How is your faith when the storms of life emerge? Do you have the backbone to withstand them?
We all know the story about Jesus and the disciples getting into a boat and crossing the lake of Galilee. It may be you learned this in Sunday school, or is a chapter that you have read many times over.
After what seemed like a tiring day, Jesus fell asleep and a storm blew across the lake. The winds and waves frightened the disciples. They were outraged and fearful. Despite this, Jesus did not awake. So the disciples awoke Him and exclaimed of their peril.
Do you often race into God’s presence and exclaim your peril to Him?
Of all the woes and worries that have overwhelmed you, where you acquire a fearful attitude to everything that happens to you?
The first thing that our Christ said was, ‘where is your faith?’ I can almost hear God whispering those words to me when I encounter situations that make my heart race and my anxiety rise.
Where is your faith?
- When the doctor tells you news you hadn’t hoped for?
- When your financial situation is the opposite of what you had been expecting?
- When you keep trying but only hit upon closed doors?
God is continuously faithful, however no matter how many times in the past He has answered our prayers or showered us with His favour. When we bump into a new obstacle, we give in to fear. Because we see the crisis as one we have never experienced. And become panic stricken.
This is a test of faith, the disciples were asked by Jesus to cross over to the other side. So often we have to cross from where we are to where we need to be. But in this journey, faith will not exempt us from the surfacing tempest. Though a guarantee we have is that with God no gale or hurricane or whirlwind will overtake us or take us under.
Why does exchanging a fearful attitude for a courageous one require faith?
- Because God is constantly equipping us for the future. This was the lesson for the disciples. Jesus was not going to remain with them forever, so He wanted to empower them for the times where they would have to face persecution, imprisonment or even death. He was telling them to not be afraid because He was on their side (in the boat) no matter what.
- Can you apply this instruction that our Christ was enlightening the disciples to, to your own life and situation? Where it begins with the choice to have faith, to decide to be courageous instead of fearful.
- Like the disciples as the winds arose and the gales blew, our faith is best tested under the trials of adversity. We don’t jump off a plane because the plane flies through turbulence, rather we trust the pilot.
- Whenever you face trials of many kinds, consider this joy, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance (James 1:2-3). Situations can turn bad and distressing times will show up. Where we have the opportunity to go out on a limb and swing our weaknesses to become strengths because we choose to erect our faith.
- The disciples believed the boat was going to sink and maximised their fear by exclaiming their terror. In this moment the presence of Jesus (with them in the boat) was minimised. Even though the boat was filling up with water and they were in danger, the risk of not having Jesus with them would have been greater. Because as we know He arose and commanded the winds and waves to be still. (Luke 8:22-25).
- What was required of the disciples was to grasp the greatness of the One who can calm any disturbance, from the weather to their fearful reactions. To trust in His greatness and presence. The disciples may have felt inadequate and desperate, yet Jesus had never left them. He was right there.
When fearful do you seek your own actions to save you?
With faith, they made it to the other side, because the boat did not sink and their fear was stilled, when Jesus took control over the raging storm that dark night.
- What do you do when life gets blustery, turbulent and stormy?
- How do you navigate your way through the menacing darkness, howling winds and murky waves?
- Does your faith arise above your fear?
Here are 7 practical ways we can adopt a courageous attitude to all these questions if we…
- Embrace the vulnerabilities and face our fears, you often you have the strength to overcome any problem if you adjust your perspective to the calamity that is in front of you.
- Choose to reconstruct what you believe. The patterns you entwine your thinking with are all that separates you from someone who will not allow the pressure and pain strain to engulf them. There stress is reduced leading you towards positive beliefs about your situation and the future.
- Take them to the Master of the Storm; where He enables us to cope with any uncertainty and risk.
- Live purposefully by learning how to react to what is happening while allowing God to continually teach us to trust Him with every part of our lives.
- Realise that pain is not the end or a failing. We can train our brain to become brave if we recognise the value of pain. From life’s hard lessons.
- To do something at least once a week that scares us or takes us out of our comfort zones. When was the last time you decluttered all negative emotions you carry around with you every day. Conceptualise how forgiveness can remodel your life. When you make the choice in every moment today to forgive everyone that has hurt you, you are liberated to open the door to a more affirmative mindset.
- To never stop learning and acquiring the aptitude to become wise, through every trial and testing. You may be stuck with obstacles mounting and difficulties surrounding you at every corner. Why not search for inspiration, by researching tips from exceptional people who have triumphed over what you are going through right now and try apply their advice to your circumstances.
The seasonal changing winds increase at this time of year. And it is fascinating to watch as the spiralling, twisting or weaving currents gently or roughly tear the leaves from the trees. Or whirl and rustle them along the pathway. One thing that always amazes me is when we never apprehend the subtle clues God wafts across our paths each day. If we become attuned to His soft voice.
- Like when we are tired, our bodies are tactfully telling us we need to rest.
- Or when we feel low, our minds are discreetly implying we seek things that will lighten our moods and make us feel happier.
There are many implications we overlook or reminders we evade, but think or all the hints that have disappeared unnoticed by you, because you were too busy focussing on your anxious and fearful attitude. Where you uneasily forgot how to establish one that is courageous, bold and brave.
Just like life, we will encounter road blocks, diversions of traffic and maybe closed road signs, but that doesn’t mean we cannot get home, we simply need to discover a new route.
Start preparing this new route to gaining a courageous attitude…
- Live without thinking of failing.
- Stop the comparison trap.
- Build your confidence by reframing your fears in a simpler way. It is all about thinking in a different way or interpreting the situation, as if you were an outsider that can help you pay attention to innovative ways to cope better.
- Then choose action and go after what you want to eliminate the failure to overcome your fear.
- Start small and keep persevering, it is all about constructing good habits.
- Look to those who have tried and succeeded and take a few tips from the book of champions.
Lastly have the faith to believe that all things are possible. Dynamic attitudes require an interruption to old patterns, replaced by new responses that boost determination and tenacity.
With God you will never fail, but you must enable your faith. No one else can do that for you.
In week three, how can you build a courageous attitude for those fearful circumstances that arrive unexpectedly? I would love to hear from you.