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Finding Calm within the Chaos


“The ideal of calm exists in a sitting cat.”

~Jules Renard~

I had just turned 20 years old when I got married. I was still in college, competing as an NCAA athlete, all while learning how to be a wife, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, aunt, etc. I found myself in unchartered waters, trying to be all of these things all while trying to still be a “kid”. Don’t get me wrong, I stand by my decision to marry young! Our marriage has been everything I dreamed of plus some! You can say now we are shooting to one day celebrate the big 50th anniversary and could possibly celebrate the whopping 75th if we live forever! But jokes aside, as we become adults, we also find chaos with our decisions and responsibilities. Hang with me here, this is going to sound messy for a bit.

I am currently reading a couple of books, and yes, I am one of those people and proud of it. One of the books is “Chasing Slow” by Erin Loechner. One thing she says that struck me was this:

“But I also wonder if God has given us a few things- an aging parent, some mouths to feed, a recent job loss- and we have given ourselves many more things- the Target credit card bill, a yard to mow, a bigger house with an extra bedroom for guests, three dinner parties to host, and the inability to say no to serving the animal crackers in Sunday school twice this month. Between God’s giving and our own giving, there is excess” (pg. 87).

Loechner goes on to say that “suddenly, we have tipped the scale. We’re stressed. We pray for deliverance, for peace, for our joy to return” (pg. 88). In other words, we are responsible for a lot of our chaos! And at some point, we try to find an ending to all of it. And yes, there is hope, there is always hope. So, let’s look at some ways to FIND THE CALM WITHIN THE CHAOS.

I think we all can agree that we have had times of chaos in our lives. Some of the chaos is what we have created with our own choices, and some of the chaos may be from other situations out of our control. No matter which one it may be, we can definitely find some CALM to help us manage. So let’s look at FINDING CALM WITHIN THE CHAOS for a healthy mindset!

CONTROL WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL, LET GO OF WHAT YOU CAN’T There are things out of our control, and we have to learn to let go of these. Control what we can and move on! We can’t control what other people think or do. Those are their decisions to make.

STOP TRYING TO PLEASE EVERYONE! Ok, this is a big one! Many of us are pleasers and doers, and after a while this becomes an overwhelming cycle that can cause a lot of stress. Now I am not saying that you should quit helping people, or volunteering. One thing I have learned while working in the medical field AND coaching sports is that you CANNOT PLEASE EVERYONE! Read this again, YOU CANNOT PLEASE EVERYONE. And you have to learn to be ok with this. You are not going to be liked by everyone, and you will never please everyone. And if you continually try to please everyone, you are setting yourself up for so much anxiety and unhappiness. This is just life people- we are all different and have different needs and wants. And honestly, do you like EVERYONE? Here are a few questions I always ask myself when I have to make a hard decision- Did I act/treat everyone fairly? Did I do it morally? Did I stick to my values? Then I move on. This is where you really have to know what is important to you in your personal life. You may need to share some duties with the other PTA members or allow some other people to help instead of always being the go-to. If some of these things are interfering with your family life, your health, etc, then you might need to evaluate your choices. Once you learn to stop trying to please everyone you will find the CALM you need in life.

LASER FOCUS ON THE DAY AT HAND Ok, this is honestly something I must live by. If I look at my calendar, I usually see a week or a month that is jam-packed! It can become overwhelming. But if I have laser focus on the current day and ONLY focus on what needs to be done on that day, I can stop the chaos that can take over my thoughts. I usually make a list of the items that are urgent or high priority, and work on those first, then I can work down my list accordingly. Then I will work on tomorrow when tomorrow arrives.

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” (Matthew 6:34)

MAKE A “LIFE LIST” A few years ago I felt overworked, run down, and was really missing out on things I had always enjoyed doing. So, I sat down with an index card and made a list of things I wanted “to get back into my life”. I put this index card in my purse and looked at it frequently. These things included running/working out consistently, reading, bible study, cooking, visiting my family more (they live 3 hours away), hiking with my family. I really had to look at this list and decide how I was going to get back some of these things I enjoyed. I had to remind myself the importance of time versus being overworked and spread thin with other areas in my life. So, making a life list of what you want and reminding yourself of what you enjoy can help find some calm. But obviously something in your life schedule will have to give to make room for your list.

BE HAPPY WITH WHAT YOU HAVE! We have all heard this, but it is true. Stop and look at what you already have, find the blessings that are right in front of you. Some of us are great at this and already live a life of less. Some of us have to work a little harder at this. Spending more money in general is probably going to create more chaos unless it is a real NEED. MORE material items will eventually have to get cleaned out and donated to Goodwill. MORE material items will need dusted. MORE material items become CLUTTER. CLUTTER CAUSES CHAOS. Do our kids really need more toys or more clothes? As the author I quoted earlier mentions, that Target Credit Card is going to cause more chaos than calm in the long run. How about spending more time with your family going on a walk or a picnic? One of my favorite things to do, and my girls enjoy this just as much, is to go for a drive to nowhere with the windows down and the radio blasting! I also love riding in my husband’s truck with him, going nowhere, just being with him. Try it, put your hand outside your window, feel the wind resistance, enjoy just BEING.

LET YOUR NO BE NO, YOUR YES BE YES! When Chad and I got married, we had a dear sweet neighbor, Carla. She gave me the best advice that I will remember until I go to my grave- “Let your no be no, your yes be yes, and no explanation needs to be given.” I will just leave this right here as it is because it definitely calms the chaos😊

JUST TAKE A BREAK! I think cats have all the answers, they turn their heads and find a quiet place to just rest! When we are drowning in chaos, sometimes the best thing to do is take a break! When we are sick, our bodies need rest. Good ol’ fashioned rest! Life can become a rat race, and it is easy to get caught up in it without knowing it. But taking a break is so good for the soul! Sometimes that break can help clear your mind, give you a different perspective on whatever you may be overwhelmed with. Taking a break, going for a walk, a jog, phoning a friend, having a glass of water, taking a relaxing bath- these are just a few ways to take a break and do a reset. Have a cup of coffee or tea, enjoy some quiet time, or listen to some music. Find a way to just breathe and get back to feeling some calm.

As we look at finding calm within the chaos, I hope some of these suggestions will help put matters into a new perspective. We have a choice, and once we learn to exercise our choices, we can find some calm to start enjoying a more peaceful, strong mindset amongst the chaos that can show its head some seasons.

Jennifer Hefner

HH Mindset Coach

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