How to Sleep in a Storm Under Stress

I have always been a good sleeper. When all my friends talk about their tossing and turning and taking melatonin, I tune out. I can fall asleep nearly anywhere. And naps? I relish my Sunday afternoon naps.

Tomorrow is National Public Sleeping Day.

I wonder if that’s the day Jesus fell asleep in the boat during a storm on National Public Sleeping Day. Okay, NOT! Just kidding!

Seriously speaking, here is the scene, the account of Matthew in chapter eight which says, “There arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves, but he was asleep.” (Matthew 8:24)

How can that be? Jesus asleep in a fierce storm? The disciples were probably dumbfounded that Jesus was asleep in the storm, They panicked and woke Jesus up.

He must have been sleeping pretty hard with all the wind and waves pounding against the boat. Never-the-less, Jesus, replied “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?”

And we know the rest of the story. He commanded the wind and the waves to cease and all was well.

To get the full context of the story you have to read the few chapters before and after. Jesus was just plain tuckered out. He had preached the Sermon on the Mount and went straight to healing the masses that followed him.

After the episode on the sea, it was more of the same. He needed to restore and renew. The storm didn’t seem to bother him and the exhaustion coupled with the noise of the waves lulled him to sleep, at least we could picture it that way.

Sleeping in the middle of a storm seems kinda crazy doesn’t it? When we have a strong wind and rain storm at home, even though I am a great sleeper, it can keep me awake. Imagine being in a boat! The racket would be louder than ever. But here we find Jesus sound asleep.

Jesus asks his companions why they are fearful and chides them for their lack of faith. He doesn’t seem to be concerned about the circumstance they find themselves in the boat and the storm.

Why? Mostly, because he is God, the creator of the water, the waves, and the wind.

There is another lesson for us besides recognizing the power of Jesus in a storm that brings calm and peace to a raging sea.

There is something lodged in between the lines of this story that we would be wise to pay attention to.

Another part of trusting God in a storm, is realizing God sees the bigger picture. (click to tweet).

If the storm doesn’t bother him and he is orchestrating our lives, we can let down our anxiety and actually rest.

Peacefully.

We can take care of ourselves physically and emotionally. Why?

Because the stress of a storm can drain us dry. Leaning into the stress and running crazy letting anxiety and fear keep us from resting is a recipe for disaster. Sleep is important all of the time, but when we are under greater duress it is even more critical so we can cope with what is happening.

Here’s how you can know if you aren’t able to sleep in a storm. Your answer to these questions is your clue.

Do you find yourself not being able to rest because your anxiety level is over the top?

Is stress ruling your mind in the storm so you can’t even take a little nap when you know that’s what you need?

Bingo! How did you do?

Jesus gives us a simple visual we can follow. When our boat is being swamped by waves, we can rest, we can sleep, we can nap, if we believe God is in charge of the wind and waves. He is our anchor. If Jesus can sleep in a storm, we can too! (click to tweet)

Speak to your fear and anxiety this week.

Trust God.

Take care of yourself and take a nap.

You’ll be glad you did and when you wake up, things just might not look as bad. Go ahead, sleep in the storm because Jesus is handling those waves that might be trying to swamp your boat.

Happy National Public Sleeping Day!

Find out more about staying anchored in a storm, cynthiacavanaugh.com/anchored

A Checklist to Take Care of Yourself in a Storm

Storms can knock the stuffing out of us.

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is about Elijah and the storm he faced on Mount Carmel in I Kings 18. He came to the end of himself after his great victory when the prophets of Baal were defeated. After that event he found himself running for his life from Queen Jezebel. She was determined to have his head after he killed all of her idolatrous prophets.

After running for his life, Elijah sat under a tree, ready to die. His exhaustion caused him to forget the faithfulness of God. He was cranky, tired, and hungry and he worried about Jezebel coming to get him. So God sent an angel with some food to restore him. The state of his soul was in disrepair, and he needed to sleep, eat, and get some perspective so he could start trusting God again and stop worrying.

Elijah was just plain tuckered out and wanted to be all by himself. Maybe that’s why he left his servant. He wanted to be miserable all alone. He had been working day and night for God, and all the emotional energy he gave at Mount Carmel defeating the prophets of Baal did him in.

The words of Queen Jezebel elicited fear and doubt, and he decided to tell God he had enough. You notice the Lord didn’t respond to his lament and request to end his life. Instead, God sent him something to eat to strengthen him. Not once but twice in between Elijah’s naps. When the storm takes more than we bargain for, God knows what we need.

He doesn’t beat us up and whip us to get back out and serve. “He knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust” (Psalm 103:14 NLT).

Sometimes to gain a fresh perspective in our lives is to do as Elijah did.

Take a nap.

Eat something.

In other words, take care of ourselves.

God probably chose not to answer Elijah because He knew he was at the end of his reserves, and no amount of convincing would stop his whining until he got some rest.

This holds true especially when we are battling the wind and waves in a storm. We have to recognize when we are at the end and pay attention to our warning signs of being completely done.

When Kevin and I were in the darkest part of our storm, the one statement my counselor and those I was accountable to asked me over and over again, “What was I doing to take care of myself?” I was so caught up in trying to withstand the battering waves that I would forget what taking care of myself even looked like because I was so emotionally exhausted.

I don’t think it has to be all that complicated. We can use this story of Elijah as a basis for creating a checklist of what we should do when we find ourselves on the edge of having a meltdown and being done.

  • Don’t leave your friends behind. Though we don’t know the reason Elijah left his servant behind, it’s never a good idea to isolate ourselves when we are in a storm.
  • Don’t take yourself so seriously when you are empty. ?When you are tired and have pushed yourself past the point of no return, you can’t take yourself too seriously. Your emotions can run away, causing you to worry, fear, and have a pity party. Bundle it up, speak it out, and then let it go.
  • Take a nap! ?Yes, you heard me. When we are sleep deprived nothing works well. We have to make space in our lives for our bodies and our minds to restore.
  • Nourish yourself. ?When I am stressed out to the max—I know this will sound weird—I forget to eat. When I remember, or ?my stomach reminds me, I don’t always choose the best foods. I am working on it even as I am walking through some stressful days the past month.

Seems fairly basic, doesn’t it? Sometimes we make the idea of recharging too complicated. We think we have to run to another country, sit on a beach, and do nothing for two weeks. I am not trying to be too simplistic here, but I believe much of our exhaustion could be thwarted if we paid more attention to our soul and what it is saying to us. Our physical bodies and our emotional and mental states are all connected, and we would be wise to listen.

Once we have gone through the checklist, we then can discover what the voice deep inside of us is trying to communicate and put ourselves in a better place.

Excerpt taken from: Anchored: Leading Through the Storms

All rights reserved. Copyright 2018

Find out more about being anchored in the storm. www.cynthiacavanaugh.com/anchored/

TWEETABLES:

When we are battling the wind and waves in a storm, we need to recognize when we are at the end and pay attention to the warning signs of being completely done.

I was so caught up in trying to withstand the battering waves that I would forget what taking care of myself even looked like because I was so emotionally exhausted.

Don’t leave your friends behind.

Sometimes we make the idea of recharging too complicated.

 

 

When You Have to Wait in a Storm

The word wait has been interrupting my world lately.

In South Carolina last month, I had to wait several hours in an airport because I was one of the hundreds of others caught in a snowstorm and stranded.

I had a stack of boarding passes from being rebooked several times. I nearly sat down and cried at one point because I was weary and wanted to get home. It took two days to make it back home. Fortunately, my good friend Edie, graciously drove an hour and half  to pick me up to spend the night and wait until I could fly back home.

Since then I’ve waited for…

The news from family regarding the health of a parent,

Approval for a massive project I’ve been working on,

The weather to change at the airport last week due to another snowstorm when I was visiting my children,

And nearly 30 minutes waiting on the phone to solve a mix-up online order.

Waiting is a part of life, and yet we despise waiting in our culture.

It sabotages our plans.

It threatens to submerge our joy when we have to wait longer than 5 minutes in a drive-through for our coffee.

We are spoiled and impatient because we don’t like to wait for anything.

We need answers today and solutions immediately.

Unwillingness to wait breeds an anxious heart, especially when we are facing a storm. Uneasiness sets in and paralyzes our hope when we can’t have the answers we need to move ahead. Honestly, I hate to wait, and God brought this to my attention again this morning as I read these verses.

I pray to God-my life a prayer-and wait for what he’ll say and do. My life’s on the line before God, my Lord, waiting and watching till morning, waiting and watching till morning. Psalm 130:5,6 (Message)

I’ve noticed in the Bible that when God repeats himself, it’s like putting a stop sign in the middle of the highway for us to pay attention and wait because we are moving too fast. Waiting and watching till morning is repeated for a purpose. To slow down and not just practice waiting, but also to watch.

The two storms I encountered at the airports caused me to wait and watch. I had no control. I couldn’t make anything move faster. I was forced to wait and watch until something changed so I could get to my destination.

Snowstorms are unpredictable, and they also change radically bringing the unexpected. Storms in life are also uncertain, and they cause us to wait and watch, wait and watch.

We can’t watch for anything if we don’t stop to wait. To slow down and settle into the wait can heighten our anticipation and watch for the answer. Being still and waiting sets us up to watch for God to reveal his will in our situation.

One of my granddaughters stands on the couch and waits by the window to watch for her Nana when we’ve planned a date together. Her parents tell me when I arrive how long she’s been waiting and watching. She knows I am coming and because she is nearly three she doesn’t fully understand the concept of time. So she waits and watches, waits and watches.

When we believe that God holds the answer to our problems in a storm, we can wait and watch just like my little granddaughter because we can believe by faith that he is faithful. He won’t fail and we can trust that what he says is true because he has the best track record.

The next time you are facing a storm, wait and watch, wait and watch.

God is coming, he is never late with the solution, and he promises if we invite him he will come alongside and wait with us, as we wait and watch.

TWEETABLES:

Unwillingness to wait breeds an anxious heart, especially when we are facing a storm 

Being still and waiting sets us up to watch for God to reveal his will in our situation.

God is coming, he is never late with the solution, and he promises if we invite him he will come alongside and wait with us, as we wait and watch.

An Invitation to ~ Anchored: Leading Through the Storms

Let’s face it. Life is hard and full of storms. We can’t escape them because they are inevitable.

My artist friend Staci Frenes, has written a song, Storms. I had to listen to it several times before I could catch the real message of the song. It’s because most songs about storms we hear direct us to find comfort and hope in a storm. I love those kinds of songs.

But I found Staci’s song different in that it is an invitation to not fear the storms in life but rather invite them.

She sings…

I wish you storms,

beautiful storms,

the kind that break you and make you,

more tender than before.

The song goes on to talk about surrendering to everything in the storm because there is a purpose. Beauty can emerge from difficult places in life.

Storms threaten to break us or change us for the better. Sometimes they do both!

I was in this very type of storm that broke me and transformed my life. The darkness gave way to a deeply intimate relationship with God.

I learned what it meant to stand strong in a storm when life rages all around. Jesus became the one sure anchor to hold onto. And yet it brought me to the place I am today and I am grateful.

Which brings me to my invitation to you…

Part of my story of the storm I encountered has landed in my latest book, Anchored: Leading Through the Storms. I’ve lived most of my life in roles of ministry and leadership. My desire in telling my own story and the stories of others, is to bring a message of hope to other ministry leaders and influencers of how to stand strong in adversity and keep your integrity.

Anchored is a book that will equip all believers with biblical and leadership principles necessary to maintain influence and courageously remain anchored to the Rock-Jesus Christ.

I would be so honored if you would consider praying about joining the Anchored Book Influencers Team.

Although it will require some strategy to get the message out, I promise you we will also have some fun!

Spaces are limited, and if you are interested check out:

www.cynthiacavanaugh.com/anchored/  

You can find all the details and fill out a brief application to be considered for the Anchored Dream Team.

My publisher will be announcing the Anchored Influencers Team on February 12th. And a few days later you will receive an advance copy in the mail before the release date on March 19th.

If you can’t join me, you can participate in the party online when you see a post on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Just sharing a post or two helps get the word out.

I will also be doing a series on my blog with free resources on this topic so stay tuned!