The storm came out of nowhere, suddenly turning calm seas into a churning ocean with waves as tall as our sailboat. As I realized I was the only one on the boat still standing, not head hung over the side with seasickness, I firmly planted my feet on the deck and took hold of the wheel. I held on tight as the boat dipped up and down on the huge waves, trying my best to stay standing through the driving rain and keep our sailboat pointed back toward the calmer waters of the channel.
I was living on this sailboat for a month as part of a summer camp, an incredible adventure my parents bravely sent me on as a young teen. Most of the time we stayed in the shelter of a channel, surround on either side by islands, but this was our day to venture onto the open ocean. A day we’d all looked forward to for weeks.
I wasn’t scared because I’d sailed through other storms. Maybe not with waves this big or on the open ocean, but I spent much of my childhood on my father’s sailboat. It was one of my favorite places, being lulled to sleep by the gentle rocking of the boat, waves lapping at the bow. I’d learned to be brave when the waves got higher and the winds pushed the boat over. I knew the limits of what a sailboat could handle and knew it could tip pretty far over without capsizing.
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See, I’d practiced and prepared for this moment for years, so when the storm came I was ready.
Life is a lot like this. When your storm hits, what do you do? Do you run and hide below deck, afraid to even look at the wind and waves? Do you allow worry and stress to make you sick, so you’re unable to stand and face the storm? Or, do you plant your feet firmly in faith, trusting God to help you steer your way through the storm?
When we practice on the small storms, learn to brave the storms of life, then we’ll be ready when the bigger storms hit (and they will). Here are three steps to begin practicing now, in the small stuff of life:
1) Read and study the Bible.
Really get to know God, meet Jesus in the pages of the Gospels. Join a Bible study and dig into the pages so they come alive for you. Get to know Jesus intimately now, so he’ll be the first one you call for in the storm.
2) Practice praying.
Pray for God’s help and guidance over all the areas of your life, big and small. Get in the habit of frequent prayer, so it’ll become second nature to include God in your conversations.
3) Surround yourself in Community.
Identify your community of fellow believers who can help and support you. Develop relationships now, learning together and supporting each other. Go deep with your community. They are the ones who will be there to guide you, support you and hold you accountable.
The more we practice navigating life’s choppy waters, the better prepared we’ll be to sail through the big storms.
[reminder preface=”Question: “]What are some ways you practice on the small changes in your life that help prepare you for the bigger storms?[/reminder]
[callout]This post is part of the “A Better Change” series. For more information on this series and to find related posts, click here: A Better Change Series – Overview[/callout]
Sharing with: Motivation Monday, Unforced Rhythms, UNITE, Testimony Tuesday, Titus 2 Tuesday, What You Wish Wednesday
Lovely post, Kathryn. I can’t think of much nicer than a childhood spent getting used to the wind and waves, the ocean air, of a sailboat. And I love where you applied this experience. Thank you for sharing at Unforced Rhythms.
It was a wonderful way to spend time as a child! So many life lessons learned on the water.
Nannette and The Sweetheart says
Awesome! So encouraging and practical advice: Pray, Read, Surround yourself with those who do the same! Blessings, Kathryn!
Thanks! Glad you were encouraged this morning!
Kathryn- Beautiful post! Your three ideas are perfect and I do all three to practice on the little storms in my life. Putting God at the center of my storm allows me to give the momentum to Him instead of me trying to do it on my own and end up hanging on for dear life. Have a beautiful day!
Thanks! I’m finding the more I practice letting God lead the way, the easier it gets when I’m really under stress.
Kathryn, I love these three ways to grow and prepare ourselves adequately for like’s storms. I especially like “practice prayer.” I want to practice by turning my anxieties into prayers, my worries into worship, just taking control of my thoughts!
Each time I’m in a real crisis and forget to turn to prayer right away, I’m reminded how much more I need to practice until it’s my first response.
That’s a lovely real life metaphor. It’s true that when we practice certain disciplines we are ready to face larger storms with our Father’s help!
I’ve found that when really stressed, I fall back into whatever is my habitual – so unless I practice and reset those habits, I don’t respond better to the big changes when they happen.
Stasia Theiss Skelton says
I love how you say we practice on the smaller storms. Sometimes my reactions are the greatest to these, but I should take them as another time to draw close to God and lean on Him!
Thanks for linking up with WYWW!
I’m finding it easier to practice and prepare on the small things, rather than trying to learn in the big ones. Then, at least, when the big things happen, it’s more a matter of reminder and refocus to get back on track.
Kathryn, Beautiful analogy filled with much truth. Being prepared for rough water gives us courage and strength.
Carmen Horne says
Loved your thoughts on braving the storms of life. I wrote on this topic myself this week. When that happens I know God is trying to tell me something 🙂 Thank you for reminding me to be prepared! God bless – one of your neighbors on Testimony Tuesday
Loved your post on staying in the boat with Jesus when the storm hits! Just as we prepare and drill for surviving bad weather, so we need to prepare for the storms of life.