I’m not a big fan of slogans, nor of following fads and jumping on bandwagons, so I’ve found the whole Keep Calm and <fill in the blank> campaign rather annoying. It was OK in the beginning, but then I grew tired of constantly seeing memes, T-shirts, coffee mugs, you name it, urging me to keep calm and do something.
Yet this morning, after my fatigued muscles had prevented me from sleeping well, and I was awakened at 6:30 by one of our dogs, I immediately began feeling stressed. I was tired and achy, it was raining (not what you want when you’ve got an outdoor concert organized for that evening) and I had lunch to prepare for the twenty people in the No Longer Music crew, who would be arriving at 2 pm. It was decidedly a day when I needed to be reminded to keep calm. A day when keeping calm was most certainly the best nomination for Day 19’s challenge.
As a young child in school, I had a “tummy ache” more often than not and I think I spent several days a week at the school nurse’s office when I was in second grade. I’ve never been one to overtly express emotions, though I do feel very deeply and passionately. This translated, especially during the first decades of my life, into quite a bit of internalized sentiment. So while I appeared very calm on the outside, my stomach was often in knots and I was experiencing stress through the roof on the inside.
It’s been a long journey over these past 50+ years of my life, learning to, on the one hand, express my feelings in an honest and healthy way, while at the same time, realizing that my emotions do not control me. I, rather, by God’s amazing grace and strength, am given the opportunity to turn them over to Him and give HIM control. They no longer need to dictate my mood nor my behavior. I can choose to allow my Lord to replace stress with peace, fear with trust, weariness with supernatural strength.
And I am so grateful that when I do, He faithfully keeps His promises!
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.
Comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.