Finding the Calm

‘But the angel said to him: Do not be afraid, Zechariah;…’ Luke 1:13

Liz Curtis talks about Zechariah and his encounter with an angel in her book THE WOMEN OF CHRISTMAS.

The angel wasn’t scolding Zechariah; he was comforting him. ‘Fear not’ (KJV), he said. ‘Calm down!” (Voice). I need these words embroidered on a pillow, framed on my wall, scribbled across my mouse pad—anywhere I might see them—to remind me that God is in charge, God can be trusted, and God does everything out of love. Fear not. Calm down. Why do we fear the worst from God, when he loves us completely and always gives us what is best?”

Some synonyms of the word calm include the following: Tranquil, Serene, Relaxed, Unruffled, Undisturbed, Untroubled, Not Excited or Agitated, Quiet, Placid, Composed. If you used the word as a noun to describe the center of a storm, it means the absence of wind. To use the word as a verb, it means to soothe, pacify, placate or relax.

I very much enjoy flying and find that once the jet gets above the clouds where all I can see is blue skies and sunshine, there is a sense of calm there.  I am off the ground away from all that easily robs me of serenity. I have no choice but to sit quietly in my seat and allow the pilot, whom I have never met, but am trusting with my life, to do his job and fly the plane. So, why is it so very hard for me to be calm and allow the God who made me and loves me like no other to be in charge?

Another place that brings a great sense of calm to me is the beach. It is easy for me to sit quietly in a beach chair and listen to the sound of the gentle waves lapping in and out as the seagulls cry out overhead. The bright sunshine warms me up and settles my heart.

Walking into a Cracker Barrel store when it is uncrowded also brings serenity to my heart. There is something about the music that is playing, the smell of home cooked food, the old-fashioned candy and toys on display, the roar of the fire during the cold winter months, the rocking chairs outside during the summer months and the entire atmosphere of that store that simply and quietly speaks to me.

Laurie Horowitz describes exactly how I feel about bookstores. “Usually when I enter a bookstore, I feel immediately calm.  Bookstores are, for me, what churches are for other people.  My breath gets slower and deeper as I peruse the shelves.”

You would think that a widow living alone in a quiet house would not have any problem at all finding the calm. Yet I am here to tell you that sometimes I have so much alone time that it allows me to think too much about what my future may be like, what struggles my children or even grandchildren may be having that week, second guessing myself on decisions that I have made or need to make, how am I going to face the holidays or even the day without my husband, etc. I’m sure you could list many more things that disrupt your calm.

So, what do I do to find the calm? Crying out to God with exactly what is on my heart gives me a sense of calm. And by crying out, I mean completely opening up to Him and honestly telling Him what I am feeling. Most of the time I have a good cry when I am having a talk with Him. There’s nothing like tears to relieve the stress that I am feeling and bring peace back to my heart.

Every morning before I begin my day, I spend time listening to the Bible read by Brian Hardin on an app called Daily Audio Bible. Brian’s voice is soothing and he reads from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs slowly enough for me to close my eyes and soak it in. This brings me a calm beginning for my day.

There are other times when I just need to talk to another widow who understands exactly what I am going through and can not only empathize, but point me back to our source of strength in this journey. And, I have found that talking to my daughters helps me to get a clearer perspective on things. They aren’t experiencing the same kind of grief that I am and they always give me good advice.

What about you? Do you struggle with finding the calm? If so, what have you found that brings you a return to calmness?