I think most would agree that “chaos” is a fitting description for what we experience on a day-to-day basis. The constant onslaught of never-ending to-do lists, errands to run, kids to shuttle, meetings to attend, meals to make, and deadlines to hit leaves us worn out and willing to do almost anything to simply experience a few moments of calm in the chaos. Yet, if you don’t do the hard work of intentionally seeking to pursue calm, you may move from being worn out to burned out. Burnout is the quickest way out of whatever mission God has called you to.
So what do we do? Here are four ways to find calm in the chaos of life:
1. Set your alarm to wake up earlier
Just 15 to 30 minutes will give you more time and make you feel less rushed. Have a cup of coffee, reflect on the day ahead, and put your make-up on at home instead of in the car while looking in the rearview mirror (can we all agree that’s terrifyingly dangerous??).
2. Schedule your personal devotions
We schedule time to be with a countless number of people throughout our lives, so why not schedule time to be alone with Jesus? One of the most important keys to a consistent devotional life is finding a time and place where it will live. Put it on the calendar, set it as a reminder, and schedule your day around your most important meeting.
3. Shut off your devices
Each day I sit at my office desk and nearly have a heart attack as my phone, computer, and tablet all ring calendar reminders in unison. I’m halfway under my desk before remembering that that’s my technology helping me have more “order” in my life, not an air raid on our suburban office suit. If it’s not my calendar, it’s a text message – or one of the many apps that fill my phone, pushing me notifications and nearly pushing me into buying a trailer in the woods and waiting for the rapture. My point is, we need to shut these devices off once in a while. Maybe it’s an hour in the morning, or after you get home in the evening. Shut them off and enjoy the calm of knowing you won’t be audibly assaulted by something that’s supposed to make your life more manageable.
4. Section off time for quiet
Once a month I try to schedule a retreat day when I unplug from the many things that fill my to-do list and enjoy a more calming day. I read, write, and reflect. I know not everyone has the level of flexibility I do, but we can all section off a few hours here and there to intentionally enjoy some quiet time. The lists will never end and the tasks will continue to come. If we’re going to experience regular seasons of “calm” in our lives, we need to create it.
So, in the midst of everything else you do, try adding “calm” to your to-do list today.