Dealing with Storms
Posted by Rev. Jeff Dixon is the author. Strategies in this section are drawn from a variety of sources and resources on Sep 7, 2004, 16:39
Dealing with Storms
Hurricanes are rough! Over the past few weeks we have survived two of them (Aug-Sept 2004) and I want to forget the expertise I know have about this tropical storm systems with such nasty attitudes…. however I don’t think that is likely to happen for some time.
We are now all experts on how to prepare ahead of time by keeping a watchful eye on tracking the hurricane and stocking up on the resources needed to get through the storm, like flashlight batteries, bottled water, first aid kits and other essential survival supplies.
We have watched out our windows or listened as we hid in hallways the intensity of the storms as they have gone right over our homes! We have been there, done that, and are tired of it….we are stormed out!
What I am wondering is if you finding yourself in a storm induced daze as the storm clouds begin to dissipate? How do we deal with the devastating emotions that come after a terrible storm hits. Emotions like stress, anger, worry, depression, anxiety and panic are common in our lives, but can build up to ultra-high levels after a critical incident, which often can lead to disastrous results.
Natural disasters can destroy entire communities in just a few moments, while the recovery process to rebuild from a major critical incident takes weeks or months to sort through. The more you know about how to survive after the storm, the faster you can
take positive action to get your life back on track.
The most important thing to focus on is this: “DON'T ALLOW THE STORM TO CONTINUE AFTER IT IS GONE!”
Keep this in mind as you begin to sort through the process of stabilizing yourself and those you care about who have been impacted by the storm. During the storm the goal is to be safe while surviving the gale force winds and rain. After the hurricane passes, the goal is to quickly rebuild some sort of normal life. If you get focused on rebuilding, you will be able to spend your energy in positive ways instead of being in a mental fog of confusion, mingled with panic and regret.
Dealing directly with your emotions will reduce tension and stress on you, and allow you to have more energy to deal with a difficult situation. However, if you stuff your fears and frustrations in a disaster like this one, your emotions can quickly blow up without
Here are some practical ways to bring order and calmness after the chaos and confusion that follows a natural disaster like this hurricane…or other catastrophic events.
1) Check in don’t check out!
You have heard the phrase that misery loves company. It is meant to be a witty summary of the way many live lives…but the truth is that when crisis comes you can't get through the crisis alone. Since we all were impacted differently, it is vitally important to talk about the stress and pressures you have experienced with the people closest to you.
This is a Biblical approach as well…Paul knew the importance of this as he sent Timothy to listen, minister, encourage, and strengthen the early church when they were caught in a firestorm of persecution, confusion and pressure. While their storm was different, the lessons are still the same…..
Just checking in to see if they are okay will only take a few minutes, but it will empower and help both of you. Simply talk about what each of you experienced through Hurricane Charley & Frances and how you got through the storm. Take action now to reach out to people with words of encouragement and support, but don't wait for someone else to call you-their phone may not work! Go find them and take the initiative to check in!
2) Same ole’ same ole’
Get back to the routine of life…and do so quickly!
This is one of the most important factors to quickly get life back on track because we all draw strength and security from a structured daily routine. Bed time, dinner time, getting up to go to school, or work, or church or the gym to work out. To regain strength quickly
identify what your normal routines were before the storm-and then get back to them as soon as possible. Even if you are staying in a hotel or with family members for a while, stick with the rituals that you have typically followed that make up your daily lifestyle.
This way you will feel the comfort of your routines, regardless of the stress of the many changes happening around you.
3) The Faith Factor
I will always remember talking to a person who said they were terrified through the storms that have just recently passed and they prayed and asked God for some specific things to help them get to the storm. I was encouraged to hear them talk about how God had answered all of those prayers and they were so grateful….and then amazed to hear a laundry list of excuses of why they hadn’t been able to get to church because they were just so busy putting life back together. I suggested that perhaps a great way to keep life together was to remember the God who helped them through the storm. They agreed that was a great idea and that they would be seeing me at church. Needless to say, I have not seen them yet…
Remember…In times of crisis everyone believes in the power of prayer and the importance of their faith. Plugging back into your faith after the storm will allow you to release anxiety over the things that you know are too big for you, because you can
trust God to handle them.
This is especially important when you or your children may feel lost, alone or afraid. God cares and taking time to pray and release those burdens will help you make it through the rest of your day. I am thrilled at the way CCC Ministries cares for one another in crisis and I am always happy about the way that the church meets the needs of others. Helping others in need is one of the greatest ways people of faith model what they believe, so avoid the tendency of being “too nice” to ask for help if you need it. Having a committed personal faith combined with being connected to the Body of Christ will give you a tremendous sense of community to get through this storm as well as the ones to come.
4) A Whale of A Tale
Young and old alike will benefit from hearing about how other people survived what will likely be the worst hurricane(s) they will ever go through. There is tremendous power in telling your story; it is good for you and for others who will gain insight and strength by hearing how creative people can become through the crisis. As you speak up about what happened, it will make it easier for other family members or coworkers to talk about their feelings of loss as well. Things will never be the same as before, but life will go on and we will rebuild and get through it together. Telling your story now will give you additional strength as well as connect you to the neighbors and friends who tell you theirs.
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