As I was strolling through town today a sign caught my eye. I’m not sure why I hadn’t seen it before, because I had walked by this section of town before. Today, for some reason, I noticed it and it stopped me in my tracks.

The lettering on the sign read Calm.

In a bit of a hurry, (not calm!) I wasn’t able to stop to see what the shop sold or what the sign represented. I have not been able to stop thinking about it, however. I want what that store apparently had to sell.

Calm.

The word is similar to many words in Scripture promoted during Jesus ministry, such as Peace. Joy. Love. Kindness. Compassion.

When I reflect on Jesus’ ministry, he was almost always calm. Not only was he calm, but he promoted calmness. He even caused the winds and waves to obey him and become calm!  

It seems to me that you cannot have peace if you are not calm. You cannot know joy fully if you do not experience inner calm. To fully love you must come from a relatively calm place. When we are kind to others, we are more than likely experiencing inner calm.

To take this a step further, what if we made a habit of experiencing calm? What if we sought to be calm people, both inwardly and toward others? What impact would this have on our world?

In my work with couples at The Marriage Recovery Center, without exception, those couples who work effectively with me and with one another are coming from a calm place. When at odds with one another, when in conflict with each other, they are agitated and feeling distress toward their mate. This distress creates an atmosphere where it is nearly impossible to effectively work through conflict. Agitation leads to conflict, and conflict leads to agitation—a vicious circle.

Jesus, of course, promoted calm when he said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).

If Jesus were to use today’s vernacular, he might say, “Calm down. Chill out. Be happy. Everything is going to be okay.”

The Apostle James echoed Jesus words when he said, “Why do you fight and quarrel? It is because your feelings are fighting inside you. That is why you fight” (James 4:1).

If Jesus were to sit with us, he would bring calmness. He would not fight or contend with us. He would encourage us to not fight or contend with others.

Considering how important being calm, let’s consider some practical steps on how you can bring calm into your relationships and experience more of it yourself.  

First, decide that you are going create calm as often as possible. Certainly you will not be calm if you do not decide to create calmness in your life. Consider the aspects of your life that bring anxiety, such as stress, busyness and conflict. Make a decision that you are going to change this aspect of your life.

Second, decide to be mindful about being calm. Watch yourself and how you move about your daily life. Do you ‘take time to smell the roses?’ Do you move slowly and deliberately through your day? Be aware of how you interact with others and determine to be and bring calm to them as well as yourself.

Third, decide to have moments of calm and respite in a hectic day. Perhaps this will mean only ten minutes when you sit quietly and consider what is happening, but those ten minutes can be enough to slow down your life. Be aware of what helps calm you, such as soft music, reading Scripture, walking or sharing with a friend.

Fourth, decide to eliminate calmness-stealers. Notice what takes calmness away from you and seek to eliminate it or minimize its impact. If noise steals your calmness, minimize it. If hurriedness or leading a harried lifestyle steals your calmness, change things. If your life is filled with conflict, seek to eliminate or minimize it. Set healthier boundaries so that you have more time for calm.

Finally, decide to allow God to fill you with his calm and peace. Since God is the author of peace and calm, we should look to him to provide more of this for us. Ask God to fill you with his peace and watch what happens.

We are here to help and offer phone/ Skype counseling on issues related to this article. Please go to our website, www.marriagerecoverycenter.com and discover more information about this as well as the free downloadable eBook, A Love Life of Your Dreams, including other free videos and articles.  Please send responses to me at drdavid@marriagerecoverycenter.com and also read more about The Marriage Recovery Center on our website. You’ll find videos and podcasts on sexual addiction, emotionally destructive marriages, codependency and affair-proofing your marriage.

Publication date: May 20, 2014