by Rev. Dr. Kirk Byron Jones for The Christian Citizen

“I’ve been in the storm too long

I’ve been in the storm too long

Lord, please give me a little

time to pray.

I’ve been in the storm too long”

So sang the legendary gospel group, The Mighty Clouds of Joy in a popular song some years back. The song, “I’ve Been in the Storm Too Long” may be from the past, but the experience is all too present.

How do we live well in the continual overwhelm of pandemic re-ordering and lethal violence at the hands of those sworn to keep order, and those who randomly unleash their inner chaos on others?

We may live well by choosing to fully embrace the heightened awareness to our surroundings we now practice for the benefit of ourselves and others. Prior to the pandemic, life, for many, was an overly predictable exercise requiring little to no purposeful focus. That has changed. We see more carefully and deliberately because we have to. Enhanced awareness will be more help than harm for us going forward.

Living well in continual overwhelm is also possible through intentional, creative adaptiveness. We have agonized, lost, and mourned. And we have pondered, found, and moved on with new tools and techniques forged by ingenuity and necessity. Our response to complex, unrelenting challenge can be as much transformative adventure, as it can be daunting obligation. The choice is ours.

Awareness and adaptiveness are formidable alternatives to fear. Thankfully, a source giving rise to these alternative responses is neither distant nor limited in supply. Awareness and adaptiveness may be continually reimagined and refreshed in the soul: that mysterious, sacred something within that inspires and sustains us, through it all, no matter what.

Here is a 4-step Soul Talk Ritual to help you cultivate awareness and adaptiveness:

  1. Be Still. Stillness, pausing your racing mind, allows space for new sightings, sentiments, and vital energy replenishment. Stillness also conditions us for practicing pausing more. Pausing is an unsung, unsuspected source of spiritual, mental, and physical renewal.
  2. Lay Burdens Down. Imagine yourself laying aside heavy burdens. The subsequent lighter feeling will make you nimbler for fresh new progressive life callings and fulfillments in the Spirit.
  3. Listen Deeply. Listen with compassion, understanding, and patience to what the magnificent spirit guide, Howard Thurman, called the “sound of the genuine” within. Such deliberate listening will allow you to hear what you have never heard before, inspiring you to creatively and faithfully keep on keeping on, no matter what.
  4. Integrate New Truth. Divine new callings deserve to be acted on and realized in everyday experience. Soul invitation without integration is soul communication in vain. Exit each soul talk session with a mindset of having higher aspirations, but always from a place of deep contentment and peace.

Kirk Byron Jones, DMin, PhD, is author of Soul Talk: How to Have the Most Important Conversation of All. For information about his forthcoming "Soul Deep Dive" webinar, email "The Dive" to [email protected]