Astraphobia: fear of thunder and lightning; a fear of storms. A person with astraphobia often feels anxious during thunderstorms even when they understand the threat is minimal. Some reactions are unique to astraphobia such as amplified symptoms when alone and hiding beneath something to feel more secure. A sign may be a heightened interest in forecasts.

We are equipped to endure storms. Whether it is our home that protects us or our hearts. We were built to stand when everything around us seems to be falling apart. Sometimes the damage is minimal and sometimes it is debilitating, but if the storm does not grab you in it’s path, it is safe to say that you have and will survive.

“If it’s not over, it’s not the end.”

Once the storm has come, it will have no choice but to move on. What can linger is the after effect. This is when you have to decide if you too will move on or if you will remain in a storm that is ready to settle. Once an event occurs in our lives that has shaken us to our core, yes, we need to feel it. Yes, we need to survey the damage. But we also need to decide what to do next. What is it that we need to do to pick up the pieces and rebuild.

Who told you that you would never have to build again?

We have unfortunately adopted this idea that we should not have any problems. Who told you this? It’s like we are annoyed when things don’t go as planned or we can’t be bothered by life’s curveballs. We just do not have the time to deal with unexpected issues.

Seriously, this is ridiculous.

You are going to have problems. You are going to encounter obstacles but in order to thrive and not just survive; you must change the way that you experience these potential threats. Turn these obstacles into opportunities. Opportunities to grow, to learn and to realize you are much stronger than you will ever know. Start by asking yourself this simple question: What is life trying to teach me through this experience?

Your storm is your story.

Most, if not all of us, have an innate desire to contribute. No, it may not be on a global scale but we are willing to share our experiences and lessons with others if we think that it will help them someway. Usually through advice, a phone-call or even a posted quote on social media.

But it is not very often that we go into detail. Most of us like to stay on a surface level and give you just enough to get something but not enough to actually connect. We may share our stories but rarely our secrets. Crazy enough, most of our secrets are the same stories shared by so many but we are either too busy being bogged down by considerations. What if I am attacked or ridiculed? I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me! I am too busy still being confused by why this is even happening to me to deal with anyone else. But our stories are what connects us and teaches us and all of us have stories to contribute. Use YOUR STORM as YOUR STORY to contribute. 

This makes me think of a time in my life when I was really sick. I mean sick for almost two years. I was incredibly fatigued all the time, bloated stomach and in pain most of the time. Every time I ate, I was almost instantly attacked with incredible pain so much so that I had to take several days off, endure numerous doctor appointments and even fell into somewhat of a depression. Several months into this journey, my doctor finally thought he had figured it out! Lupus. I took the first test and it came back positive and all that was left was to take a second test to confirm it. My first thought was I am so glad that we finally have a name for what is going on. And my second thought was why me? 

I cried for about ten minutes on the car ride home and then all of a sudden, it was like I was hit with a 50-pound bag of baseball bats. I heard a voice say, “Why not you?” 

This had never actually occurred to me. Why not me had never crossed my mind. After all, was I thinking that it should be happening to someone else? Of course not! Right? My ego definitely had to take a seat and realize what was happening here. I was encountering what would be a new storm. It hadn’t happened yet and I was already preparing for the worse. But what if I shifted my mindset and started preparing for the best?

I started thinking… “Why not me?” “I am strong and I know that I can get through anything. What hasn’t killed me has only made me stronger so I can embrace this new challenge.” “If I do have Lupus, I will become an advocate and be a voice for individuals everywhere who are suffering from this illness.” Literally in just a few minutes, I had gone from hiding in the storm to standing right in the middle of it and encouraging the rain. But you see I could only encourage the rain because I had seeds planted. Because I was already working on building myself up and taking control of my thoughts, I was able to go from victim to advocate in just a few moments. This would be my contribution. My story.

Turns out I didn’t have lupus. There was no need to fear the storm before it even arrived.

Remember, a sign of astraphobia may be a heightened interest in forecasts. One who is always predicting the storm, worrying about the storm and planning for it before it even comes! This is nothing but preparing for the worst to happen. What if you started preparing for the best to happen?  

You may have gone through a few storms, some life threatening and some life changing. You may be in a storm right now, but remember your storm is your story, your contribution and if it is not over it is not the end. At the end of every storm, you will find a light stacked in colorful layers to remind you of this promise: You are not alone.


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