Finding Calm Before & After the "Storm"

Lightning over Short Hill Mountain 

For the most part, I am an anxious person. And nothing makes me more stressed and anxious than a conflict. It’s nothing for me to face an important confrontation with my mouth dry as cotton and my voice quivering with fear as I stammer out my disjointed thoughts. The greater the intensity of the encounter, the more my anxiety takes over.

I sometimes see this happening for my coaching/counseling clients too. Although, it’s not always fear that’s evoked as I work with them to deal with painful emotions and situations. Very often it is anger that gets them all riled up and twisted in knots, or grief that slides them down into the depths of pain and misery.

In messy marriages these kinds of moments can be an every day occurrence. So when the heat is on, about to be on, or you’re left reeling after the heat has left you scorched, I think it’s important to know some strategic ways to calm yourself and find God’s peace.

4 Calming Strategies:

1.  Find solitude
Jesus was a great example of this one, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16 (NIV) We all need times to decompress and allow God’s voice to be heard above the chaos and noise of our lives.

2.  Set the mood
I feel this is crucial for me. I have a specific prayer spot that is private, comfortable and well-lit, with all the additional “tools” I need to focus on God. In addition to having my Bible and study helps handy, I also play soothing instrumental music that really helps prepare my heart for communion with God.

3.  Anchor Your Prayers with Scripture
This is where the Psalms really shine. You can choose any scripture to focus on but, when you’re angry, fearful, depressed or grieving, there’s nothing like the comfort found in the Psalms. The words are like life-giving water being poured over my dry soul.

You can even use them as a template for your prayers. For example, Psalm 34:17-18 could be prayed like this: “I know that you see me as ‘righteous’ through your Son’s blood and you ‘hear my cry.’ I ask you to ‘deliver’ me from all my ‘troubles.’ I rest in the knowledge that you, my ‘Lord, are close to the brokenhearted.’ And that is what I am—brokenhearted. I pray you’d “save” me because I am ‘crushed in spirit.’’ Get the idea?

4.  Meditate
Use a Psalm like the 23rd Psalm that is rich with imagery and imagine sitting with the Savior in “green pastures.” Imagine a quiet stream babbling nearby. Imagine Him walking with you through “paths of righteousness,” then let your mind visualize what that might look like. This can be very comforting to invite Jesus into our mind’s eye. I do this often and feel God’s presence overwhelming me at times. My love for Him has grown through this exercise and certainly it calms me when I feel under attack or am hurting.

Now, the next time you’re facing one of those scary encounters or have just had a major meltdown, retreat to the One who is for you and wants to calm your hurts and fears. He is there just waiting for you to call. 

So what situation has you tied in knots? Let me know and I will pray for you!

Photo by kcdsTM
  

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Linking up with – NOBH, Monday’s Musings, Marriage Moment, Matrimonial Monday, and Playdates with God

  • Kimberly Green

    I LOVE #3, “Anchor Your Prayers with Scripture”. I think so often, whether it’s in my relationship with y spouse, children, or others, I BELIEVE I am right in my opinion. My “prayer” is usually NOT “open my heart and show me where I may be wrong”, but “Lord, Fix that guy! And allow me to show the benevolent grace to forgive and be compassionate to this Turkey!” And if I truly looked into and meditated on God’s word (#4) , I will likely find that I am the Turkey requiring Grace and Forgiveness.

  • Nancy

    Great advice, Beth! Thanks for the post.

  • Good Afternoon, Dear Beth ~
    I love these calming strategies! While we have no control over much that is thrown at us, we do have a choice over how we respond … and these are super good tools!

  • Pamela Mueller

    Beth, I like the way you live what you write. Having lived with you, I know you find your strength for all kinds of situations by anchoring yourself in God’s Word and prayer. :o) Thanks for sharing great ideas to structure that time!

  • Yes, Kimberly, you are so right. Praying God’s word has a way of convicting us–opening our eyes to the ways we need to change and gets our focus off our offender. I’m finding such great power in God’s spoken world lately too. There’s something about it that honors God in a way that reading it alone can’t do. Thanks so much for coming by and encouraging me, sweet friend!

  • Thanks for stopping by, Nancy. I appreciate it!

  • Thanks for always being a constant encourager in my life, Linda. There are many miles that separate us, but I feel you reaching out to “hug” me every week!

  • Yes, it truly has been my anchor–as I’ve needed one constantly throughout the many messes I’ve made and lived through. I feel the same way about you, Pam, I see how God’s word has such a high value in your life and you encourage me to persevere! Hugs to you!

  • “Find solitude.”
    That is always such a key for me. I’m not always able to go do that in the midst of conflict, but if it’s possible, I’ll seek God out in a quiet place, just me and him.

    Great pieces of advice, Beth. All 4. Thanks for laying them out so clearly.

  • meditation on what is Greater and Deeper is always key for me, too. i love your reflecting on Scripture, especially those passionate psalms. they are truly a balm in the mess, aren’t they?
    thanks for this, Beth.

  • Jessica

    This is such a good reminder. How often I turn to my own resources and methods then turn to God last when things dont turn out well. God’s ways are always best, and He is so much more gentle than myself.

  • GreatPeaceAcademy

    Love #3!!!

  • Yes, it’s true, Lisa, that sometimes doing this before a conflict can be tough. But usually there’s an opportunity after a conflict to run to the arms of the Savior. I also agree about solitude. It’s an every day pursuit for me. Thanks so much for coming by and offering me a smile, my friend!

  • Balm is right, Kelli. Very soothing and the place I run to when I’m in need. Thanks so much for your constant encouragement in my life, friend!

  • Yes, that’s true. We often don’t think about immense comfort that God’s word has for us, Jessica. And it’s a hard thing to develop–the mindset that God is my comfort and not some other human being! But I’ve got a few miles on me, so I know that people will always leave me wanting. Thanks so much for coming by and encouraging me here!

  • Thanks so much for coming by, Renee! I appreciate it!

  • Wow what wonderful insights Beth! I love them all. On top of contending and dealing with knots and angst brought by a messy marriage patch, i sometimes have to deal with loud accusatory voices. “how can you even feel like that!” “you should be more in control” e.t.c.Having my inner theology straightened out first, by the help of the Holy Ghost, helps me move faster into the next steps. otherwise it’s easy to draw further away or waste time beating myself up , going round in circles.

  • Gaye @ CalmHealthySexy

    Hi Beth – This post is very helpful and encouraging to me. I especially appreciate the reminder about praying Scripture, especially the Psalms. I have done that in the past, but not consistently. I was surprised that you opened by saying that you are an anxious person. Based on what comes across in your writing, you seem to be a very peaceful person. It must be that you are practicing the things you shared with us! Thank you. Gaye

  • Yes, that’s why anchoring to God’s word is so important, Ngnia! We know the Truth rather than clinging to those old lies that accuse, belittle and defeat us. Thanks for being so vulnerable. That tells me you are strong in the Lord when you can be weak in yourself! Thanks for your sweet encouragement, my friend!

  • Yes, it is a daily practice for me. I use these and other calming strategies A LOT! But I also fail a lot, hence the messy marriage! 😉 But God has been good to help me, teaching me to trust Him more and more, so that I struggle less and less in this way. Thanks for your sweet words, Gaye. Your presence here is always appreciated!

  • Beth, you always give such sound advice. I literally feel myself calming as I read through your words here. I think having a plan like this is crucial. Often I’m not as deliberate as I need to be when it comes to conflict. Good words, my friend.

  • You’ve really encouraged me, Laura. You always seem to know what to say to touch my heart deeply, my friend. I’m glad this post was an encouragement to you. I grew up in a home that was often filled with conflict, so I have an extra dose of anxiety whenever it occurs. These strategies have really helped me along the way and I pray they do the same for you when your facing a tough situation. Thanks so much for being a constant supporter here! Hugs to you!

  • Naomi@whatjoyismine

    Beth…what great suggestions you give here. Peace is attainable and you offer much encouragement in how to find it. I hope your readers will put it into action in their own lives. Thank you for sharing this at WJIM. Have a blessed week.

  • I hope so too, Naomi, because these rituals have really helped bring peace to me on many occasions. I appreciate your kind words and am honored that you came by!