If you came over from Encouragement for Today, welcome! We are in the midst of a Bible study, but I want you to simply join us. You are so welcome here!
Sometimes I struggle to sleep.
My brain goes into overdrive. I’m truly tired, but my brain whirls away. Sometimes, after a couple of hours of just laying there, I’ll climb out of bed and go into another room to read. Sometimes I play spades on my phone or check Facebook.
The problem with getting up or flashing the blue light of a phone in my face, is that now I’m even more awake. My thoughts move to the to-do list for the next day, or other things that are pressing.
And I’m EXHAUSTED the next day.
Several months ago I put a new strategy into motion. Rather than get up, I remained still.
I was listening to the radio and someone instructed those struggling with sleep to remain in bed and take deep breaths, lying as still as possible, as you count backwards from 100 to 1.
I tried it night one.
Night two. Night three. Night four. Night five.
Each night I remained still, breathing deeply, counting backwards slowly from 100 to 1, and before long something was happening in this sleep-deprived girl.
Staying in bed when I was restless felt foreign at first. All my former go-to’s pulled at me. Yet over time I started to embrace the stillness. Counting slowly, breathing deeply, calmed my whirling thoughts.
I didn’t fall asleep right away, but I did fall asleep peacefully.
Sleep started to come much sooner. I didn’t have to do the exercises every night anymore. Eventually I started to sleep almost every night.
It’s been a beautiful thing!
What in the world does this have to do with Chapter #9, Suzie?
Being still in a storm isn’t a natural response.
It’s not our natural response to almost any crisis, whether that’s a string of sleepless nights or when your world turns upside down. We react. It’s what we do. We have to do something, whether that’s worry or make lists or spring into action.
Those were Jesus’ words. They were for the disciples, and they are for us.
So, what does that look like in real life?
Remain where you are
This isn’t a physical place, but spiritual.
“Remain in me, as I also remain in you (John 15:4).”
Our greatest source of strength will come through His Word, through His presence, through our faith in a God so close that we are literally grafted in to that strength.
Don’t forget to breathe
One of my favorite stories is when Jesus literally leaned over and breathed on the disciples (John 20:21-22). It’s kind of a funky thing to do, if we think of it in the natural, but it was powerful.
Jesus knew these men were going into a new season as he went back to the Father, and they marched into the world as apostles. They would face trials. Battles. Difficult people. Victories and miracles.
They could not do this on their own.
We can breathe in the power of the person of the Holy Spirit. That presence lives inside of us. It might not feel like it, but when we start to breath deeply in our new-found stillness, our whirring thoughts slow down and we realize we aren’t in the storm alone.
Storms are temporary. It’s easy to forget that when the winds are strong and the rain is blinding.
Yet we can count on this. . .
We counter temporary storms with forever truth.
Throughout scripture we find passages where God’s people are in storms. I really love this description found in the Psalms.
Some of you set sail in big ships;
you put to sea to do business in faraway ports.
Out at sea you saw God in action,
saw his breathtaking ways with the ocean:
With a word he called up the wind—
an ocean storm, towering waves!
You shot high in the sky, then the bottom dropped out;
your hearts were stuck in your throats.
You were spun like a top, you reeled like a drunk,
you didn’t know which end was up.
Then you called out to God in your desperate condition;
he got you out in the nick of time.
He quieted the wind down to a whisper,
put a muzzle on all the big waves.
And you were so glad when the storm died down,
and he led you safely back to harbor.
The Word is our anchor. It holds us close. It reminds us of past storms where God was faithful, despite our circumstances.
If you are in a storm right now, please know this is a safe place for you to say that, “Things are hard right now.” We’ll pray with you and believe big together.
- Read Chapter #9
- Listen to today’s video
- Answer the discussion question/starter
- Answer the questions at the end of the chapter
- BONUS: Look up one scripture about God’s faithfulness in a storm. Share it here or write it in your journal.