How to Shaku Shaku in the Storm

Let me start with a Disclaimer: I am not here to actually teach you how to Shaku Shaku. And if you do not know what that is, it’s the latest Nigerian dance style that has stormed the internet over the last few months. In an attempt to jump on this new dance wave I have watched endless YouTube tutorials and music videos, let’s just say there’s a very small glimpse of hope. 😂

If you are a student like myself you are probably in a storm or about to encounter one, and by storm I mean the long-awaited exam season. Stress levels are high, deadlines are fast approaching, exam dates creeping up not so slowly. And for those who aren’t students, I am sure you can agree that there are some storms that you may or may not be currently in. Each gospel has the account of the Jesus calming the storm, here it is in the Gospel of Matthew 8:23-27 :

23 Then he [Jesus] got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” 26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. 27 The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”
Do we sometimes feel as though Jesus is sleeping in the midst of our storms? Whilst the waves were raging Jesus was sleeping!! He was cool, calm & collected. Imagine that. When Jesus wakes up he rebukes their fear and unbelief. That same rebuke may apply to us right now Jesus is asking:  “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” When we trust God correctly, there will be very little room left for fear.
The thing with the disciples is that they had reasons to have faith despite the raging sea; they had seen Jesus perform wonders in the past, they had seen people like the Centurion who displayed a big trust in Jesus and most importantly Jesus was on board. It takes great faith to trust that a “sleeping Jesus” cares about us even when he seems very silent. A bible commentator says: “There are many Christians today who seem to think the boat is going down! I am tired of the wailing of some of my friends who take that view. The boat cannot go down. Jesus is on board.” (Morgan)
The boat cannot go down: Jesus is on board.
 Key points to take from this story:
  1. Jesus is Lord over all; He has full authority & power over the circumstances that we face. Jesus appeared to have left them in the midst of their chaos but in reality, he was always with them – the same way he has never left our side.
  2. We Must trust Jesus in the storms of life
    • Storms often reflect our lack of trust in God – Sometimes we need to become weak so that we will learn to rely only on Christ’s strength
    • Not all fear is wrong, however, when our fear is excessive and causes us to panic & not think of God’s control over our problems – it is.
    • If we are so focused on a problem & can’t see God’s control over it, we are not trusting him.
  3. Storms should drive us towards God; One thing I have learnt about the storms of life is that the more we trust Him in our current storm, the more we will know Him and be able to trust Him in the upcoming storms.
  4. Storms hit us unexpectedly and without warning; thus in order to survive we must be prepared in advance. NOW is the time to prepare for the storm, if we don’t learn to trust God in the calm of life we will not be prepared to trust him when the storm hits.

Once upon a while ago, I heard: life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain. A bad habit I have adopted whilst at Uni is playing music whilst revising and recently because of this new dance style – Shaku Shaku I find myself getting up every time a suitable song comes up to practice my moves. 😂😂 I’m literally dancing in the storm, my revision (which is driving me crazy) is there but I’m dancing instead.  What am I trying to say? This is the attitude we should have whilst in a storm. The reason we should be able to dance in the rain is that we understand that we have a firm anchor – God. I am reminded of the hymn:

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.

So there’s only one main step on how to Shaku Shaku in the storm and that is to anchor our faith in God’s promises and presence. The purpose of an anchor is to prevent the raging waves from smashing the boat into the shore and to stop the boat from drifting or being swept away. And so the same applies to God’s role when we encounter storms, He keeps us sane despite the adversity around us, He gives us serenity amidst the hustle and bustle of life.

Here are some of God’s promises to claim as we encounter storms in our lives:

  • God will keep me in perfect peace because I trust in him and my thoughts are firmly fixed on him. (Isaiah 26:3)
  • When I pass through deep waters, God will be with me, and when I pass the rivers of difficulty, I will not drown. When I walk through the fire, I will not be burned, the flames shall not consume. (Isaiah 43:2)
  • The Lord’s loving kindness never ceases. I am not consumed, for his compassions never fail and they are new every morning, Great is His faithfulness. The Lord is good to me because I seek Him and my hope is in Him. Therefore I will wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. (Lamentation 3:21-26)
Fully trusting and relying on God & His promises means that in spite of the circumstances you can dance in the middle of the storm because you know; God will be with you, you will not be consumed, you will not drown and you will come out better and stronger to face the next storm. Faith is not an automatic thing, we must choose to exercise it daily, and sometimes you have to recall previous storms and remind yourself of God’s faithfulness. He hasn’t failed you in the past and he would not start now.
So I urge you today to drop your anchor and stand on the Rock of Ageslay a firm foundation in God and His Word and you will be able to Shaku Shaku in the Storm.
To all my fellow students, Go smash those exams and remember the same God that brought you here is still on board with you and will take you even further.
Stay Blessed
Dara xx
P.S: Students check out my previous blog posts for exam season for more encouragement & prayers :When fear creeps in… (for those who become very fearful & anxious during exam season), Do your BEST and He’ll do the REST (has a prayer especially for procrastinators) and Commit it to the Lord (a revision tool that works for EVERY & ANY subject).

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“I lost £25 but not myself” 

Hello, as some of you may already know I started University 4 weeks ago. I’ve been meaning to finish this post since my first week here, but something kept stopping me but I am determined to finish it and finally be able to post it- so here it is. This post is written in reflection of my time so far and in particular my first week. It is primarily for those that have already started Uni or are starting in the near future. However there is still something to gain for those that may or may not be in education.

Firstly, let me give you the background story to the title of this post. So for freshers week( introductory week for the first years at the start of Uni), we were told to buy £25 wristbands so that we had access to all the events that were being thrown. At my Uni (University of East Anglia) these events included; going to clubs, fancy dress events, ABC (Anything But Clothes) event, being paired up with older years for family night, tours, sports night, film & pizza night and finally concluding with a Freshers Ball. I left early from the first event which consisted of going to 3 bars/ clubs – I have now become acquainted with the term bar crawling to describe that event. (Bar Crawl-When individuals go from bar to bar in a small vicinity. Usually they drink so much at the first few bars that by the time they get to the last one they’re crawling from drunkenness.)

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The infamous Wristband

To cut the long story short, I missed 5 of the events. At first I would have liked the idea of going to the freshers ball seeing as most of the other Medical students were thinking that I was an antisocial human being; but I eventually decided against it as it was on a Friday night and I would be breaking the Sabbath. Seeing as I didn’t go to majority of the events, I am annoyed because I did lose that £25. However I am glad because I didn’t lose myself in the sense of compromising my principles just because I felt like I would be losing money or being given negative labels.

Now one important thing to know before reading any further is that I don’t intend to criticize those who enjoy clubbing or drinking alcohol but I do want to stress the importance of not conforming and compromising previous principles and standards. Yes, finally one is at Uni and we are suddenly thrown into a world of freedom; no more having to check in and out with parents. Starting at a new place can lead people down different paths, some that were or were not intended. We meet new people that have different upbringings, lifestyles and interests to what we have. It can be very easy for a person to get lost amongst it all and  begin to compromise previous convictions & principles in order to have pleasure, power or popularity.

Let us look at the story of Joseph. Joseph was tempted by Potiphar’s wife “day after day” but “refused to go to bed with her or even be with her” (Genesis 39:10). Doug Bachelor once said : When you are being tempted by someone or something to compromise your convictions, steer as far away as you can from the edge of the evil.  In order for a person to abide by their principles it is important to stay away from temptation. Earlier on in Genesis, you can tell that Eve wandered too close to the forbidden tree then waited to hear Satan’s rationalizations. Immediately when she saw the tree and heard the serpent question God’s truth, she should have ran for cover. In 1st Timothy 6:11, we are warned to “flee from temptation and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” Sometimes we may be told by those close to us to strike a “balance”. However often times the balance causes us to conform our christian standards to worldly values.  You can’t balance holiness with a little sin. Being Christ-like is not out of balance.

The Cache River has a total length of 180 miles. However it only covers a distance of 35 miles, it wastes 140 miles to bends and turns. Now the reason a river becomes crooked is because it follows the path were there is least resistance, this can be likened to the reason why a Christian becomes crooked. The path of a Christian should be more like a tight rope than a meandering trail. What Moses told the children of Israel before he died can still be applied to us all today; “Therefore you shall be careful to do as the LORD your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. You shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you” (Deuteronomy 5:32-33)

Now we may be naive and think that it’s only outsiders that cause us to compromise Christian principles and convictions, however the devil mainly works through those closest to us.  Therefore we should all learn to say “Get thee behind me, Satan. I ain’t gonna do it”. 

When you study the events surrounding the trial of Jesus Christ, we can see that compromise ultimately crucified Him. Pontius Pilate admitted that Jesus was an innocent man, however he didn’t make a stand for the truth because he wanted to win approval from the crowd. Are you compromising your convictions to win approval from the crowd? Pilate went as far as to give the people a choice to just beat Jesus and then release Him. However, it is important to know that once you embark down the road of compromise no matter where you stop, the devil will pick you up and complete the walk on your behalf. This is because you have signaled your weakness by displaying a willingness to negotiate with wrong. So, once you begin to sacrifice your convictions, it is very easy to slide into ruin.

As a person continues to compromise their conscience becomes numb, until it becomes the fruit of conformity with the world. If we as Christians begin to compromise now in the little things without a death threat, how are we going to cope when we are threatened with imprisonment and death. The bible states numerous of times : STAND! “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today”- Exo 14:13. How are we expected to stand in a world that seems to be against our beliefs and convictions, the answer lies in Ephesians 6:11-13.

11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles [schemes] of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

A congressman named William  Jennings Bryan said:

“Never be afraid to stand with a minority that is right for the minority will someday be the majority. Always be afraid to stand with the majority that is wrong, for the majority that is someday wrong will someday be the minority.”

Please re-read that quote just so that you can grasp its meaning. With God all things are possible!- Yes that includes living life without worldly conformity and compromise. Be determined to stand on the Rock and resist the waves of compromise that are sweeping God’s children from the shores of salvation. Please listen to the song below entitled Stand by Tye Tribett.

Dear Reader, always remember that when you stand for God , you do not stand alone: Jesus stands with you. So whenever you are faced with a decision that is contrary to your convictions, stand for Jesus! You shall be rewarded, maybe not immediately or on earth but surely in the long run.

Stay Blessed,

Dara x

P.S- This post was mainly inspired by Doug Batchelor’s ebook : Compromise, Conformity and Courage. (http://www.amazingfacts.org/media-library/book/e/19/t/compromise-conformity-and-courage)