Anxiety begets anxiety. And calm begets calm.
A professor in a Speech Class that gave us this simple axiom: “Anxiety begets anxiety, and calm begets calm.” You’ve likely experienced it. Someone up front looks nervous. They fidget or anxiously look around. They look very uncomfortable and before long, involuntarily even, you start to feel uncomfortable. Or a young woman giving a talk looks as if she is utterly at home. And before you can even realize it, her sense of composure puts you at ease. She is calm, and you feel it too.
Our professor was working to help us see that our own attitude in speaking is contagious. (And that’s a much more powerful word these days isn’t it?) That goes for more than just giving a speech.
So what are you spreading? As you face this crazy new alternative universe, as you try to work, or not get sick, or just keep your kids settled and sane, are you anxious? Or are you calm?
I was asked just this week, what is your focus? I replied that I am:
1) PRAYING like I never have.
2) Going slowly – caution is the norm right now. Just about everything has slowed to a crawl. We’re all looking at an almost completely new horizon and instinctively, I think everyone is just decelerating.
3) Pursuing good will. I assume people are on a hair-trigger of anger or fear (how many viral videos of rage have you seen?). Truly calm people are almost non-existent right now. So, in light of the palpable edge, I believe I have to work to secure their trust. Whoever they are.
4) Working to do the good or loving thing that is within my reach. I cannot speed medical research. I can’t change government policies. But I may be able to help someone, or soothe someone’s fears or just be a calming influence when people are freaking out.
This is only possible because of the Grace of Jesus. He came against problems and consequences right inside my own heart that are infinitely more terrifying than getting sick. Jesus came against my guilt, death and the hell I’ve earned – dying for me because He loves me, and being raised from death because He is God of all things. HE is victorious and utterly at peace and I belong to Him.
He said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” So, if you feel like you have given your heart over to anxiety, then turn back and ask Jesus to change in you what only He can.
Then, think of the people in your life. By His work in your heart, you can be an influence for calm, peace, joy and even hope.
Things to pray for:
- Give thanks to the Lord for how He has conquered every threat you face.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to give you eyes to see and ears to hear the needs (or fears) of people all around you. Pray for the ability to genuinely grasp where people truly are.
- Ask the Father to give you a sense of how deeply He has resourced you for His mission of sharing with others as He has with you.
- Ask Jesus to fill you with hope because of His love and power vs. any obstacle in your heart or this world.