a sudden, the rain poured heavily. It actually felt good to be out in it.
But when other kinds of storms hit, I don’t like to find myself in the middle of them at all. And I’m sure neither do you. Even if we do carry along “plastic bags,” those “just in case” items that you need for hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, job losses, illness, and every other unexpected bite that life sometimes takes out of us.
Still, even in the middle of all those things, there is God. Hard to wrap my mind around all the time. Yet, I’ve felt His peace in the middle of what has felt like devastating circumstances. Why the Maker of the Universe sometimes chooses to ride the storms of life with us, instead of banishing those storms far away from us, I don’t know.
I hear trials teach us what we’re made of on the inside. If we’re squeezed hard enough, something good or something ugly is going to come out. I think He’s helping us grow stronger, although on some days I’d choose to be a lightweight at the gym of life; I didn’t think I signed on for heavy lifting. But I suppose every human was designed for the heavy weights; we just all don’t fully realize it.
I’m finally realizing though that God’s placed inside each one of us something magnificent: the power to overcome. When He designed us, I think He had strength in mind. Not always physical strength, but that inside rod of faith that’s stronger than any metal known to humans. It’s that Spirit strength that causes you to keep standing in the middle of it all; it’s His love that makes you want to. And that’s when you sing and dance right through those sudden storms of life, sometimes immediately, sometimes as you go along…
God lets us choose how we look at the good days and not so sunny days. And whatever choice we make, is how it will be. Often, it’s hard to go against how you’re feeling. And as an artist, I used to think you were being untrue to yourself to even try to feel better if you felt “down” feelings; I thought that’s just part of life, something to experience and get through. But now I can see how I let myself lose so much joy in the past by just going with feelings that sometimes lie.
Maybe I’ve shared this before, but will again, since it’s a good example:
Let’s say you’re an actor, and you’ve had one of the most trying days of your life — and that night, you have to go to work; you’re performing in a “happy” play, a comedy that has audiences rolling in the aisles with laughter. What do you do? You can’t abandon the show, the cast, the audience. You can’t call in and say you can’t perform that night; there’s no understudy. This is your life. Your choice. And you have to make a decision — a good one — to go on. And you do go on. And it’s a wonderful show. And you feel wonderful — during it and after. And then, backstage, taking off your makeup and costume, you realize that the down feelings aren’t there anymore. And you go out and have a nice time with your friends. But when you get home, those darn feelings start creeping up to you again, begging you to take them back. A thought wafts by your head about how lousy the day had been earlier and how bad your life looks up ahead. And now you really have to make a decision. Give in to your feelings, or override them.
Based on the stage experience you just had, you know you don’t have to accept what those negative feelings are telling you. You can choose to learn how to bat them away and enjoy your life.
If you know God, go to Him and ask Him to help you. He will. He’ll teach you. He’ll show you tons of verses that talk about living life abundantly, with joy and peace and love and hope. And He Himself will be right beside you to encourage you. It’s never too late to try a change of mind. Of letting your mind rule over your feelings, those feelings that can lead you into traps and hold you back from being all you were created to be. Your choice. It can be a battle though, as life has many little skirmishes for all of us. Just keeping choosing to fight, and never give up.
You know, I think I do want to keep working out with the heavy weights after all… I don’t want to go backwards. And, hey, if you need help too, let me introduce you to my Trainer. He’s amazingly awesome…