I’m sitting here with my eyes on the computer screen and my ears tuned to the weather channel, wondering if Tropical Storm Hermine will soon leave us here in the Hill Country or if we have more wind and rain yet to come. It has trimmed our trees and shrubs, filled our creeks to overflowing, uprooted a wonderful old chinaberry tree nearby and disrupted our electricity for a while as it travels up from the Gulf of Mexico through our state. While I’ve been watching the weather the past few days, I’ve also talked with people who are facing some significant life challenges. I’ve been battling wind and rain while they’ve been battling health concerns, financial strains, relationship struggles, job loss, depression, anxiety and spiritual battles. Storms. They’re all around us. In the Gulf of Mexico, in our businesses, in our homes and in our minds and hearts. Stirring. Challenging. Threatening. I’m reminded of a phrase I first pondered as we dealt with the impact of past hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike. Storm fatigue. I think we experienced it then as we struggled with the aftermath of those storms and I believe many of us are dealing with that same kind of stress as we battle other storms in our lives. Think about the way we deal with weather-related storms, particularly those that strike one right after another. We hear about a possible threat approaching and we quickly prepare to protect ourselves and deal with whatever is coming, whether we choose to leave or stay to face it head on. We consult with experts to understand what to expect and we gather resources. We’re ready. Then the storm hits, or, perhaps it passes us by. And we breathe a sigh of relief, “We made it.” We put away the supplies and get on about our lives. Then, we hear about another storm approaching. “Oh, no. Here we go again.” Time to gear back up for whatever is coming next. Tiring. Stressful. Discouraging. We find ourselves wondering, “Can we fight another battle? Weather another storm? Deal with another challenge?” Life is like that for many of us. Storms come. We find a way to weather them. We breathe a sigh of relief as things settle down. Then, we turn around and find something else approaching. “Now, what?” Do we gear back up and prepare? Can we? We want to deal with whatever comes along, however, we struggle to find the energy to fight again. Fatigue can easily set in. Will we give in and give up? Or, will we press on and face whatever may come. How have you weathered storms in the past? I remember when we faced Hurricane Ike two years ago. We had a choice. We could ignore it. We could let our concern spin into fear and panic that might prompt us to make improper decisions or no decision at all. Or, we could resolve that with God’s help we would get through whatever was to come. As much as the storm itself, the attitude we chose to embrace determined our steps. We had to look within for determination, courage and focus to assess and make wise choices. We looked around for information and support. Most importantly, we turned to the Lord for guidance and protection. We moved from uncertainty about survival to belief in recovery. Then the storm came. We didn’t know how it would impact us, but we pressed on, placing our faith in God’s protection and provision. In that assurance, we found courage and strength. And we supported each other with our supplies, our physical help, our prayers and our encouragement. Perhaps that’s a blueprint for dealing with whatever storms come our way. First, choose a positive attitude, confident we will get through whatever storms we face. Then gather information and seek guidance from experts. Identify support systems to give and receive help. Take care of physical and emotional needs. Most importantly: call on God and claim his promise to stand beside us, guide our steps and carry us through whatever life brings. The thunder is rumbling, the wind is blowing, the storm is threatening, and I’m tired. But it will be okay. God will see us through. Nancy Williams, LPC is a licensed counselor, life coach, speaker and writer. Send comments to her at www.nancywilliams.net.

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