I’ve heard it said that, “you’re either going in to storm, in a storm, or coming out of a storm.” I get that. I believe it. I’ve experienced it. Whether you look at the weather, the Bible, or your own personal experiences, we know that life will present us its own trials and conflicts for growth and no one is exempt. Good times don’t last forever, because we need change, a shift in routine, conflict to shape us and mold us into the people we are capable of becoming. Storms and deserts shape you… if you let them. In those moments, you develop your “trust muscles” towards God, you learn to depend on Him, and you are changed by your desert experience.
So, yes, I know this to be true.
But I got thinking.
What if the opposite was also true?
“You’re either approaching a blessing, experiencing a blessing, or going to experience a blessing.”
Does that work?
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not living to “be blessed.” Rather, I’m trying to live to be a blessing and also to appreciate the constant blessings in my life, the everyday breath we breathe, people who love us and who we love, laughter, God’s constant presence…
But, for just a moment, I decided to relinquish the voices in my head that tell me “no, no, no, Melissa; you’re not supposed to think like that. That’s not what God would want-” aka- all the “don’t think for yourself” kind of voices. I waved them out of my mind, if only for a moment, like a fly swatter, saying “just shoo for a minute, will ya?” and thought about it without the dogma of needing to impress others with the shooting darts of “this verse” or “that verse” and embraced my faith from my own free thinking thoughts and experiences of God.
So I’m just merely thinking, reflecting, as Coldplay’s “Up with the birds” plays on in the background of my car.
I totally believe the storm thing. But sometimes I just simply need some encouragement; to know that something good will happen. Some optimism to remind me that life is not just about storms and valleys… storms and valleys… deserts, desert experiences. Suffering. Suffer much… as I think the church has soooo deeply ingrained (at times, “drilled” I think would be much more appropriate) in my head.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think life is all about blessings and I don’t believe in the “prosperity gospel.” I don’t ask God for tons of money (but do ask for enough to get by) and refuse to buy a Cadillac and mega home and say, “look what God has blessed me with!!!” while millions go hungry and homeless tonight.
But I think it’s ok to point out that God’s blessings will come. That there is hope. Optimism. Because we serve a god who uses all things for good. I’m learning to get rid of the harsh religious voices that try to ensnare my thought life, telling me what I’m supposed to think and say and feel and do. And I’m learning just to be me. The child of God, with a sound mind, body, and spirit, that God made. And in the process, I am reminded that it’s ok to delight in blessings. Seriously— it’s ok. Can you imagine giving your best friend a present, watch her sheepishly open it, and squeak out, “uh, thanks!?” and stuff whatever the gift was right back in the box and quickly move onto other things? I’m learning, or rather re-learning, that God is a great giver. The New Year’s Day rainbow that appeared in the sky above my neighborhood. A giver of a “future and a hope,” even when I can’t figure out what the heck it is I’m supposed to be doing with my life some days. Incredible, ridiculous, ab-workout kind of laughter like tonight’s dinner with new and old friends.
So. Storms. Blessings. I think they coincide- and mix together in a catalytic beauty, ordained by God.