I can’t help but giggle sometimes at the news reports of wild weather storms. The weatherman is barely standing. Wind and waves are violently walloping against him. Meanwhile the other television host sits comfortably from her warm studio with perfect lipstick saying, “Weatherman Joe, can you please explain the storm situation right now?”
Weatherman Joe begins to yell while dodging debris and flying tree branches “Well, as you can see anchor woman Wendy, it’s pretty windy out here…”
Really, Joe, really?
Lately, I have been feeling a bit like Weatherman Joe, standing in the midst of a violent storm; debris flying at my head, waters rising to my knees, my balance being tested by gale-force winds and all the while remaining calm because for me there is this peace, this calm in my spirit that just won’t buckle.
I asked my friend SARAH BALL to guest post about how she copes with a chaotic world. Sarah is a mental illness survivor. She’s the author of Fearless in 21 Days, speaker, blogger. She has appeared on national television programs and has been published in several Christian publications sharing her powerful story from panic to praise.
I wasn’t always this steady, in-fact several years ago I was completely blown over by a severe mental breakdown. After a series of intense life events and stressors I lost my balance and was completely overtaken by an anxiety disorder, panic disorder, OCD and suicidal depression.
As my world fell apart my mind, body and spirit followed suit.
This breakdown was out of my character as I had always been a very strong, independent and driven person.
I was a mom of five children, a ministry leader; I had a great husband (still do) and a ministry. But, you can have it seemingly all together and seem as tough as nails but the minute your foundation is tested through life’s storms it can plummet rather quickly.
Hence, Jesus’s promptings to build your house upon the rock!
I have learnt through great trials and testing that with a proper footing in who I am, where I am going, who God is, what he has done already and what he promises to do – I do not have to fall apart when the world around me does.
So how can you hold yourself together when this world seems to be falling apart?
In our recent decade we have been more connected through media to the suffering around the world. Lately we have all been aware of the recent storms, tragedies and trials around the world.
Even if we have been sitting safely in our cozy offices watching reports from afar, we have all been directly or indirectly affected by vicious hurricanes, raging fires, rumors of war, economic crisis’ and the recent jaw dropping horror of Las Vegas.
Friends, this is one heck of a storm.
During all this far off chaos, I personally have had my husband in the middle of the raging forest fires keeping the communications up for the EMS. I have been very close to losing both my mother and mother-in law to severe health issues/accidents.
We’ve have spent a good portion of the last few month in and out of hospitals.
I have been sick, have had teenagers being teenagers, a full-ish time job, book edits due and I BROKE MY TOE!!! “The weather out here is really bad, Wendy!!!!!!” but… It is well with my soul and I have been indescribably joy filled lately and excited for what God is going to do.
Have you had personal stressors lately? Are you walking in joy or in despair?
I am no Polly Anna by nature, but through my severe breakdown so many years ago, I received a beautiful gift in my overall healing package – an ability to stand fearless despite my circumstances.
It’s not easy but I work hard at it and it has become a discipline in my everyday journey because I never want to go back there again.
Let me share with you how I have learnt to hold myself together when the world is falling apart.
When My World Is Falling Apart
1. I use rest as a weapon!
In my book – Fearless in 21 Days: A Survivors Guide to Overcoming Anxiety (Chapter – 5) I learnt to up my rest and self-protection when I am going through trials. Physically I rest more and I force myself to let go of extra responsibilities. I guard what I watch (no news reruns of tragic events) and keep myself from toxic people (people who rerun their own tragic events). I try my best to let go of trying to control or strive my way out of difficult circumstances.
2. I declare!
I used the Word of God to rebuild my fragile foundation. And now I use it to repair and maintain my foundation. When I sat next to my mom and had a very sobering conversation about what to do if she passed, I began to declare out loud God’s goodness, His faithfulness in our lives, how He was with her and us, and how His plans for us are good no matter what happens. Declaring it meekly, internally was one thing. But to speak it out loud in the midst of my trials was one of the most empowering stances I took. (P.S.– she made a miraculous full recovery!)
3. I live with vision & purpose.
I know my purpose. I didn’t always know my purpose and in the midst of traumas or trials I walked blindly. Without vision we perish, not because we are useless so God punishes us. Its when hardship comes we so easily fall into despair and hopelessness because we have no where to go. Vision and purpose is like the lighthouse beam in the fog. I no longer hit the rocks when I am oppressed, instead, I just inch my way towards the light and God is always there.
4. I know what the worst-case scenario is.
When my mother-in law recently had a very serious life threatening accident, I sat my children down. When I saw the fear and sadness wash over them I asked them the same question I always do. “What’s the worst case scenario?” and they instantly smiled and piped up “Jesus!”
I know, I know, I promise you. I’m not a Polly Anna but in all seriousness, I know that in any circumstance, in any storm and in watching any violent rampage unfold that the worst-case scenario is Jesus. My best friend of 27 years died of breast cancer. I knew and declared that on that day, the day we were having the worst day of our lives, that she was having her best day. Jesus was her worst case. Learning not to fear death because of my strong foundation in Christ keeps me stable when the terror of life tries to swallow me up.
5. I purposefully “strengthen myself in the Lord.”
When I feel a cold coming on, I have a bottle of vitamin C in one hand and a handful of Echinacea in the other. I do what I can to strengthen my immune system before the cold worsens.
So often when we are hit with crisis we put on our superman/woman ‘to-do’ hats and run around frantic trying to control and anxiously understand what is happening. We try to fix everything! Control everything! Be everything to everyone! It’s like trying to clean the house and get extra work done knowing you’re getting sick and won’t be able to get out of bed!
My Strengthening Playlist
I have learned to put on the armor of God fully by purposefully strengthening myself in the Lord. I sit in quiet and ask God to guide me in this, to be my strength.
In the morning, throughout the day and moments in the evening I strengthen myself in the Lord by listening to worship music that amplifies who He is. I call it my strengthening list. Here is a copy of my playlist for your moments of strengthen! Link to my Strengthening playlist here.
In this life we will have trouble but Jesus has overcome the world. Let’s not be people who are so easily thrown into despair the minute trials and tribulations come. We need to stand fearlessly because we have worked hard to keep our foundation strong!
Sarah E. Ball offers fearless hope to many through her blog, online courses, speaking, and writing, sharing practical tools and Biblical truths for overcoming anxiety, depression, and OCD. Sarah lives in Alberta, Canada, with her husband, Kevin, their five children, and their puppy, Meadow. You can visit her blog at saraheball.com or on Facebook.
APPLICATION: Please leave a comment for Sarah below. Thank you.
I write to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.
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