“Then God said to Noah, ‘Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their wives’ ” (Genesis 8:15-16 ɴɪᴠ).
God calls us out of our grief when He knows we are ready. Often we grow impatient and restless while we wait for life to feel normal again. God alone knows what we are facing and what our “new normal” will look like, so He uses waiting to prepare us. While we are waiting, we need to make sure we are allowing the time to be used to train and equip us for the next steps.
Readiness was revealed to Noah after he received the dove with the olive leaf, evidence of the water receding and earth emerging. Will you be ready when you first see your own olive leaf, a sign of a restored land, an emerging life God has prepared?
You will know it’s time to come out when the familiar patterns of comfort and protection are no longer adequate. Here are a few practical examples of what that could look like for you.
- The relationships in our life are strained. People around us are getting tired of dealing with us.
- We are becoming more and more withdrawn and feel increasingly disinterested in other people.
- Our life becomes very one-dimensional because we are consumed by our storm.
Coming out from your shelter and embracing life are steps of faith. Here are a few suggestions for finding the next step and gaining your footing as you wait and listen for the Lord.
1. Get Back into a Schedule
I am not talking about a highly structured regimen without some flexibility. This is about simple, basic habits that may have fallen by the wayside in the darkness. Get out of bed and make it up. Get dressed and eat something at regular mealtimes. Do ordinary and routine tasks that remind you that you are still alive.
2. Get Back into Fellowship with Others
The longer you withdraw and the more you isolate and remove yourself, the easier it is to stay away forever. Get into church and pick some place in which you can engage and participate. If you will show up when you don’t feel like it and it doesn’t seem important, time and time again God shows up in powerful ways to meet you and encourage your heart.
3. Choose a Time Not to Talk About Your Storm
Give yourself and everyone in your life a break. We wear ourselves out and wear others down when every conversation turns back to the crisis or the effects it has caused. It’s okay to say, “I don’t want to talk about him/her/it right now. I need a time-out.” There are times when your heart and mind need to rest from your circumstances.
4. Make Plans to Do Something You Look Forward To
Engaging in life and looking toward the future may trigger some hard memories or feel like too much effort, but these are signs that healing is taking place.
I am praying you are sensing the presence and call of God to allow Him to lead you out into the new world He has created for you. The only way to get from here to there is to take one step at a time.
Adapted from Life After the Storm by Jan Harrison