We often ask in our home, “what do you need to help get your heart and mind back to calm?” One of the gifts of raising kids who’ve been through trauma is that we’ve had to learn tools to help them through heart-rumbling moments — that have ultimately become tools for ourselves, too.
It’s a bit unrealistic to think you’ll make a wise choice against distraction in your frustrated, anxious, fearful moments. (And we are in a world full of fearful, frustrated, anxious moments.)
So in our home, we have a step in between that stuck, spinning moment and being able to dialogue with God or return to our normal next task. We take a minute or seven or twenty to “bring ourselves back to calm.” This means finding a gentle way to let our minds rest, our hearts slow, and our anxious habits pause before we expect ourselves to act rationally and reason and be present in the moment or with God.
This pause looks like putting in headphones and listening to music. Or curling up in bed to listen to an audiobook. Or taking a walk in the woods.
It’s a pause between our anxious moment and the phone or the fridge, but it’s not a quick pivot. It’s a chance to bring us out of our spiraling thoughts into the present, where God can meet us and where we can reach for Him.
While I wish it were as simple as “put down your phone” or, instead, “stop doing bad things” as we often scold ourselves behind our eyes, something about this in-between step reminds me of His gentleness.
He’s not in a hurry with my heart … or yours.