A violent disturbance of the atmosphere with strong winds, usually rain, thunder, lightning or snow; or a tumultuous reaching, an uproar or controversy. So what am I talking about? Can you guess? Yep, this can be defined as a storm. I’m sure like me you all have come across some storms in your life.
You may call them challenges, obstacles, troubles or even stress, but no matter what you choose to call them, they are basically storms. Storms can be heavy and often times weigh down on your heart and spirit, causing you to become withdrawn from others or perhaps slip into a deep depression. And during this holiday season, this is when we at times let the storms in our lives get the best of us. This is the time of year when the suicide rate is really high, because people feel like they just don’t know what to do so they feel like the best thing they can do is to take themselves out of here. However, that is not the answer. I’ve been through some storms in my life and believe me, it hasn’t been easy.
So what do you do when you are feeling the pressure of a storm weighing on your heart? Well, one of the things that I just started doing is a “prayer closest.” Have you heard of that before? Well, I took one of my walk-in closets and turned it into a prayer closest. Every day I go into the closest with my favorite candle, posted notes and a pen. What are the posted notes for? I use them to write down my specific, and I mean specific prayers and post these little notes on my wall. I use the candle which has one of my favorite scents – grapefruit to help me relax. I close the door to my closest and it’s just me, my candle and my posted notes. I relax, breath and be still. In my stillness I just start talking to God and telling him what’s on my mind. I talk to him as though he was physically sitting in the closet with me. I don’t have a time limit on how long I’m in the closest, but I take my time and I get everything off my chest that is on my heart, mind and soul. I go into my closest every day either in the morning, after I work out or at night before I go to bed. This is my time with God. Let’s face it God is the ONLY one who can answer your prayers and help you through your storm. Now, the key to putting your prayers on the wall is that this is not something mystical and magical that is going to happen. I have faith and I know that all of the prayers on my wall will be answered. However, there is a catch…you want to know what it is? I will tell you. The catch is that while God will answer all of my prayers, I don’t know when or how he will decide to answer them, that is the catch. So you have to remind patient and faithful and send those prayers up to God every day until they get answered. Also, the comforting thing for me is knowing that God loves me and wants and knows what’s best for me. Therefore, my prayers will be aligned with his will for me and his will for the other person that I could perhaps be praying for. That’s right, I said the other person I could be praying for. The reason why I just said that is because the prayer closest is not just about me. It is about praying for other people too. Which brings me to this, while you are in the midst of your storm take the time to step outside of your mental space, out of your own feelings and think about how you can be a blessing to someone else. Not sure what I’m talking about? Let me give you an example.
I was in the gym in my complex by myself the other day. I had a lot on my mind about some things that I’m dealing with. I had my headsets on and I was jamming to the music. It was loud in my hear and I was on the treadmill. I was in a zone. Typically when I’m working out, I use this time to work out my body, but I also use this time to alleviate stress and think. My mind tends to just race with all kinds of thoughts. So…this elderly lady comes into the gym and I saw her lips moving so I assumed she was talking. Well she was talking to me, but I had on my headsets so I couldn’t hear her. She then realized that I didn’t respond to her and kind of got a bit closer to me and said “Good morning!.” I gave her this look I’m sure that said, ” Why the hell are you talking to me when you see that I am wearing headsets and I can’t hear you.” I took my headsets off and said good morning back and told her, “I couldn’t hear you. I have on headsets.” But I was so annoyed that she was bothering my flow, she said, “Oh, oh I’m so sorry for disturbing you.” Then she went on to continue talking to me by saying, “How do you like this snow?” Again, I was a bit annoyed that she would continue to talk to me while I’m wearing my headsets. I responded by saying, “it doesn’t bother me because I’m from Cleveland .” She could tell that I was irritated and just said, “Oh OK. Enjoy the rest of the weekend and happy holidays.!” After she said that to me, I went over to where the free weights and the other weight machines were and got back in my zone again. Then a funny thing happened, I started feeling bad at how I treated the woman because I was all in my feelings, in my FLOW. This nice woman was just trying to be polite and strike up a conversation with me. She didn’t mean any harm.
The woman then finished working out on the bike and she went to the weight machines. She was clearly struggling with some of the equipment. As I watched her struggle with one machine, I took off my headsets and went over to help her. She appreciated my help and asked me to help her on the other two machines… I did. After I finished helping her, I started putting on my coat and scarf so that I could head back to my place. I guess the woman enjoyed the short amount of time that I spent with her because she said, “No, are you getting ready to leave?” I said, “Yes mam, I’ve already been here an hour so it’s time for me to go.” She said, “Oh OK…well it was nice meeting you. Have a great rest of the day and happy holidays again!” I said, “Thanks and you too!.”
The moral of the story is this, for those 5-10 minutes that I spent with that woman I did not even think about what was going on in my life. It actually felt good to take the attention off of myself and put it on someone else. That is the key…I know it can be hard at times, but another way to help navigate through the storm is to help someone else out. Be a blessing to someone else. You will be surprised how doing that will help heal your heart, mind and spirit even in the midst of your storm.
Do you have a prayer closest or a place where you can be still with God?