193. Calm Down!

Isaiah 7:4-7 MSG Tell him, Listen, calm down. Don’t be afraid. And don’t panic over these two burnt-out cases, Rezin of Aram and the son of Remaliah. They talk big but there’s nothing to them. (5) Aram, along with Ephraim’s son of Remaliah, have plotted to do you harm. They’ve conspired against you, saying, (6) ‘Let’s go to war against Judah, dismember it, take it for ourselves, and set the son of Tabeel up as a puppet king over it.’ (7) But GOD, the Master, says, “It won’t happen. Nothing will come of it.

In addition to listening to the Lord in times of trouble and in fear inducing situations (see the previous two posts about actively listening to the Lord and what to do when listening seems difficult), you need to Calm Down. That word translated calm down here in the Message Bible is translated “Be quiet” in the NKJV. It is the Hebrew word shâqaṭ. It means to be quiet, still, at peace, to rest; to kick back, put your feet up, shut up and relax.

Does that mean when someone hears a report that causes their neck to tense up, their thoughts to run wild, and everything in their head and body tells them they need to do something, they should grab an ice tea and sit out on the patio in the shade? In a manner of speaking, Yes. That is unless it’s the middle of a frigged winter. In that case take try the recliner next to a fire.

How is that going to help? First off, being quiet and not speaking will help you by not making matters worse. Fear is contagious (Fear is an Airborne Virus) Keeping your mouth shut until you are sure about how to respond will keep you from speaking your concerns, which can morph into fear in those around you. It also helps you clearly listen to the Lord (Heb 12:25). Lastly, it keeps you from speaking out of any fear stirring on the inside of you so you won’t ‘awfullize’ the situation. Remember: Faith comes by hearing… Well, fear also comes by hearing…

Secondly, taking a little bit to quietly process, relax and listen to the Lord keeps you from doing something hastily. Fear drives people toward action (fight or flight). That is why fear tactics are often used to get people to make emotional decisions. It is often used in television commercials (time is running out, limited time offer, etc.) and in high pressure sales environments like many car lots. Isaiah 52:12 admonishes us , “…not go out in haste.” In other words, “Don’t be in such a hurry to make a decision.” Haste yields anxiety and anxiety grows to fear.

Some things are time sensitive. Even then, most urgent issues can wait 30 minutes or even a few days before they require a response. If there is a time table you are dealing with, find out when you have to respond. If it is really that huge of a decision you have to make or that life altering information you have received and you are being pressured to respond on the spot. Unless it is life or death, which most things aren’t, tell them you are going to take some time to pray.

Then go do something relaxing. If you’re a golfer, go to the driving range. Not being a golfer that would probably only stress me out, so I like to go for a jog. Get a glass of tea and go sit on the porch. Pray in the Spirit until you are calm. I’ve even watched a funny program or a short light hearted movie with my kids to help get to a place where I could just go get quiet, be still, and relax. Be still and know that He is God and if you’ll allow Him, He will be exalted in your situation (Psalm 46:10). Calm Down and Fear Not!

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