I was on a flight recently to Bridgetown, Barbados. I was counting down the hours until I was on the beach and soaking up the sun. It was a beautiful day. The skies were clear. As I looked out of the window I couldn't help but admire and relish in the handiwork of God. And then out of nowhere it seemed like the airplane started doing jumping jacks, mid air. The plane, with its 100+ passengers was bouncing and jolting....at 37,000 feet.
If you’ve ever flown on an airplane, chances are you’ve experienced turbulence at least once. By definition, turbulence is "violent or unsteady movement of air." I'm sure you know the feeling. It's where the plane shifts rapidly, causing your belly to flop and your heart to race. Turbulence. For the average passenger,
it's unpredictable and unwanted.
Has your life ever become turbulent? Been there. How about when your finances, friendships, career, marriage, or emotions hit some rough pockets of air? Done that. What happens when we find ourselves in a season of conflict, chaos, and confusion and it would seem like we're hanging on for dear life?
Here's where it gets interesting.
Consider for a moment that we're all passengers on this airplane called "life." Then, suddenly, the aircraft is forced to face rough air head on. What's considered violent turbulence for me, may be just a bump in the road for you, and just a scratch on the surface for someone else. We're all different and we all process things uniquely. The fact still remains though, people rarely like being pushed beyond their comfort zone. But there is godly wisdom that can be gained even during the most tumultuous seasons of our lives.
Here are 3 practical steps to get you through turbulent seasons.
1) Evaluate your comfort level
Honestly, it won't last forever. Even though it feels like it. There's an old saying, "this too shall pass." This temporary crisis is just that; not permanent. Don't get too comfortable and fall into the trap that where you are now, is where you will always be (See: Genesis 50:20). Trust the plan of God concerning you and this particular season of your life. What principles could He be teaching you? What strengths could God be developing in you?
2) Remain calm and collected
Take a deep breath. Your perception can easily become distorted leading to panic which will eventually lead to irrational behavior. No need to dwell in the "coulda," "shoulda," or "woulda" of your past, missed opportunities, or things beyond your control. This is not the time to allow this sudden shift to overwhelm you with confusion and despair. God is too great and too wise to allow this thing to overtake you (See: Isaiah 43:1-2).
3) Buckle down and take refuge
The psalmist teaches that God becomes a place of refuge in the midst of trouble (See Psalm 46:1). The implication here is that of a place that offers so much familiarity, security, and peace that you immediately become strengthened. It is human tendency to become fearful during times of unease and discomfort, but dwellers seek refuge and protection in the secret place of God. Visitors only stop by occasionally (See Psalm 91:1). Which one are you?
Studies show that airplanes are strategically designed to be able to withstand much more turbulence than they would ever experience during flight. Okay good. That's reassuring... I guess.
But what did it for me on that flight over the Caribbean, was that in the midst of the chaos, turmoil, and uncertainty, I heard over the intercom,
"Ladies and gentlemen, this is your pilot speaking"
and suddenly I remembered who was in control.
Sometimes turbulence is a direct result of your own behavior. Sometimes it's a result of your environment. Sometimes it's really beyond your jurisdiction. However, no matter how turbulent, your Pilot is preparing you for a soft landing. God knows where you are headed and promises to get you from point A to point B safely and right on time.