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?
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