“Calm down.” The two words someone with a short fuse cannot bear to hear.
I’m a usually-stressed type of person. That doesn’t sound very appealing (sorry friends), but I guess it’s true. I get stressed out easily, I worry a lot, and I don’t tend to take advice from people who want to offer a way out of that.
“Just take a deep breath, write a list, and you’ll get through it!“
The response is normally a swift glare, before the words “I DON’T EVEN HAVE TIME TO DO THAT!!“. Then a couple of days later, the list of ‘impossible’ things will be completed, and the “I told you so’s” are dancing around my brain.
Maybe deep down I enjoy putting myself under pressure, or maybe I’m just a seriously forgetful person who lacks the ability to gain knowledge from past experiences – either way it’s just not a good trait.
Recently I’ve been trying to work out ways to avoid these moments; weekly planners are being filled out every Sunday night, daily to-do lists are gathered in my InkDori and stuck on my bedroom walls, and even my work friends are aware of my serious need for lists – they wait patiently, let me stress and don’t ask any questions until the [life saving] list has been written (thank you!).
I’d love to say that list-making has cured me, and I’m now a wonderful, happy, patient girl who’s 100% brilliant at dealing with stressful situations. But all of these motions don’t stop me from momentary stresses, which result in the most unattractive-laura-moments of hissy fits when I’m helpfully told to “calm down, breathe, relax!”
Just when I’d basically given up on the dream of becoming a restful woman, and leaving my temper tantrums behind me – God spoke.
I returned from one of theeee most relaxing and restorative weeks, celebrating my 21st birthday from a house with a view of the beach from one end, and a view of the Mourne mountains from the other. I went for walks in the forest during the day, sat by an open fire at night, and even ended up on a day trip to Dublin. My heart felt free from stress, and my mind was de-cluttered – right until I walked back through my front door and remembered about the assignment due the very next day.
After a few hours stressing over that, forgetting about the calm and peaceful Laura who had existed just hours before, I went upstairs to realise my mum had kindly bought me a new duvet cover, covered in words and stripes. My bedroom is one of my favourite places, so freshly washed sheets and new duvet scenes create heart-eyes in me. Right there in front of me, on my brand-spanking new bed cover…
Adj, calmer, calmest.
- Nearly or completely motionless’ undisturbed: the calm surface of the lake.
- An absence or cessation of motion; stillness.
- Serenity; tranquillity; peace.
(Yes, this entire piece of text is written on a duvet – numbers and definitions included!)
WOW. I felt rebuked.
The next day I got up forgetting it all over again, and went back to assignment stressing. I had picked up some packages on my way to the coffee shop where I was finishing my assignment, but I set them aside until I’d finished it. Walking out of the coffee shop, when I should be jumping for joy having finalised and sent the stressful assignment, I was sent into a downward spiral of panic because it was snowing – and I hate driving in snow. No calm Laura here.
I arrived home and had minus 10 minutes to get ready to head out again, so I grunted at my family and stressed some more. The night ended and I came home to open my packages. A gift from a great friend stared me right in the face – rebuked again.
God’s little book of Calm.
She knows me very well, but I know she didn’t choose that gift – God did. My mum knows how much I adore little inspirational quotes to fill my room with, but she didn’t choose a duvet with this message on it – God did!
How wonderful to think that a God who created this entire universe, and has so many people, places, and things to watch over is actually working specifically to send me little messages, and give me some help. He cares SO much. He knows we need a couple of pushes before we actually make a change, but he doesn’t get impatient, he just laughs and keeps trying until it hits us right in the face.
All of those practical motions are all well and good, but without some meaning and texture behind it all we can’t get anywhere.
This life was not meant to be lived alone. We are not supposed to be completely independent. We feel lost some days for a reason.
God created us with a need and desire for Him – call on it.