You are the storm. I wonder if you know that.
Not so many years ago, if you’d have asked me, in the absence of this quote, if I was the storm, I’d have said no. In fact, I’d have told you I was the opposite. I would say I was the one trying to calm the storm, fix it, make everything good around it. I was the one swallowing the storm.
Back then, I was focussed on external storms, the kind that distract and diminish you. The kind that make you forget who you really are because you’re focussed on the outside, always anticipating and on guard. The kind that make you feel powerless.
I saw the quote above on the jumbotron at a Carolina Hurricanes hockey game. I’m always joking with God that I’m a frying-pan-upside-the-head kinda girl and He needs to put His messages on billboards so I won’t miss this them. So He did. At a time when I was ready to absorb the meaning, He put what I needed to see in a place I couldn’t miss it, on the anniversary of my father’s death at the perfect event to celebrate his life. A hockey game. Say what you will, but I see this as no coincidence. (If you’re new here, check out prior pieces I’ve written about my dad, the incredibly strong and positive hockey man, and our extraordinary bond that has continued even after his death).
The moment I read this quote, I swear I felt something rise inside of me. It was like unlocking a box that contained a treasure I didn't know was mine. I’m quite sure it had been there all along, waiting for me dig deeply enough and remove enough layers to finally discover it. The storm inside of me. My own power. I wonder if yours has lain dormant, too, a mutual buried treasure.
This storm that resides inside is nothing like those turbulent beasts on the outside. The family fights. The addiction. The eating disorders. Divorce. A brutal diagnosis. Kids. Betrayal. You name it.
Being the storm doesn't mean getting big and loud and going up against the external. Instead, the internal storm is power for good, used, not to affect another, but to stay firmly grounded and true to ourselves. It reminds us that we don’t have to get sucked into the howling winds of people and circumstances around us. We can take a step back.
When we are not afraid of life's figurative storms, when we see ourselves being as strong as what we face or even stronger, and we know we will get through no matter how hard or painful, when we forge on despite our circumstances, this is being the storm. It is more than surviving or enduring. It is knowing we will be delivered wiser and stronger on the other side of struggle. It is believing in ourselves and trusting in our God.
Being the storm is also knowing we have the power to make choices. We can lay boundaries. And enforce them. We can speak our truth. We can be who we really are no matter what anyone else says or thinks or expects.
Being the storm means we will not quit. Yes, we will struggle. We will weep. We will have nagging doubts and fears that we must quell. We may wonder why. Why us? But then we remember to dig up the treasure box and open it wide. We remember we are the storm.
Being the storm comes from tapping into something big inside of us. People put an array of labels on it. Call it whatever you want. I call it the Holy Spirit. Jesus. God Himself. And me. Little old me. The storm. Because I’m part of it too. Yes, God leads the way and is the source of my strength. But I must be willing to follow. And trust. And do all the rest of my part. I must recognize the power within and use it. I must be the storm.
Since I have awakened to this, I stand more strongly anchored than ever before. It's the result of an excavation of self and the accumulation of hard-times-endured merging with a new belief in my own role in that endurance. But even so, it’s so easy to forget all of this, to fall back to fear and worry and anxiety. We just have to remember the power that is ours.
Rest assured, Underdogs, you are the storm. And so am I. If only we dig deep and believe. If only we choose to be.