How to Respond with Calm When Situations Swirl

Respond with Calm

Do you know how to respond with calm when situations swirl? Here’s my story and tips that might help all of us.

Remaining Calm

I heard the noise. What was supposed to be a mower attacking blades of grass had a distinctly different sound.

Ker-chunk!

Shortly after, the door opened and in walked our youngest son, Caleb. New to mowing, he was sprouting his summertime, blade-cutting wings.

“Ummm, Mom?” he sheepishly asked.

“Yes?” I answered.

“You might want to come look at this,” he responsed.

Realizing something was off the mower’s normal-beaten path, I listened as he explained how he hit the new guttering. The expensive project was installed only weeks before.

“Part of it flew off into the yard, Mom.”

I cringed.

Keep calm, Kristi. Remember, your words will cut or give life. It’s only guttering. He’s more important. 

An elbow lay, beaten and slightly torn, ten feet from the point of impact. The screws were ripped clean out of the long downspout, but a quick pop and they were back in place…somewhat. The curved piece stood as tall as possible considering its roughed-up, trying-to-be-toughened-up condition from the mower’s unexpected attack. Regardless, the downspout elbow was salvaged.

Darling son continued to mow, and our relationship was good.

The Peace of God

That wasn’t always the case. I have a tongue that can cut through a little kid’s skin, straight to the depths of a tender heart. Adults too.

Maybe you understand? Have you ever had trouble with your words, winding up and tossing out the wrong ones, speaking and whizzing them at another with the speed of a fast pitch baseball? It’s easy to react, isn’t it?

It’s harder to walk through in peace, to stand tall in God’s calm. But that’s where righteousness reigns. (And the outcome is better, too!)

So how do we respond with calm, with Jesus at the helm of our peace, when situations whirl? Here are three areas to consider:

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1. Remember

And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31 NLT

Remember “they” are our neighbor. They’re important.

Amid the guttering situation I found an internal cheerleader reminding me to treat Caleb the way I would want to be treated. Believe me, my flesh argued.

Whether it’s a child, spouse, friend, or foe, our “co-star” in the situation has been made by the same Creator that formed and fashioned us. Our Lord calls us to love them as ourself. Being bathed with anger, poked with sharp responses, or slathered with chilly silence doesn’t speak love. Remembering this before we respond is key.

Battle well, my friend. God has your back.

2. Falling Short

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23 NIV

Boy, I can certainly make a mess in life, falling short of the glory of God. Goodness knows I’ve had my share, and often a battle of the blow-up type led the way. Those pesky, short-tempered words…

We all hiccup, sin, and make poor choices from time to time, but then Jesus comes along with grace. Good ‘ol, life-saving grace, where would we be without it? Where would we be without Jesus?

Have mercy!

His grace is beautifully sufficient for us, amid our insufficiency. It is sufficient for “them” too. It’s much easier to freely give space and grace when we recall we’re all members of the “falling short/God of grace” club. 

The bended knee of humility will take you far. He’s faithful.

3. The Choice

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15 NIV

It boils down to a choice. Yes, each “guttering” response offers opportunity, a choice to serve the Lord God Almighty. We may not like what’s been thrown at us, and it may not even be fair, but it’s there. The choice on how to proceed, with emotions or with faith, is yours. Whom will you serve?

Proceed well, my friend. God awaits, and it’s good.


Exciting News!

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The winner, after the re-draw, of Danise Jurado’s Fulfilled: Learning to Live the Life God Promised, is Susan Mead. Yay for Susan!

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Today is release day for Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams and Premonitions. It’s loaded with entertaining and encouraging stories. If you peek at page 333, you’ll see my story Tested, Not Arrested. (Can you tell I’m excited?! Thank You, Lord.) It’s available to buy here. 

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Would love to have you  join me as we link here: Intentionally Pursuing, Purposeful Faith, Holly Barrett, Jennifer Dukes LeeHolley Gerth, and Suzie Eller.
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29 Comments

  1. It’s really hard to keep your calm when things really really go crazy and when someone piss you. But I agree. It’s a choice. No one can make you angry unless you let them (forgot who said that). And in the end, our reaction defines us and not the situation or the other person.

  2. “It boils down to a choice.” Yes, Kristi! And as I am so often the “swirl” and not the “calm,” it is clearly a choice I need to make more wisely, more often. Thanks for the challenge today at the #‎RaRalinkup‬!

  3. Yes, yes. Every response, every reaction gives us that invitation to make a choice. And only by His grace can we do it in a way that honors Christ, that encourages others, that makes His light shine.

    Thank you for these words today, Kristi …

  4. Sounds like you were really led by the spirit in that situation Kristi! I must say that I have always been pretty adept at injuring people with my tongue. I ask God daily to help me with that . I’ve noticed I am at peace more often with fewer arguments and hurt feelings for sure. I am still a work in progress but I am thankful that God is working through me. So glad I found your link via intentional Tuesday. My mother is getting the urge to write and she asked me to send her some links. I think she will be encouraged reading your thoughts too. Many blessings to your and yours. Have a wonderful week!

    1. We’re all works in progress, Horace. Thank God that He is patient and faithful. And thanks for sharing the link with your mom.

  5. Wow, congratulations — holding your tongue through that one was certainly evidence of God at work in your life. Thanks for the motivation to think and then speak, to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit in my home!

  6. Congratulations on the book release!!! What a great connection, Kristi, that our responses are ultimately an opportunity to serve God or walk in disobedience to His command. Thank you, Kristi, for sharing your heart at #IntentionalTuesday on Intentionally Pursuing. : )

  7. These are 3 good choices to make Kristi, when our emotions are swirling. This is helping me to hold on to truth with how to respond to my daughter’s attitude about home school lately. Just stopping to remember would help me keep my mouth shut on many ocassions! #TestimonyTuesday

  8. Congrats on your publication release. I am happy for you.
    It may not be easy responding calmly in the midst of very troubling situations. Thank you for drawing attention to the words we say. They are very important.
    I am intentionally learning to keep calm by His Grace.

    God Bless Krisiti

  9. Gosh, every single day do I have to remind myself that my young ones are tender. Every day do I pray to receive God’s perspective…that they are learning and growing, not adults with full understanding and discipline. Even if they were grown, we all fall. Thanks for providing scriptures. I like to keep them on the tip of my tongue too. My family life is much better when I do;) Have a great week, Kristi!

  10. Congrats on the book, Kristi! : ) Also -I just love this. Had a recent experience where by no one’s intended fault a long-awaited investment took a hit, too. Focusing on Him and on His provision helped ease that….and these words will stick in my mind too! #TellHisStory

  11. Your words are a welcome salve to someone who has beaten herself up about words in the heat of the moment… God has grace sufficient for those past flubs, and is waiting for me to ask Him to fuel me with better words for future!
    Just, awesome. Always love visiting your blog, girl! Much love….

    1. Oh Christine…we understand each other. I beat myself up at times, too. It’s a ploy of the enemy, I tell ya. Eyes on Jesus proves solution-worthy. xo

  12. Yep, I can always use a reminder of this lesson, Kristi. Guarding our reactions is a life-long challenge — at least it is for me! 🙂 And congrats on your story in the Chicken Soup book! Very exciting!

    1. I’m with you, Cheryl. Life long….. 🙂 Thanks for your congrats. We’ll have to celebrate both your’s and my milestone at writer’s group.

  13. Kristi, I’ve been on the giving end of cutting words, too, but like you, I’ve found that when I hold them in, I never, ever regret it! I’m also thinking about the truth that my husband and daughters are my neighbors. I probably would never talk to actual, outside-my-house neighbors in an irritated, critical way, but I can easily slip into doing that with my family neighbors. Yikes … convicting! 🙂