Just Stay Calm

There will be days where you won’t feel like getting up.

You won’t want to drag your tired body out of bed to face the same job, the same circumstances or the same hardship you’ve been greeting for what feels like too long.

There will be days where you will get up and you will fight the thing inside of you that wants to crawl back beneath the sheets. Depression, or sadness, or just loss of momentum— we all have those days where living seems impossible and we can’t see the light coming for us at the end of any supposed tunnel.

I have plenty of these days. These days are the one that make you eager for a do-over by 10am. Even if it isn’t the brightest day— not the best Tuesday or Wednesday to ever grace your calendar— be there anyway. Be present to that day. Deal with the discomfort of feeling “not enough” or “not there yet.” Don’t swallow those feelings as truth but compare them to the truth of what God says about your “not enough” or “not there yet” attitude.

Something is happening in this process. These hard days are not wasted. On the days where you find it the hardest to wake up, God fights harder for you.

I’ve been reading through the Old Testament lately with a goal to finish the bible in the next few months. I’m not on any sort of reading plan because the overachiever inside of me knows I will take any sort of plan and make it about achievement instead of God. I can so easily leave God out of the equation when I can find a way to perform or shine on my own.

Even though I left Exodus a few weeks ago, I cannot shake Exodus 14:14 from my head. “The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.” The NLV translation of that verse reads, “The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”

Just stay calm. When it feels like people have forgotten about you and you can’t see purpose in what you are doing. Just stay calm. When you want to give up or you don’t see the point. Just stay calm. Just stand still. There a dozen ways to rephrase that but the message is still the same: you need to wait.

Don’t get ahead of yourself. Don’t try to fix everything on your own. The point isn’t to arrive “there,” the point is to meet with God in the “right now.”

On some of my darkest days, I find I have to be more open to God pouring His grace all over my shortcomings. The days where I feel most inadequate are the days I want to claim I don’t need God, but in actuality those are the days where I need Him fighting for me the most. I find a way to loosen the grip. I let go. I give myself the grace to be in process.

Maybe today is that day for you. Maybe you woke up, poured your coffee, and used all the strength reserve you had inside of you to avoid going back to bed. You’re here. You’re in the middle of your day but nothing feels right and nothing feels purposeful. A few things to remember:

1. These days are normal.

We all have days where things don’t go right. We all have days where nothing is actually wrong but there’s something in our spirit that battles with anxiety and sadness all day. These days are not a failure. These days teach us to let God in and let Him take over.

2. Small things stack up.

Whenever I am feeling low but I know I have to get things done, I look at my day and I ask myself the question, “What is one thing I can do in the next 5 minutes?” Start there. Start with that small task and then do another. Figure out the things that you absolutely must do in the day and then give yourself grace if the rest doesn’t get finished. You are allowed to have off days. The small tasks will stack up into bigger victories if you just keep going.

3. Trust the fight happening inside of you.

It’s not easy to trust God when we don’t know His strategies for the battle. He fights differently than us. The most important thing you can do is trust that something is happening inside of you— things are shifting— even when you can’t see it. God does a lot of work, some of it visible and some of it invisible. Don’t discount the process just because you can’t see the resolution yet.

4. Just stay calm.

Really though. It’s a process to stay calm when your brain is darting in every direction but each of us must learn to breathe. This day won’t last forever. This feeling will fade too. Just stay calm and look forward.

Hannah Brencher

Hannah Brencher founded the global organization More Love Letters in 2011 and cofounded If You Find This Email in 2015. Her memoir “If You Find This Letter” is now in bookstores across the country.  Connect with her on Twitter.   


Join the discussion