Weather Watching

 

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One of my favorite TV networks is the Weather Channel. I usually tune in for a few minutes while I get my breakfast ready, and longer on an active day. Part of the draw used to be the hosts and the format of the AM show. But some restructuring happened a couple of months ago – now it’s more straightforward forecasting with different members on the team.

I’m still tuning in, though. So there must be another pull for me. I’ve been thinking about it – I mean, am I really that interested in meteorology? I’m not even that scientifically minded, so most of the explanations they give just go over my head anyway. “It’s raining because it’s a rainy day,” is more my speed.

So what’s the draw? Well, I’ve come to realize that the biggest reason I watch the Weather Channel is to know what’s going to happen. Sounds obvious, right? In one way it is. But let me restate that one phrase  with more emphasis: to know what’s going on.

I will be the first to admit how much I like to be prepared. I wrote about that a little in terms of holiday dinners – how I’d plan, then prep for days ahead of time. Yes, it made for a good feast for the table. But that routine – making the shopping list, mentally rehearsing the schedule, etc – also fed my need to be in control.

So what does this have to do with the Weather Channel? Well, seeing a map of the entire country and hearing what weather is coming over the next few days gives me that same sense of control. If I know what’s headed our way, I can start planning and preparing for it. Do I need to do extra shopping? (bread, milk and chocolate of course) Do we need to get the shovels out and ready?

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Being prepared for a special meal or a storm is important, no question. A certain amount of planning keeps us stocked and safe. The trouble is when I lean on advance info and my own planning for a feeling of security. I think the mental process goes like this:

  • hearing about an upcoming situation
  • jumping into planning for the situation
  • satisfaction I’ve prepared for the situation and all possible impacts it will have
  • Yea me!

But when I approach things that way, I’ve forgotten one important thing – I’m not in control!!

How do I find the balance between prep and providing for myself? It has to start with God’s Word. There I’m reminded that all things are under His control, and that He is the One who will provide my security through those things. The Book of Psalms is full of promises He’s made to us:

God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.”   46:1

He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel Will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; The LORD is your shade on your right hand.” 121:3-5

A winter storm is headed up the East Coast this weekend. Last I heard it won’t hit us that hard here in CT. But I haven’t checked in with the Weather Channel yet – I’ll get to it later…

Expect The Unexpected

I heard the conductor of our local orchestra use this phrase to promote an upcoming season: Expect the Unexpected. He was talking about concert pieces, of course. But I‘ve taken it to heart in terms of substitute teaching, and really, my overall mindset.

Flexibility is definitely one of the skills I’ve had to learn as a sub. And that trait is not part of my natural gift mix. I like being able to prepare in advance for an upcoming situation – that gives me a sense of confidence that I can handle whatever happens.

Luckily, my first couple of assignments matched up pretty well to what I imagined. But then I ventured into doing PPT days. A PPT is basically a teacher/parent meeting during the school day that lasts between 20 minutes and an hour. What that means for me is that I travel from room, going in “cold”. I have no idea of what activity or subject the class might be doing when I walk in. As you can imagine, I found that set-up nerve wracking at first. Every time I approached a new door my anxiety would spike.

The thing that finally helped my stress levels was to embrace the not knowing. Because the truth is that no matter how much prep I do, I can’t predict what will happen once I step into a school. I’m truly at their disposal. The only real way for me to get ready is to decide to stay focused on the present moment. Then I can respond effectively to any concern or need.

Sounds like a metaphor for life, doesn’t it? I sure think so. And the lesson has been as challenging to learn in my daily life as it’s been in subbing. Being a list maker and a planner, I can find my security in organization if I’m not careful. But that kind of security is fleeting.

Proverbs 3:26 says, “For the Lord shall be your confidence, and shall keep your foot from  being taken.” What a great reminder for me of what to lean on and where my security lies. I have no control, but God does. I don’t know what will happen once  any given day, but He’s already seen and prepared for everything.

So I’ll expect the unexpected from life. But I can expect God to walk with me through it all.