But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
How do I calm and quiet myself? How do I reach this state of contentment?
My first answer, and the obvious one since this is a Bible Study blog, is that I go to the Word of God.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
So, the Word of God says to offer my body as a living sacrifice. How do I do that in order to achieve the goal of calming and quieting myself?
I educate myself. God has provided doctors and therapists and other professionals who have studied the human body and learned how it works. They then offer their findings to the world and we have the opportunity to apply their findings to our lives.
If God’s Will is for me to calm and quiet myself, then He will provide me with everything I need to do so. Below are a few options.
When I am anxious or under stress, my body reacts by increasing my heart rate, breathing more rapidly, and producing cortisol and adrenaline. This is known as the fight-or-flight response. My body is on high alert to react to the perceived danger.
The problem with anxiety is that we tend to get stuck in the stress mode and our bodies stay on high alert long after the danger has passed.
Breathing deeply and intentionally is one of the ways God gave us to calm our bodies down. By taking deeper breaths, and consciously slowing down my rate of breathing, I am telling my body that it can come down from alert status. This is called the rest-and-digest response.
God gave me the power to calm my body down by controlling my breathing.
Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Our breath comes from God, and it is the source of life. It makes sense that our breath also has the power to change our lives.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.
When the world is spinning around me – or if my mind is spinning within me – I need to find some way to make it stop.
Grounding is a technique that focuses the mind on the concrete world as a way of finding something to hold onto that isn’t spinning.
It’s holding the edge of my shirt and noticing the stitching in the hem. It’s focusing on one thing I can see, one thing I can hear, one thing I can touch, one thing I can smell, and one thing I can taste.
God gave me the power to choose what my mind focuses on. Grounding is a tool He has given me to use when I forget that I have that power. It’s God reminding me that I don’t have to try to control everything; I can just appreciate what He’s already given me.
Ephesians 3:17,19 (NKJV)
that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, … to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
When I focus my eyes on one thing that’s not spinning, it helps my brain remember that the world is solid and I am stable.
When I focus my mind on God’s love, I remember who He is and that He’s taking care of me.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Laughter is another tool God gave us to control our bodies and our minds.
Laughing decreases the stress hormones produced by anxiety. And it triggers the release of endorphins and improves blood flow.
When I laugh, I’m changing my body’s response to what’s going on around me – or inside my head. And when my body changes direction, it gives my mind a chance to let go of the damaging thoughts.
My mind may have started the fight by falling into anxiety, but my body can step in and diffuse the situation.
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
A cheerful heart may seem out of reach when I’m suffering from anxiety. I’ve spent a lot of time on the crushed spirit end of the spectrum. I have even resented God for putting such an unrealistic expectation on me.
But He knows that, so He provided ways for me to move from the crushed spirit to the cheerful heart. Laughter is one of those ways.
If I exercise my will and find something to make me laugh in spite of my anxious situation, God’s grace comes into play in the way He designed my body to respond to the laughter. And that’s a step in the right direction.
The goal is a calm and quiet mind. Breathing, focusing, and laughing are stepping stones that can help us get there. And they work because God designed our bodies to respond in ways that bring us closer to Him.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
What tools has God shown you that help you calm and quiet yourself?
Photo credit: bones64