This is so overwhelming! It is too much! I cannot take anymore! When will it stop? What has happened? The world has really gone crazy this time! In this season of so many uncertainties, you may have said, thought, or heard one of these statements. We truly are all in this together as we each navigate unchartered territories in our society. We have been forced to look at ourselves through a lens, that until now, may have been clouded with echoes from the past that have prevented us from seeing clearly. There was a song that I believe Jimmy Cliff sang years ago that I feel spoke to navigating through stormy times. The lyrics went something like this “I can see clearly now the rain is gone. I can see all the obstacles in my way. Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind, it is gonna be a bright, bright, sun shiny day! Oh yes, I can make it now the pain is gone. All of the bad feelings have disappeared. Here is that rainbow I have been praying for. It’s gonna be a bright, bright, sun shiny day.” The song goes on to say that there is nothing but blue skies ahead. He was looking ahead! He saw past the dark clouds, past the obstacles. He saw the rainbow and blue skies. We have to look beyond the moment. The moment of dark clouds, the moment of obstacles and on to the blue skies.
Now, some of you may be a bit skeptical about that vision. That is certainly understandable, especially considering that each day, in this current season, appears to be increasingly full of despair, anger, anxiety, and fear of just what exactly is going to happen! I am with you. However, I also see the blue skies, I also see beyond the moment. I invite you to join me in visualizing beyond the moment. Do not lose sight of your faith or the blue skies ahead. No one said life would be easy. We just have to learn to navigate through the seasons
How do we navigate through these seasons? Somehow, this has been spoken to me through various sources over the last few months.
Prayer: Yes! It works! We all may refer to our Creator under different faiths. Our faith and trust in God render a response. God responds to our faith filled prayers. Some may wonder, “if there is a God, why is He allowing all these things to happen?” The Bible tells us a few things: God never said it would be easy. He did say He would never leave us nor forsake us
God said He would supply all of our needs according to His riches and glory. Now that is needs, not wants. There is a difference. While I may want lemonade to drink, I need water and God has supplied that in abundance.
He also tells us to be anxious for nothing. Just as he cares for the birds in the sky. He cares for us. I do not know about you but every morning I wake up, those jokers are chirping like nobody’s business! It could have been a wild thunderstorm the night before but, they are just singing and talking to each other every single morning! God took care of them through the storm. Surely, He will take care of you and I through our storms of life.
We are also told that we are in this world, we are not of this world. While chaos may be all around us, we must remain steadfast in faith that it will not harm us
Be Still: Yes, sometimes we just have to quiet ourselves. Quiet our mind, the racing thoughts. Take a few deep breaths and exhale all the air out of your body. As you exhale, think of all the negative things that are hindering you and exhale them slowly out of your body. Release them! Inhale the good thoughts and the blessings that you own. Get in a quiet space. Even if you reside with others in the home, find a quiet space and retreat there when necessary. Yes, even if it is the bathroom, because for some, that IS the only quiet space in the home😊
Control what you can control: Your immediate surroundings, your home, your thoughts, your perspective, your attitude, are all the things that you can control.
Process what you need to process. Talk it out. Exercise it out! Write it out! Get it out of your system! Many times, we wind up with so much anxiety and stress because we hold things in too long. We do not express how we are feeling! Allow yourself the space to do so. Even if that means seeking professional counseling. I am a witness. The right counselor can assist with the healing process like no other!
Connect with family: Yes, We are blessed to be in an age where technology, is sometimes our friend, when it works😊 The telephone, video chats, or even the old fashioned, letter writing, are all ways to stay connected with family and friends.
Virtual dating has even become a means of socialization, while distancing. Find a way to stay connected with family and friends and do so on a regular basis.
Monitor what you allow into your headspace: Yes, limit the bad news! It is repetitive and we do not need to constantly hear the same doom and gloom on a daily basis. Just enough to keep up with what is going on in your community. Just enough to know what you need to know to stay safe and healthy, and then, turn it off! Limit what you allow in between your ears
Diet and Exercise: Yes! Now if you have been with me for a while, you know that this is a no brainer! The tendency for emotional eating is prime during difficult seasons. We are looking for some means of comfort and security. Food is usually the “go to” comfort. This is a great time to learn new recipes, try new healthy dishes. Get in the kitchen and experiment. Make it a family event. I have found many friends who have said that they have learned to create great dishes at home and are loving the experience.
Exercise? Yes! Yes! A great stress reliever. Whatever level of intensity or endurance that works for you, do it and do it on a regular basis. Depression is real and can creep in easily during stormy seasons. We all may struggle with it at one time or another. Diet, exercise, water intake, can all help to fight that battle.
Find things you enjoy doing: Yes! I have a sewing machine that I have had for years! Used it one time! Guess what!? I have pulled it out and made a few masks. Ok, so the first few masks were not the best but the experience making them was relaxing and a great distraction! I also bought some yarn and knitting needles, something I did as a child with my grandmother. Knitting, sewing, crocheting, all activities from my past that I have resurrected to help me navigate this season.
Accept what you cannot control: Lord knows, there is so much in this world that we cannot control. Worrying about it will not affect the outcome. We can adjust how we choose to respond to those things and continue to focus on our journey. If you see a thunderstorm on the horizon and the winds are strong, worrying about whether or not a tree is going to fall, will not prevent the tree from falling. You can control where you may position yourself in the event that it does, but you cannot control the fact that it may! Accept what you cannot control, adjust your response, and be at peace.
Something to soothe the soul: Yes! Soul soothing stuff! A favorite playlist, favorite podcasts, favorite book, or books. I still enjoy sitting down with a physical book and getting lost in the pages of the story. I love getting lost in the characters and sharing their journey. Marinate on soul soothing stuff daily and embrace that journey.
Journal: Yes! Daily! Not only journal but journal your gratitude on a daily basis. Even if it is the same thing every day, journal it and be grateful. When we start adding up the things, we have to be grateful for, it can be a mood changer. Some mornings I wake up with a heaviness over my spirit. Then I start thanking God out loud for everything! “Thank You, God, for waking me up, for my family, for my friends, for a roof over my head. Thank You God for the water that runs out of the faucet. Thank You God for indoor plumbing! Do not judge me! We all panic when the toilet paper shelf is empty! LoL! Thank God you have a roll or two! I thank God for the air to breathe. I thank God for waking up to birds singing and not bombs soaring from the sky. Thank Him! In the midst of all that is wrong and upsetting, thank Him for what is good!
Life was not promised to be easy. However, we do have the ability to navigate through the difficult days, the difficult months, or perhaps the difficult years. We have the tools to help us navigate through the storm. We have the tools to help us see the rainbow, the blue skies. We have the tools to help us navigate to the sun shiny days again. Use your tools, navigate, and be encouraged!