11 Aug Learning to Dance in the Rain
There is a magnet on my refrigerator that says, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about that message lately, because in my little corner of the universe, it’s not just raining—it’s monsoon season. It sounds lovely, learning to dance in the rain. But, what do you do when it’s not a gentle spring rain but a torrential, gale-force storm that is swirling in your life? How do you dance in that? Four words come to mind:
Patience. Persistence. Positive. Prayerful.
I suppose we could call them “The Four P’s,” and I don’t know about you, but I find that I can’t be reminded often enough that these four attitudes need to be central to my approach to life, especially when it’s raining. So, as a reminder to us all:
How patient are you? In traffic or with your children? Waiting on return phone calls that never seem to come? With the airline employee after your flight has been delayed? It is so easy to excuse impatience—I have things to do! I am on a schedule! My time is valuable! Notice that the focus is always on the self when impatience surfaces—I am inconvenienced, I am not getting what I want when I want it, someone is not acting the way I want them to act. Hmm….it’s not a very pretty pattern, is it? Cultivating patience takes a lifetime. Patience is developed one interaction, one incident, one setback at a time. We have a choice about how we respond to the person or situation in front of us. Will we react impatiently or will we be peacemakers, show kindness and think of others more than ourselves? Or, will we be patient?
How persistent are you? When life is difficult and the challenges just keep coming…and coming…and coming, do you continue to do the right thing, continue to work hard, continue to show up and engage? Yes, there are times we will certainly feel like giving up. We will be tired. We will be discouraged. But, when we choose in precisely those low moments to keep going, keep at it, keep trying, that is when our character is honed as people who persist and persevere.
How positive are you? Hope, trust, and generosity are the marks of people who are positive in the face of life’s challenges. Some people are by nature more “glass half-full” kind of folks, but even for those who aren’t, being positive is a skill we can learn. It helps me remain positive when I ask, “How is God at work here?” rather than the never-satisfying question, “Why me?” I am more positive when I focus on someone else rather than my own concerns, when I exercise, when I ask for help, when I laugh, and when I allow myself the comfort of others’ encouragement (which means I have to share my burdens rather than maintain the “Superwoman” masquerade.) God loves me and God is at work. These are two truths I cling to when the storm rages, and they are enough to keep me positive and afloat.
Finally, are you prayerful? Even if my prayers are more groans than coherent thoughts, they are prayers nonetheless and God is listening. God is present and God cares about what is grieving me. In prayer I can pour it all out—or simply trust that God “hears my tears” when words fail me. The important thing is staying in relationship with the One who loves me. No matter how torrential the downpour, I am not dancing alone.
Yours for the Kingdom,