Ever have one of those weeks or months when not one or two, but three or four areas of your life spin out of control? It’s tempting in those moments to throw up your hands and give in to a meltdown. But it doesn’t solve anything, and I can almost promise that you won’t feel any better. Scientists tell us that when you’re extremely upset and have triggered the flight or fight response in the amygdala, it inhibits your ability to make decisions. Now that’s a double whammy because you’ve got significant struggles, but if you become very agitated, you temporarily lose the ability to solve them! You need to stay calm… but how?
What NOT To Do
But as usual, the Bible gives us principles to keep our peace and calm, if we actually use them. So, we’ll start with what not to do. The Apostle Paul encountered literal waves of problems, including a shipwreck. He gives us a pithy piece of advice in Galatians 6:2 – “carry each other’s burdens.” In other words, don’t fall into the trap of withdrawing from others when you’re facing adversity. There’s no shame or embarrassment in having troubles – it’s human. Instead, when you start to feel emotionally, mentally, or physically overwhelmed, reach out to a trusted friend. Humans are interdependent creatures; we were never designed to handle life’s tumults alone and things go much more smoothly when we don’t.
The Most Effective Prayer
So, you’re freaking out and no one is around to lean on. You know God is there – so don’t pull away from Him. Feel free to pour out your heart to God, telling Him all about what you’re experiencing. But if words fail you, sometimes the most effective prayer is simply “help!” Inviting God into the situation is always a good idea and He is eager and ready to assist you.
Long-term vs Short Term Comfort
Another temptation is to ditch Bible reading in favor of endless complaint sessions with friends or binge-watching your favorite tv show. We need our friends and entertainment can serve to get our mind off things, but the Bible has the long-term cure. Finding encouraging Bible verses can help to refocus and calm the jittery stomach. Also, instead of perseverating on the current mess, it’s useful to take a few minutes to remember how God has kept you afloat in high waters before. If He’s done it in the past, He’ll do it again.
Battlefield of the Mind
Joyce Meyer wisely identified the mind as the battlefield in a Christian’s life. Keep your thoughts in the present and not on the “what ifs” of the future. You have grace for today, not for tomorrow, but you will have sufficient grace in the days ahead, exactly when you need it. Reject all thoughts of fear, doubt, and unbelief, especially the ones that tempt you to think God doesn’t care about you or your challenges. Realigning your thoughts with Bible verses such as Romans 8:28 can help keep those lying feelings and beliefs far from you.
Now that you’ve steadied your mind, the next article will address simple but effective actions you can take to make it through those rocky times with peace and calm.