5 Things to Remember During Life's Storms
Are you in the middle of one of life's storms? Or, know someone who is?
BY: Dr. Steve McSwain
One of today's headlines reads, "Record Breaking Storm," referring to the approaching tropical storm Chantal. Sometimes, they are. Most of the time, they're not. But, any of the time we're going through a storm, we should remind ourselves, "This, too, shall pass."
4. Storms change things. Reflect much on them. Live into them fully.
I was thinking of this recently when viewing the wreckage left from the mile-wide tornado that recently swept through Moore, Oklahoma. Storms have a way of wrecking things in your life but, if you think about it, out of that wreckage emerges what's really important. If you listen to the survivors as they stand in the middle of what's left of their demolished homes, you'll hear them talk about those important things that no storm could ever blow away.
Out of the inner crisis of faith, for example, that was unleashed with my father's death, there appeared a whirlwind of questions and doubts. I was scared by them at first. Slowly, however, I realized that my questions...even my doubts about my faith...are not my real enemies. They were instead my kindest friends...even my guides into higher spiritual growth...deeper inner knowing or consciousness itself.
Everything I once believed and most of what I pretended to believe to protect my ministerial position came at me like swirling debris caught by a tornado. When at first I resisted, the resistance seemed only to make the storm worse. When I finally surrendered to the storm, or as I began living into my questions and doubts, I discovered faith beyond beliefs was born.
Today, I am more Christian than at any other time in my life. But not because I've finally come to my senses and returned to Church. And, certainly not because I finally got the "belief" stuff correct and now know what I believe.
No, my friend, I know less of what I believe today than ever before. And, the irony is, I am more at peace in the absence of belief than I ever was when I pretended to know exactly what I believed or when I presumed my beliefs were the "correct" beliefs.
The greatest error in Christianity has been perpetrated by a Church that mistakenly thinks it's purpose is to tell people what to believe instead of show people how to live. Until the Church corrects this error, its own storm will rage, its own message will be lost, and its steep declines in membership will continue.
5. A storm is a portal into the sacred. "The secret," as Robert Frost put it, or, we might say, the sacred "sits in the center...and knows."
What does that mean?
For me, the "secret" is the "sacred"...is God.
For you, the "secret" or the "sacred" might not be God. It might be your authentic self instead...that self beyond the little self in you that is attached to the illusory and transitory stuff we mistakenly think of as life itself...your body, your mind, or thoughts, your career or accomplishments and recognitions... the stuff I call your titles, trophies, and triumphs. The stuff of significant importance but to which we unfortunately attach ultimate importance and so occupy ourselves for what Carl Jung described as "the first half of the two halves of life."
It took me several years to get through and beyond the storm that began with my father's death. Today, I regard my father's death as a portal into my own resurrection and life. How could I not be grateful that the storm that began with his death when in reality it resulted in the peace that is my life today? I cannot explain all of that here. But you can read more about those discoveries in The Enoch Factor: The Sacred Art of Knowing God.
Look for the sacred in your storm, my friend. It is there. I promise.
"The secret sits in the center and knows.
That's why it's called, "the eye of the storm."
Dr. Steve McSwain is an author, speaker, thought leader and spiritual teacher. His books and blogs inspire spiritual seekers around the world. He is a devoted follower of Christ but an interfaith activist as well. He is frequently heard to say, in the words of Mother Teresa, "I love all religions; but I'm IN LOVE with my own." Read more from Dr. McSwain on his blog Your Best Life Ever.