2022 Mood: Sleeping in the Boat

Much like these followers in Mark, we tend to ask the Lord: “God, don’t you care about us!? We’re going down!” All while it seems like God is sleeping…

That day, at evening, Jesus said to his followers, “Come with me across the lake.” 36 So they left the crowd behind and went with Jesus in the boat he was already in. There were also other boats that went with them. 37 A very bad wind came up on the lake. The waves were coming over the sides and into the boat, and it was almost full of water. 38 Jesus was inside the boat, sleeping with his head on a pillow. The followers went and woke him. They said, “Teacher, don’t you care about us? We are going to drown!”

39 Jesus stood up and gave a command to the wind and the water. He said, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind stopped, and the lake became calm.40 He said to his followers, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

Mark 4:36-40

This passage is so interesting. Jesus asks his followers to come with him across the lake and then a storm comes. Let’s pause there.

When we follow Jesus, it isn’t unexpected that we may encounter “bad winds”. Much like these followers in Mark, we tend to ask the Lord: “God, don’t you care about us!? We’re going down!” All while it seems like our Savior is sleeping…

So, for those of us who want to be more like Jesus, are we also called to sleep in the midst of bad winds? That would be a great mood for 2022!

We don’t know what 2022 has to offer, but we do know we can sleep despite the storm. How do we sleep?

Here are 3 mindset shifts that can help us sleep in 2022.

Understand that answers are unnecessary.

While it may seem like knowing what’s going to happen next would be required, the answers actually aren’t all that important. Sometimes, the more we know… the less we understand.

The key to sleeping in the midst of storms is to develop a relationship with the one who does know ( and actually decides) the answers: The Lord. As we grow deeper and more connected with the Lord, we come to know his gracious, kind, gentle, loving nature. This relational knowing is crucial – as storms come, we aren’t swayed because we can rest in the understanding that we are loved and protected, and nothing can ever change that.

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. | Matthew 11:28-29

Keep an eye on the next right step.

Do the next right thing! This is a mindset I try to remind myself of often. Managing the big picture is exciting, but it can be quite overwhelming when lots of things are happening at once.

A simple way to sleep in storms is to just do what’s next. Often, the next right thing to say a quick prayer, take a deep breath, or shed a few tears.

In this passage, Jesus’ followers took the next right step for them and asked for help. Consider taking a moment now to do the same.

Remember how far you’ve already come.

Come on. We can do hard things! We’ve been through storms like this before.

Yes, those are things I say to myself quite often when I’m tempted to quit. I highly recommend reminding yourself of how far you’ve already come. When we remember all that we’ve been through, we become encouraged to pursue another win. We can do this. We’ve done it before.

More importantly: God can see us through this. He’s done it before.

Okay, I’d like to hear from you! What helps you sleep in the boat?

Sit Down Somewhere: Discerning what is Yours To Do

Say it with me: Every problem I see is not mine to address.

Whew! That is a hard fact to accept for those of us that feel called to literally change the world. And even if you aren’t compelled to change the whole entire world, I’d be willing to bet that there are some situations or even (and especially) people in your life that you would be thrilled to change.

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak with a gentleman in my neighborhood. As I was inquiring about lessons he’s learned over the years, he said a common phrase that I heard growing up when myself, my sisters, and cousins were getting a bit rowdy: “sit down somewhere!”

Who knew those three words could be such a powerful motto? Sit. Down.

How can we determine when we need to have a seat?

We can figure this out by looking at the opposite of sitting down: getting up, running around – simply doing too much. Doing too much could also be known as over-extending.

According to good-old Google and Oxford Languages, to “overextend” is to impose an excessive burden of work or commitments. When we over-extend ourselves, we take on an excessive burden.

Here are a few signs of over-extension:

  1. Getting less quality sleep – The key word here is quality. We know we’re getting quality sleep when we wake up feeling rested and ready for the day ahead. On the contrary, waking up feeling drained and still tired is an indication that the sleep isn’t quality.
  2. Lying to yourself and others – This could look like promising yourself that you’ll get to an item on your to-do list or make time for self-care and then continually not doing it. It could also look like agreeing to deadlines that just don’t work.
  3. Yes is your favorite word (ever – like in the whole entire English language). But seriously – When is the last time you said no?

Alright, so now that we can see the some of the ways we may overextend, let’s revisit our definition: to overextend is to impose an excessive burden of work or commitments. This gets especially dangerous when we start taking on work that is not even ours to do.

The serenity prayer is an excellent compass.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

If we break this down, we can get a sense of what’s actually ours to do and when we need to have several seats.

OURS TO DO: Accept the things we cannot change. This includes people (their minds, thoughts, behaviors, desires, goals, etc.) You can, of course, share your perspective and walk alongside others.

NOT OURS TO DO: Change things I cannot – do the work for others.

OURS TO DO: Ask God for courage to change the things you can. This is all YOU! You can change your own mind, thoughts, behaviors, goals, etc.

NOT OURS TO DO: Go through life without seeking the wisdom to know the difference.

Try this: The next time you encounter a problem, challenge, or request that you feel responsible to address, pray the serenity prayer. Get clear on what is yours to address and what simply needs to be accepted. Do your part, and then have a seat.

What are your thoughts on over-extension? What to do you to ensure you’re in your own lane?

surrender: the freedom of not knowing

If nothing else has shown us our lack of control, 2020 has. We do the best we can, but there’ll always come a point when there’s not much else to do. There will always come a time when the only option is to surrender.

Breathe. Stretch. Shake. LET IT GO!

Y’all know that song? Well, that line is one of my mottos for 2021.

If nothing else has shown us our lack of control, 2020 has. We do the best we can, but there’ll always come a point when there’s not much else to do. There will always come a time when the only option is to surrender.

What is surrender?

For the longest time, I thought surrender meant giving up – losing. And losing voluntarily isn’t really my style, so naturally, surrender wasn’t a concept that I embraced. But – through time, trials, and some research, I see the beauty of it.

Eckhart Tolle describes it perfectly. Allow me to share his words from his book, Stillness Speaks:

When you fully accept that you don’t know, you give up struggling to find answers with the limited thinking mind, and that is when a greater intelligence can operate through you. Sometimes surrender means giving up trying to understand and becoming comfortable with not knowing.

To surrender is to admit we don’t know. That admission prompts us to ask questions. In the process of asking, we learn.

compare these scenarios:

Scenario A: It’s the first day of class. Howard enters with the assumption that he has nothing to learn. He figures he already knows exactly what the teacher is going to say, so he tunes out the lectures and his classmates. Howard leaves the class with the same mindset, beliefs, and level of knowledge he came with.

Scenario B: It’s the first day of class. Howard is excited to meet his teacher and dive into the material. He is curious and open to expansion. Because Howard knows he’s in class to learn, he pays attention to the lecture and the questions being asked. Howard take notes and adjusts his life, based on the information he learns.

WHICH SCENario will work out best for howard?

Yes, Scenario B! Howard is much better off with an attitude of surrender, or allowing himself (his mind and his life) to be transformed by the class.

The unspoken agreement on the first day of class is that students walk in expecting to learn something new. That process would be seriously interrupted if folks walked in thinking they already knew everything.

I see life a lot like class, and it’s easy to slip into autopilot and approach life like Scenario A. We, human beings, often forget [or refuse] to pay attention, learn, and adjust as necessary. No wonder we get stuck!

Good news: It’s okay to get stuck. There is another way.

Life becomes a lot less stressful WHEN we understand our position as students.


Surrendering is about getting a clear view of ourselves and of God. We are students, expecting to be shaped by the Lead Teacher, God, and the loving lessons He has for us. A willingness to humbly apply what we learn is the key to moving forward.

Let’s face it: Learning and growing sounds nice, but facing our lack of control is a real challenge.

Here are 3 tips to practice waving your white flag:

  • Understand your identity as a Beloved, Child of An Almighty God. Yes, those are a lot of adjectives, and each of them is important. Let’s take a closer look.
    • Beloved: dearly loved
    • Child: below an age of maturity
    • Almighty: having complete power
    • God: Love; creator and ruler of the universe; the Supreme being

Sometimes, it’s hard to surrender because we don’t quite understand how much God loves us. In this life, we are adults with adult responsibilities. So – it makes sense to forget we’re still God’s children, in the process maturing. Understanding that (1) we have a lot to learn and (2) we are dearly loved by an all powerful God empowers us to gladly surrender our desires.

  • Start the day with giving it away. This one is quite simple. Giving away the day could look like saying, “God, take this day. Have your way. I trust you.” Of course, change up the words to fit you and your personal relationship. In whatever way works best for you, make the decision to let go before anything happens. When situations come up throughout the day, remind yourself of your decision.
  • Look for the lesson. Remember that everything is for your good – that is your growth and development. Literally everything. When times are tough and it seems like there’s nothing you can do, remember your position as a student. Ask yourself, “what is this here to teach me?” And take notes!

What does surrender look like for you?