There are many words that could be used to describe the year 2020. One of the first that comes to mind: chaos. Chaos in the grocery stores buying supplies. Chaos watching the news each night. But mostly chaos in the minds and spirits of the people of the world. The past eight months have brought uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and chaos to the masses. People have been turning to many places for solace: Netflix, baking, the news, time with family…on and on. I have not been immune to moments of worry. I have scrolled through news feeds, mindlessly binged shows, and made one too many loaves of chocolate chip banana bread.
But, one of the main sources of comfort came to me not through the kitchen or my phone, but rather through a book, more specifically a study book. Anxious for Nothing Study Guide, by New York Times best-selling author Max Lucado, has been a companion to me for the greater part of 2020. Part of my morning routine has been to work through this study guide, the tag-line of which is fittingly, “Finding Calm in a Chaotic World.” (Find the book here).
This book was published in 2017, but I think it was meant to find it’s way into my hands now, three years later. While I was not able to complete all parts of the study (some of it including group work), I found peace among the pages filled with Scripture, personal reflection prompts, and a call to stay CALM (Celebrate God’s Goodness, Ask God for Help, Leave Your Concerns with God, Meditate on Good Things).
After working through these exercises for months, I began to notice that worries I would typically feel throughout the day were dissipating. The most significant change I encountered was the “M” in CALM: “Meditate on Good Things.” This was a game-changer. It sounds so simple, but coming to the conclusion that I controlled what my mind dwelt on has impacted my outlook on life, and particularly my outlook on this year. With the constant barrage of negativity we face daily, the decision we have as individuals to meditate on either the uplifting or the bleak is a powerful mindset.
We should not, as informed citizens, turn a blind eye to the world around us. We should not hide in a hole until the storm of 2020 has passed. Be informed. Be up-to-date. Be an active member of society. Just don’t let the negative weigh too heavily on your spirit. Choose to focus your thoughts and energy on the positive.
Even if you are not a person of faith, I would recommend this Lucado study guide. This year is a fitting time to restock our tool boxes with ways to keep our hearts and minds uplifted in the storm of chaos, and this guide can be one of your tools. It was for me.