I receive several emails every day from people in crisis. Circumstances vary, of course, and so does severity, but the crises fall into categories: illness—their own or a loved one’s, spousal betrayal, a child’s struggle with addictions, a breakdown in family relationships, job layoffs, losses from a natural disaster, and more. Isolation is a big one nowadays.
Crisis changes life in a nanosecond. It can rob us of routine, ruin our ability to sleep well, and remove our capability to think straight. Sometimes we forget appointments we’ve made, or we can’t recall what day of the week it is.
In the midst of the storm, we can sometimes empathize with the psalmist who describes his soul as downcast and disturbed. His tone changes when he speaks truth to himself: “Put your hope in God for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:11 NIV).
The psalmist reminds us that the key to calm doesn’t lie solely in our circumstances changing for the better. If it did, then our hopes would be dashed if our circumstances worsened. Calm even in the midst of crisis comes when we place our confidence in our unchanging God. Choosing to trust His wisdom, sovereignty, power, and goodness soothes the soul that is downcast and disturbed.
From personal experience, I’ve discovered a few practical actions I can take, too. Here are five ways I find calm in crisis:
Ask for Help
No one should have to face crisis alone. Ask others to pray for you. If they can lend a hand in practical ways, say so. All too often, we assume that others don’t really care to get involved, or we expect them to know what we need. Let’s guard against making wrong assumptions and, instead, believe the best about others and their desire to help.
Remember the Truth
The human bent tends to focus on what-ifs and fears. Counteract that tendency by focusing on God’s promises instead. Here’s a good one: “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You” (Isaiah 26:3NKJV). Write this on a recipe card and post it where you’ll see it often. Better yet, memorize it so you can recall it even in the night when it’s difficult to sleep.
Engage in Worship
Fill your mind and your home with praise and worship music. Listen—really listen—to the lyrics and the truths they contain. What do they say about who God is and how does that apply to your situation? Let those lyrics wash away doubts and fears.
Take a Walk
Exercise is a good remedy for stress. It increases blood flow, supplies the body with fresh oxygen, and stimulates positive hormones. Coupling it with prayer or listening to worship music refreshes us in every way—mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” God issues this command because He created us and knows that expressing gratitude releases hormones associated with pleasure and contentment. The darker our circumstances, then, the more vital it is that we give thanks. This doesn’t mean giving thanks for whatever constitutes our crisis. It means we give thanks to God for being with us in the middle of it, for being our source of wisdom and strength, and for promising to use it for our good and His glory.
Sooner or later, everyone experiences a crisis. Some folks find themselves completely unraveled. Others experience calm. Where we place our hope and how we choose to respond makes all the difference.
#hope #findinghopeincrisis #givethanks #fightstress #bgbg2
Here’s an interview I did with Debbie Chavez. She refers to specific devotions in my new book, Finding Hope in Crisis: Devotions for Calm in Chaos and we talked about practical ways to apply the truths they contain. Enjoy!
Buy Finding Hope in Crisis: Devotions for Calm in Chaos here.