But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”
Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Peace, be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”
Mark 4:38-40 (NKJV)
Our pastor has been preaching a sermon series the past few weeks entitled “Responding to Life’s Storms.” For three weeks I have been leaning in, listening and taking notes about how to identify the appropriate response to the storms I face in this life.
The first message was all about taking action; stepping out in faith and doing things we never thought we could, just as Peter did when he walked on water. The next was about letting Jesus in; about seeing him and knowing his voice and giving him space to step into our lives and perform miracles.
But it was the third week that resonated most with me. The topic of rest is one that I’ve never really handled well. I’m a chronic overachiever and do-gooder, and intentional rest is something that has always gotten stuck in my craw. I have also spent the last four years struggling with chronic pain and fatigue so when I have the stamina to do, I can’t justify sitting still.
Something about the way I’m structured lends itself to feeling most successful when I’m on the move. If the calendar is full then productivity is a given, right?
Over the last few months, we’ve been struggling with a general sense of pressure to perform and lack of real rest in our household. This school year has not been an easy one for my two youngest kids, work for the Saint has been less than encouraging, and our calendar is perpetually full of color-coded reminders of things to be done. I have noticed that I have begun to organize my organizers and still can’t find the time, space, or energy to have a date night with my husband.
As I sat reading the last few verses of Mark 4 during the sermon on Sunday, I was struck by the thought that I am no different than the disciples in the boat during this particular storm. There was undoubtedly a roar of wind and water all around them. They were traveling between miracle moments and were feeling overwhelmed, afraid, and ill-equipped to survive the raging tempest they were facing. And there was Jesus, asleep on a cushion–comfortable, restful, blissfully unconcerned with the noise around him. And all because He knew that the wind and waves obeyed him and not the other way around.
Our family has experienced some incredible miracle moments of our own in the last year and a half; and there are, without a doubt, more to come. But right now, we are in the boat, between those events on which powerful testimonies are built, surrounded by other travelers, and frankly, a little intimidated by the noise.
“You have the same authority to calm the wind & waves, within you, that Jesus had.”
Pastor Jason Huffman-Pneuma Life Church
There it is. The heart of the issue…I have the authority, but will I tap into it?
Countless hours have been spent praying for how to provide the emotional, spiritual and mental pause my family so desperately needs this season, and there it was right in front of me. All I have to do is say the words.
“Peace, be still.”
I get to say “stop” to the noise that is serving as more distraction than lesson at this time. My husband and I are empowered to identify and secure the happiness anchors we need in this season to keep our ship afloat. We are allowed to rest in the middle of the chaos just as Jesus did.
Now, before you go wondering if that means we plan on dropping everything and everyone on our journey toward calm, I want to assure you that we are not. Just as the disciples were committed to following Jesus during his earthly ministry, we are committed to the very same with everything He’s asked us to do.
There are some things that we value much and the privilege we have to serve is one of them. Our family, friends, each other…those are also incredibly precious to us. But the extra things? Those things that don’t define, encourage, teach or inspire us? Those will be on pause for a season.
We love the extras. We do.
But when those things begin to prevent us from investing in our marriage, our children, or our spiritual development, they are no longer helpful additions but distractions that threaten our joy and peace because they take from the very things that fuel us on our journey with God.
So, for this season, we’ve decided to hush the wind and waves by taking authority over our calendars and saying yes only to those things that are necessary for our family to thrive in this season. Maybe a little rest will inspire even more miracle moments in the next.