Storms wreak havoc on your life – sometimes they disrupt your schedule and sometimes they toss and turn you until you have no choice but to seek shelter. Just because you have to stop for the moment doesn’t mean you have to quit altogether.
I quit, or I wanted to quit.
I had been going full force into all my BIG DREAM GOALS. Things were closer than ever before. But, despite all I had done, I still fell short.
“Keep going.” I heard the encouraging words in my heart. I dug in, did one more thing. I knew it would be the extra I needed.
When I looked up, there was still a huge, gaping hole between where I was and where I had to be.
I had been treading water for long enough. I was tired. The waves were starting to lap over my head making it hard to breathe. Each one seemed to declare all that I was doing wasn’t making a difference. Why bother?
I was on the verge of letting go and giving in to the storm. In that moment, I saw a respite through the storm – a little something to give me a change to recharge and catch my breath away from the crashing waves.
I never would have thought about WordCamp as a respite or as my port in the storm. It is a weekend packed with going and doing and engaging. Every night I had fallen into bed, too exhausted to even turn on the television or open the computer.
It took some encounters with interesting circumstances after the weekend to help me see that WordCamp had been the port in the storm I had needed in that moment of my life.
Circumstance of the Thunderstorm
Wednesday brings CoWorking Night to HuntsvilleWest in Huntsville, Alabama (sponsored by Urban Engine). I’ve been attending regularly since January, but when you are only attending then it can be easy to talk yourself out of the hour drive.
I determined to lead some writing sessions to help others with their writing journey but also to prompt me to attend. I always love the engagement and interaction, but I have to talk myself into the drive along Hwy 431.
The Wednesday after WordCamp, I began my drive to Huntsville despite the thunder and lightning coming our way. I hadn’t checked the radar that day, but looked like another of the pop-up storms that are all too common in this neck of the words.
Besides, I was leading the event. I determined to be there come hell or high water (or apparently torrential downpour).
I neared our home town, and the rain became so think I could barely see the road. I turned on to a side street to avoid the bulk of the traffic and the faster speeds through walls of rain. Almost as soon as I slowed down, limbs and debris joined the rain.
I took a cue for the chaos and pulled-over. My stopping point gave me a broader image of the passing storm. It amazed me to see how the storm blocked out all of the sun just feet behind it.
I continued to watch the storm move across the water, tearing at everyone and everything in its way. Some people stopped, like I had stopped. Others barreled through despite the danger they created for themselves or the people around them.
Pushing through a storm when you can’t see the next point in front of you is not always the better choice. If they had waited a few moments – just a few moments – then the storm would have passed and travel would have much safer.
Circumstance of the Barge
After the bulk of the storm had moved on and the sun was shining on my side, I pulled back out on to the road. When I came to the intersection, I noticed a tugboat and its barges had pulled into the port.
I have lived in this lake community for most of my life and I have seen my fair share of barges being moved up the Tennessee River. They make waves. They disrupt the tranquil river when they come through.
This time, even the tugboat took shelter in the storm.
I thought about that tugboat the rest of my drive. How often do I think I have to push on because? And let’s be honest, the reason after the because doesn’t matter. It is the fact that I think I HAVE to keep going.
Seeing that tugboat tucked into the port gave me a clear reminder that we are never too big, or two grown up, or too anything to take a moment and find shelter from the storm.
Circumstance of Different
The next day of my week was probably the strangest of all. I have homeschooled three boys for almost 17 years. A couple of years ago, my oldest graduated and started attending college. Last year, my middle son graduated and is starting college. And my youngest son decided he wanted to go to traditional school.
After seventeen years of expected “not normal,” suddenly everything was different. I have never done carline. I have never been in a position where I am not responsible for curriculum for my sons. I have never been free for most of my day – not consistently that is.
I took my youngest to school and for the entire drive home I felt like I wasn’t doing enough. This was the first day and I wasn’t even home yet, but inner accusations had already begun.
Storms don’t always come in the form of thunderheads. Too often the storms we encounter are ones stirred up by inner voices demanding things from us. My inner voice began to whisper it was time to get a “real job.”
I went back to WordCamp – not physically, but I did take some time to write up a review of WordCamp for the WPYall website. Writing about the weekend reminded me of the engagement, the fun, and the friends (new and seasoned) that packed the event. I felt refreshed and the voices were not as loud.
Shifting the focus can often be the perfect shelter to get us through the inner storms.
Circumstance of Helping
After my “rest” in the WordCamp words, I was ready to take on the challenge of my new “normal.” I began working through my tasks from my WhiteBoard of World Domination and a text disrupted my flow. “Do you have some time today?”
Do you ever get those texts where you know that the only answer you can give is “yes”? You don’t have to know the reason or the need, you just know you have to make the time. This was one of those texts.
We sat together and talked. As we shared together, I felt the encouragement growing in me. That’s how encouragement works – the more you give out to others the more it builds up in you. By the time we parted ways, I knew I could do more (even if it was one more thing) and that closer was enough for the moment. Encouragement offers a moment of shelter in the storms of the hearts you encounter.
My circumstances reminded me the power of finding shelter – and also the importance of being the shelter for others. The storms will continue to happen. The waves will continue to come. When you think you can’t go on, stop but don’t give up. Seek shelter from the beating of the storm so you can regain the strength and courage you need to go on.
Need More Peace
Sometimes we need a little extra reminder or an additional dose of calm to get us through that foggy chaos that always seems to be trying to drag us down.
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