Thursday, January 21, 2021

Keep Calm - Martin Wiles

I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Psalm 34:4 NLT

The note gave one simple suggestion: “Keep Calm.”

Teaching challenges the best of us. Teaching middle schoolers presents a greater test, and teaching any students two weeks prior to summer vacation is yet more challenging. But I had the task, as I had had for the past six years.

One young student knew her class had pushed my buttons to the limit. Not her. She was a model student who always came in with a smile on her face, maintained a positive attitude even when her grades weren’t what she wanted, and did her best. 

Near the end of class, she asked for a sticky note. I handed her a small one, thinking she needed it for a bookmark. Class ended, and I didn’t see her again until the end of the day when she pranced into my room, handed me the note, smiled, and left.

The note wasn’t plain blue anymore. She had multicolored it. When finished with the coloring, she wrote the message, “Keep Calm,” in large letters. She gave me a big smile as she handed me the note. “I made this for you,” she beamed. I thanked her, and she went on her merry way.

Little did she know how much I needed the message. Not only because of the hectic scenarios that can arise when we near the end of a school year but also because of the challenges my wife and I faced at home.

I had been doing a lot of what the psalmist had done, but I hadn’t been freed from all my fears. Anxiety and worry dominated my thoughts. I was giving in to the messages of the enemy when I should have been listening to the verse … and the note.

Some days and life seasons make anxiety and worry easier to come by. Overcoming them means recognizing the perceived sources because the perceived sources are not the origins at all. For sure, some scenarios make it easier to be anxious, but no one or nothing can make me anxious, just as no one or nothing can make me angry. I choose anxiety and worry.

We can also choose the opposite: freedom from fears. God gives us the free will to do so, along with the promise that He controls our situations and can bring peace during them if we’ll face them with the correct mindset. The choice is ours, but so are the consequences. Fear and worry bring anxiety, while prayer and trust bring peace.

When you think you just can’t face one more day—or one more problem—keep calm.

Prayer: Father, help us to remain calm when it appears that everything is out of control.

Tweetable: Are anxiety and worry dominating your life? 

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