• Mary Grothe

Calm Is Contagious

Calm is contagious. But it is hard. I’m in the middle of a storm right now with a situation at work, and being calm is the hardest commitment I keep trying to make to myself and everyone around me.

They say the enemy knows your well-worn paths… meaning the enemy knows how to get you in very sneaky, undetectable ways, by targeting you on a well-worn path where your guard might be down or where you’re so worn down, it’s harder for you to fight.

I’ve been described as “intense, passionate, outspoken” and “enthusiastic”. Yes, I know that my excitement levels and tone can easily elevate. I grew up in the performing arts, for goodness sakes. I can certainly “dial it up” when I want - and sometimes it just happens.

The intensity in my emotions can be triggered and can be a reactionary response to stressful situations. I don’t like it when I am triggered. And I shudder at the thought of some of the intense emotional responses I’ve had in my life… especially when another person has to receive or witness those explosive reactions.

I’ve kept a pretty good handle on my emotional triggers the past couple of years, but every now and then, a battle comes along that seems to get the best of me. BUT being calm is who I strive to be.

I want to be a calm CEO and lead my team calmly through storms. I want to be a calm mama and wife who is slow to anger and always seeks to understand, treating my loved ones with grace, kindness, and love. I also want to be calm as a professional woman with many professional relationships, especially with my clients.

Wanting to be and being are two different things. Wanting is not enough. But wanting is a start.

Hate the feeling after you calm down from an intense emotional reaction? Wish you hadn’t done it? Me too.

Here is the process I’ve started to tackle this blind spot in my life. I am excited to share it with you.

  1. Make a list of all the situations that trigger you.

  2. Then identify trends within each situation…

  3. Time of the day, week, month, year, etc.

  4. People the situation involves

  5. Where it occurs

  1. Look at each trigger’s description and the detail surrounding it. Ask yourself, at what exact point, during the situation as it unfolded, did you start to feel your emotional state changing?

  1. When your emotional state started changing, did you start flooding yourself with “stories” that were attached to the facts of the situation? Let me explain.

When information enters our minds and becomes known to us, we as humans do something with that information. We react, respond, or disregard the information as non-important. When information enters our minds and we start to tell a story around it and interpret the data, we set ourselves up for either an emotional reaction, which may not come out the way we hope, or we set ourselves up for a well-thought-out calm response.

The power is within each of us to respond calmly and not react. HOWEVER, that is WAY EASIER said than done… that’s why making a list of the common triggers and identifying the trends within them is key.

The enemy knows your well-worn paths. The enemy knows the quickest route to stealing your joy. You must protect yourself.

Take the list of trends and patterns. You might notice there are common culprits for your triggers. There might be a boss, co-worker, friend, or family member that “gets to you” easily or really sets you off. You might have emotional sensitivity to certain tasks or to-dos at home or at work. Being at a certain place, like the grocery store, work, or a friend’s house could be triggering for you too.

TAKE THE LIST and PRAY ABOUT THE LIST! This is NOT a battle you have to fight by yourself! The Lord is your shepherd and HE will watch over you, comfort you, fight for you, and protect you… if you let Him.

TAKE THE LIST and educate yourself. Read through it. Study it. Memorize it. And declare victory over the triggers and tell the enemy that your loving and powerful God will not allow theft and destruction.

The longer something has triggered you, the harder it may be to overcome it.

I grew up in a household where ‘everything I did was wrong’. I never felt that I brought value. I was scolded and ‘in trouble’ every day. My parents called me (yes, they did… and forgive me for writing this…) ‘the retarded one’. I was the brunt of so many jokes in my house. Because of this, I am extremely sensitive to always providing value to everyone I know. I want everyone’s life to be better because I am in it. I want the Lord to speak to me all day every day and tell me how I can serve each specific person that crosses my path that day. I want to be a blessing to everyone. But, I have triggers… and a big trigger for me is not feeling valued, especially when I pour my heart into serving someone. If they consistently pick, poke, devalue, tear apart, and critique everything that I do, I know I don’t have a place in their life long-term.

God created me in His image. I am remarkable. I am talented. My heart is built to love and serve others. But if they consistently can't feel my value and cherish my value, it’s time for me to take my value to someone else whose life will be better because I am in it and they will make me feel valued and cherished through the process.

What are your triggers?

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