Fights, fights, everywhere. In the streets, on airplanes, at political rallies. I have never seen Americans so on edge and willing to fight at the drop of a hat. How do we keep our cool? Paul referred to the Corinthians volatile nature: “quarrels, jealousy, flaring tempers, taking sides, angry words, vicious rumors, swelled heads, and general bedlam…” (2 Cor. 12:20). Sounds like he was watching CNN, doesn’t it?
Photo Credit: Christi Childs
I travel a lot on airplanes. The other day, two men nearly came to blows over their bags not fitting in the overhead bin. They squared off in the aisle until finally one of them moved his bag a few rows back. The whole plane was saved from delay or canceling the flight because one guy “gave in and sat down.”
How do we KEEP OUR COOL?
1. Determine your life priority and don’t worry about anything else.
- In his book “Essentialism” by Greg McKeown, the author says the word “priority” was singular for 500 years. Only in the 19th century did it become a plural word: “priorities.” There is really no such thing!
- Pick your priority. Does it really matter? Move your bag. Let them go first in line. Your priority is to “arrive alive!”
2. Focus on witnessing with kindness.
- Kindness and civility are virtually absent in our society. Angry neighbors accost their neighbor over a piece of trash that blows into their yard. Why not help your neighbor by picking up his blowing trash and putting out his can for him?
- I look for ways all day to show kindness, compliments, gratitude, and simple actions to bless others. In our culture today it has become the number one way to witness!
3. Be sensitive to the strong opinions of others.
- Everyone has an opinion about the elections right now. They are mad and angry. Nightly debates generate more fury. Flaring tempers play out on prime time.
- Listening has never caused a fight. When you are in the presence of someone with a strong opinion, become a good listener. If they ask your opinion, tell them you are still sorting it all out!
4. Give yourself more margin.
- When you arrange your schedule “to the minute,” it only takes a small delay to blow your stack! People are always in your way keeping you from achieving your highly managed schedule
- Add 50% to everything. If you need 30 minutes to get somewhere, add 15 minutes to it. This “margin” keeps you from blowing up if you have one light turn red.
5. Practice solitude.
- I try to have solitude every morning. Reading fifteen minutes and a season of worship and prayer “reset my thermostat” to cool!
- You will be amazed at how restrained you are late in the evening when you have refreshed yourself early in the morning.
Recently, one of the candidates turned to the other in an angry exchange and said, “Breathe…breathe…breathe…!”
Breathe in the cool, refreshing breath of the Holy Spirit. Calm down. Become a blessing. Our nation needs it right now.
QUESTION: What is the one situation where you find yourself the most challenged to maintain your cool?