Ten Things I Did To Become A Calmer Person

Ten Things I Did To Become A Calmer Person
Photo by Scott Broome / Unsplash

I get frustrated easily.

It’s usually little old ladies who pay for groceries with a check. A check! I know. I know. It isn’t nice, and I want to be different.

In fact, I don’t just want to be different.

I work hard to be different—kinder and calmer.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. — 1 Corinthians 13:4

That is the kind of spirit I want to have as I raise two young boys. As I fight for a healthy marriage. As I develop myself as a leader.

So I have to work on being calmer.

brown wooden swing
Photo by James Garcia on Unsplash

Here are ten things I do to become calmer:

1. I learned to take my thoughts less seriously.

Thoughts are just approximations, and not ONE of them needs to be listened to.

I learned to judge if a thought is helpful, kind, or true. If it doesn’t match one of those criteria, I throw it out as a bunch of gobbledegook.

I don’t live off of what I feel. Those are meaningless fumes. I live off of what I know to be true.

2. I stopped looking for validation.

The greatest lie ever believed is that others have the power to raise or lower your self-esteem.

That lie has been nurtured through social media.

The only validation I needed was already given to me; Jesus determined I was worth dying for. I try to live a life worthy of that and ignore the rest.

3. I started praying for God’s Spirit over mine.

Bad things happen when I’m left to my vices. I’ve already admitted my pitiful frustration at little old ladies who pay with a check.

That’s why I need something better, more powerful, planted inside of me.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. — Romans 15:13

Here’s the thing: When I pray for God’s Spirit instead of my own, I get it every time.

4. I accepted the things about me I didn’t like.

Am I allowed to do that?

The world tries to sell off, cover up, or bribe away all the bad things about us. Can I simply . . . accept them?

I’ve made mistakes. I continue to make mistakes. I’ve learned to forgive myself, as Jesus has already done for me, and I move on.

It’s possible.

5. I recognized that consuming garbage made me feel terrible.

My buddy was feeling down in the dumps last week. I asked how he had been spending his time. He responded, “Playing video games and eating junk.”

I didn’t have to say much after that.

I no longer worry about where my anxiety comes from when I spend the weekend binge-watching Netflix and scrolling social media (simultaneously!).

Junk In = Junk Out

Every time.

6. I read my Bible more often.

I got really bad at this for a while, which is not something you want to hear from your pastor.

But I’m human too.

I started tracking my reading to fix it: 10 minutes of personal Bible reading every (well, almost every) day.

When the words of life fill your cup daily, it’s amazing how much calmer you feel.

7. I took responsibility.

For everything!

I say sorry more than ever before. Maybe you see that as a weakness, but I see it as a strength.

  • When my wife and I argue: that’s on me.
  • When my kids act out: that’s on me.
  • When war breaks out across the globe: I contributed.
  • When people walk around cursing God: I dropped the ball.

I want to be in the driver's seat of my life, not a leaf floating by. I’m a contributor, not a consumer.

So I take responsibility and fight to change things for the better.

8. I surrounded myself with people who made me better.

I am the sum total of the five people I spent the most time with.

I don’t spend much time with complainers, gossips, or people who whine. It’s not my crowd and not who I want to become.

  • I want to be more like Christ, so I surround myself with people who are like Christ.
  • I want to achieve more, so I surround myself with achievers.
  • I want to be wise, so there are a lot of wise people in my inner circle.

9. I did more things that made me proud.

I wrote a book and a workbook.

I create valuable content every day.

I am raising a family.

I’ve been married for 10 years.

I help lead a growing church.

I’m working on my second master’s degree.

These are all things I value and that make me proud. There is nothing wrong with pride that’s been properly placed.

Don’t you think God was proud of his creation?

10. I stopped complaining.

When I stopped focusing on what I disliked around me, practiced non-resistance, and just took action, I could literally feel my mood shift.

Simply put, I stopped complaining. I stopped whining.

I started doing, fixing, listening, and learning.

I became curious instead of critical, and it changed everything for me.