As part of a Bible Study assignment, we were discussing the oft repeated one-liners spoken in our home over the years. The exercise was to consider the things you have heard in your home, and then evaluate those thoughts from a Biblical perspective.
We listed several of the ones we could think of that had become part of the family mantras:
Dunns are different.
Make good choices.
Nothing good happens after midnight.
It’s not what happens to you, it’s what you do with it.
Attitude ‘A’ everyday!
Be a blessing and be blessed.
Leave a place better than you found it.
Be part of the solution not the problem.
Remember, you are an ambassador for Christ.
As I have repeated these over the years, they have become an ingrained part of who I am. They are very useful in combatting the repetitive negative impressions that sometimes bombard me, crush my spirit, or derail my progress. Having uplifting and encouraging maxims in my mental storage drive, I can pull out and use them to replace the defeatist and damaging brain chatter. That chatter can also be like a computer virus needing precision treatments of the right applications. At times I have to work harder at the exchange and remind myself that even if I can remove the virus, healing can take a bit more time.
“Mom, Kipp slammed his finger in the car door. We are on our way to the emergency room,” my son, Buck called to tell me. By the time I arrived at the emergency room, the hollering had passed, and they were laughing about the ordeal, trying to come up with a good story to tell. The finger was broken and Kipp was told he had to refrain from any activity that might use his hand until he was evaluated by an orthopedic surgeon. As we drove home, we talked about the possible limitations that might come about as a result of his injuries. It wasn’t pleasant to think about because of the activities he was involved with, but we both thought simultaneously about the new saying he had added to our repertoire, “Storms will come in life, but without rain, we’d have a drought.”
Not long after, I was dealing with a bit more rain as heightened pain in my joints and foot had been plaguing me for about a week. While walking it out, I thought about the saints that I know and admire who deal with excruciating or debilitating pain or ailments. I prayed for them, thanking God for their demonstration of His grace in their lives. I longed to be as resolute and strong. However, I was feeling beaten and broken as the nausea and depression from the pain persisted. Though I was pulling out my weaponry of precepts, the desolate dip in my disposition did not want to be routed out. I had been months without pain medication of any sort as I am seeking to cleanse and purge my body using an assortment of natural approaches. Would I break down now? Was this a healing crisis that was necessary and productive? I needed some encouragement. So I sent a text to a friend joining me through this natural healing process.
“I am considering taking pain killers for my foot. Please talk me out of it.”
The conversation went back and forth, and she helped me think through my options. It was a difficult night. When I am hurting, I prefer to be left to fight it on my own without lots of questions or input unless I ask. But with all the wincing and facial expressions I was making, my family couldn’t help but ask me, “Are you alright?” I’d like to say that the family adages listed above are examples of how I responded, but unfortunately, I submitted more to my pain than the Holy Spirit and so was not so positively pleasant or wittingly wise. I am thankful for the patience and understanding of my loved ones.
My point is, storms will come, and thank God for the rain because without it we cannot grow. However, we need to be proactive in preparing for the storm so that the right things grow. Sometimes we need extra help in the midst of a storm, and sometimes we have to clean up after one. Be ready for the storm by preparing ahead. Be sure you have a good selection of pithy positive sayings that you can use in your self-talk conversations. I believe the best of those are Biblical encouragements and promises. Know when you need to reach out for help from others or for additional resources. No one is immune to this need because we were created for relationship. Forgive yourself and others when you or they don’t deal effectively with the storm, and ask forgiveness too. Not everything is delightful. That said, delight is quicker to return and more likely to be a part of who you are if you face the storms prepared, connected, and able to soak up the rain.