When life runs us aground, the wind and waves can seem overwhelming. Do we wait for help or risk jumping ship? Stress can cause poor decisions. Here are eight ways to find peace in the storm before making big, life choices.
BREATHE AND FOCUS | Stressful situations tend to cause muscles to tense up, making it hard to focus. A few calming, deep breaths help signal the brain to relax the body and regain control. Take your eyes off the situation for a moment to really focus on your physical body from the top down. Tell yourself, “Face muscles relax. Shoulders drop and release the arms. Chest, breathe in and out. Legs loosen up. Fingers and toes wiggle.” Feel the floor with your toes and tell yourself, “I’m grounded. I’m OK.” As the body calms the mind is free to refocus on the Lord, for He offers the peace needed to make good decisions.
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.Isaiah 26:3
Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!1 Chronicles 16:11
REMEMBER YOU ARE NOT ALONE | Whatever the circumstance which brought on fear and anxiety, remember you never have to face the situation alone. Remember, God is always there to help. He is like a lighthouse guiding you to safety. It is only when we take our eyes off Him that we become fearful of running into rocks. Take comfort in knowing that even when you feel lost, He will never leave you and can get you back to safety if you remember to follow Him.
It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.2 Deuteronomy 31:8
PRAY AND SEEK GOD’S WISDOM | Before choosing any course of action, know where to search for the answers. Many voices from the world will offer quick fixes and shortcuts which often leave you stranded in deeper water than before. God has never failed to provide your every need—need is not the same thing as want, and it is important to know the difference. When you draw near to Him you will know without a doubt that His wisdom and guidance will lead you in the way you should go.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.Hebrews 4:16
DON’T WORRY ABOUT WHAT COULD HAPPEN | In the most desperate moments, we can find ourselves imagining the worst… a loved one dying or a loss of income, but chances are these things won’t happen. Conservative research shows 85% of what we worry about never happens. Getting caught up in all that could go wrong is a ploy used by Satan to keep you in bondage to fear. While it is important to consider the consequences of our actions beforehand, recognize whether fear is preventing you from making rational decisions or any decision at all. The paralysis of analysis is like a ship stuck in a whirlpool – hopelessly going in circles. Break free by rowing past the unlikely possibilities and gain momentum on what you can realistically manage today.
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.Matthew 6:34
TRUST IN GOD’S PLAN FOR YOU | Since we can only control two things, our own actions and attitude, realize you are wise to rely on God for everything else. If He’s not in control of this life, then who is? If unsure of God’s plan, I suggest figuring this out before setting sail in the dark. God has the power to meet your every need, but He will likely only bless the path laid out for you in His infinite wisdom.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.Jeremiah 29:11
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.Philippians 4:19-20
REMOVE THE RIGHT OBSTACLES | When faced with roadblocks, it may be wise to pause and look at what is standing in the way before bilging through. Consider which roadblocks may be there for your benefit. God knows your every thought and intent, so He may place an obstacle in your path for a reason; it may be a detour to help avoid a major pitfall, or an obstacle to climb in preparation for greater success. Instead of getting angry or frustrated in the moment, accept what you’ve been given since it may very well be what you need to get to the real goal.
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ So we can confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?’Hebrews 13:5-6
KNOW HIS WILL | Before taking any action, find out the will of God. Most often we can know His will just by reading His word. The Bible is the instruction guide needed for this life. If still unsure, wait on a direct word from Him and confirm it with a trusted, godly mentor before choosing which way to go. Waiting on His word will test patience, but in the end, you will gain the perseverance and character to withstand any storm.
Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.Genesis 28:15
HAVE AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE | Facing any challenge can drain a person’s strength and cause doubt or depression to weigh them down. Endurance to hold on can come through the simplest of things, such as gratitude. Before you even consider giving up, make a list of things you are grateful for amidst the trials of life. For instance, thank the people who help with the smallest of things, even if it’s just holding a door open for you. Acknowledge the things often taken for granted like shelter, food, health, and clothing. Be conscious that your best efforts are good enough no matter what anyone else says. Gratitude often results in cutting yourself and others some slack. Most of all, thank Jesus. After all, it was His selfless sacrifice which equips and gives opportunity to reach your destination with peace and joy along the way.
The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.Psalms 28:7