5 Attitudes That Help You Navigate the Storms of Life

Friday, February 1, 2013

Imagine with me for a moment that you just purchased a sailboat. You have been saving all your life for this moment and you've finally achieved your goal. You've always dreamed of owning one and now your dreams have come true. Only you never take it out on the water, but keep it safely moored to the dock because you don't want to risk damaging her in a storm. You are content to just admire her as she sits calmly docked. That would be foolish and would be a huge waste of your investment. Nobody would be dumb enough to do such a thing. However, that is how many Christians live their lives. Like that boat, they never venture out into the open waters of life for fear of storms. They have experienced a few storms and maybe even a hurricane or two, and they find it is much safer to stay on dry land. The threat of a storm keeps them tied up. Their fear of what might happen robs them of what lies ahead. They miss opportunities and are robbed of deep relationships with other people. They never go forward and stay the way they have always been. All because they fear what may happen. Their perspective, or attitude towards life, is crippling them. The storms are really not the problem. It's their attitude. What we think about life determines the outcome. It's all about attitude. Read on to discover 5 attitudes that will help you navigate life's storms.

#1 - Storms are a fact of life. 

You can't avoid them, even if you choose to stay tied to the dock. In fact, the dock is the worst place for a boat to be during a hurricane. It risks getting smashed against the dock. Everyone faces storms in life. Remembering this simple truth is a first step to overcoming your fear of them.

#2 - Storms are not the reality of everyday life. 

Storms come and go, but they don't last forever. While we are in the midst of the storm, it is easy to get overwhelmed by it because that is all we can see. But we have to remember that not too far above those clouds is blue sky. That storm is not the sum of my life. The key is to not get focused on the storm. Once the storm passes, some people spend their time under the calm, blue skies fretting about the next storm that might come. This is not the way God intended us to live. Colossians 3:2 says, "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things." The next time you face a major storm in your life, focus on the one who calms the storms rather than the storm itself.

#3 - Storms make you stronger. 

People that have great character, are full of Godly wisdom and have a healthy attitude toward life are not those who have avoided storms. Rather, they are people who have been through their fair share of hurricanes in life. Their depth of character, wisdom and attitude are a result of storms. Embrace the storms of life. They will make you a better person.

#4 - The storm is never as big as you think it is.

I had some experiences with storms while living in Colorado that taught me some lessons about life. I experienced some of the scariest storms I've ever witnessed during those ten years. One moment it would be clear and sunny and then suddenly, there would be 60mph winds and swirling dark clouds with thunder and lightning. Then just as suddenly, it would be silent. I quickly learned that this was a very bad sign as this was an indicator of a severe hail storm or worse yet, a tornado. We spent a few summer afternoons huddled in our basement due to a tornado warning. We never did have a tornado hit and those storms usually lasted maybe 15 minutes or so. The same goes for the storms in life. Yes, they are scary at times, but they always blow over and never seem to be as bad as they looked.

#5 - Don't try and navigate the storm alone.

Without God at the helm of your life you risk capsizing or running into the rocks. Let God control the direction and course of your life. With Him at the controls you have nothing to worry about. But you have to let go of the steering wheel. Letting go in the middle of a hurricane is one of the hardest things to do, but you must if you want to survive. Contrary to the popular bumper sticker, God is not my co-pilot. He and he alone is the pilot of my life and he doesn't need a co-pilot. All I need to do is relax and let him do the driving. It's much safer that way.

If we live by these 5 principles, we will be able to navigate any storm that life may throw our way. It's all about attitude. Yes, it is risky to venture out into open water, but staying moored to the dock won't keep you from storms either. Cast off and enjoy the ride. Just remember that God is right there with you.

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