Under pressure. Aren’t we all? Life is full of little annoyances, mild irritating situations, and BIG problems. Sometimes it feels like we are on the verge of blowing. How can we remain calm under pressure?
Calm is not showing (or the absence) of strong emotion or confrontation. It is, to me, the image of a rock in the midst of a storm that will never bow, bend, or move. No force could make it change its current state.
For me, hearing “Momma, momma, momma” like five times in under ten seconds when I’m really busy can cause me to loose my cool. Finding the toothpaste cap behind the toilet or peanut butter smeared on the counter also can set me off a bit.
Then there are slightly bigger things like the IRS not giving me my refund because they are “missing information” and then no one being able to tell me what said missing information is missing that really get me feeling like pressure is building.
And, finally, there are scary things beyond my control like the unknown state of the economy, a family member in the hospital, or dealing with a struggling teenager.
5 Ways to Remain Calm Under Pressure
Many remember King David as a mighty warrior and rightfully so. However, David was only a mere man and many of his battles would have broken him if not for his trust in the Lord. Before he became king, he was a wanted man by King Saul. He was also in conflict with Israel’s many enemies. He lived a life of exile, constantly on the run, and filled with turmoil.
In 1 Samuel 30, we have an account of David and his men returning from a journey to find the Amalekites had burned their city with fire and taken captive their women and children. The men were overcome with emotion. So much so that they decided to stone David.
Some one had to take the blame and brunt of their anger and grief. David could have equalled their emotion and tried to fight for himself. He could have left them and with God’s help got his own family back safe. But, David remained calm under pressure and teaches us 5 lessons.
1. Strengthen Yourself in God
But David found strength in the Lord his God. Then David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelek, “Bring me the ephod.” Abiathar brought it to him, and David inquired of the Lord, “Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?” “Pursue them,” he answered. “You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue.” 1 Samuel 30:6a-8 NIV
David found His strength in God. He practiced what he preached in Psalm 56:11: “in God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me?” He did not fear or seize up with anxiety and worry. He took it straight to God. We have God’s word that strengthens and reminds us that He is with us and how He would want us to handle any and every situation.
He calls the priests and inquires of God before making his next steps. We have access to God through our high priest Jesus, by prayer. We can call out to Him for help and know He is going to answer and work all things out.
2. Collect trustworthy information and make a solid plan.
David and the six hundred men with him came to the Besor Valley, where some stayed behind. Two hundred of them were too exhausted to cross the valley, but David and the other four hundred continued the pursuit. They found an Egyptian in a field and brought him to David. They gave him water to drink and food to eat—part of a cake of pressed figs and two cakes of raisins. He ate and was revived, for he had not eaten any food or drunk any water for three days and three nights. David asked him, “Who do you belong to? Where do you come from?” He said, “I am an Egyptian, the slave of an Amalekite. My master abandoned me when I became ill three days ago. We raided the Negev of the Kerethites, some territory belonging to Judah and the Negev of Caleb. And we burned Ziklag.” David asked him, “Can you lead me down to this raiding party?” He answered, “Swear to me before God that you will not kill me or hand me over to my master, and I will take you down to them.” 1 Samuel 30: 11-15 NIV
Once David knew that God was with him, he did not waste time wondering when the time was right or thinking up all possible hinderances, he acted. He took 600 men with him and when he found some were too tired to carry on, he decided to go forward with only 400. Don’t let set backs determine your outcome. Sure, it was probably a hard blow to lose that much force, but David had a plan and trusted God.
Next, he found an abandoned Egyptian slave in a field. He patiently feed and watered to revive the man. He then interrogated him to get the information he needed. Where did you come from? What happened? Where were they going?
Wait patiently for God to send the answers you need. In the meantime, ask good questions, collect useful and trustworthy information so that you can have all the facts to make a solid plan when God presents the opportunity.
3. Trust God for victory.
David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives. Nothing was missing: young or old, boy or girl, plunder or anything else they had taken. David brought everything back. He took all the flocks and herds, and his men drove them ahead of the other livestock, saying, “This is David’s plunder.” 1 Samuel 30:18-20 NIV
When we trust God for the victory, it is complete. EVERYTHING was recovered. Not only that, but they also took all of the livestock that the Amalekites had from their plunders. God gave them theirs and more. Romans 8:37 tells us that we are “more than conquerers through Him who loved us” and Ephesians 3:20 says we are “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” When we wait for His victory, nothing is lacking and it’s better than we ever imagined.
4. Have a forgiving and gracious heart.
Then David came to the two hundred men who had been too exhausted to follow him and who were left behind at the Besor Valley. They came out to meet David and the men with him. As David and his men approached, he asked them how they were. But all the evil men and troublemakers among David’s followers said, “Because they did not go out with us, we will not share with them the plunder we recovered. However, each man may take his wife and children and go.” David replied, “No, my brothers, you must not do that with what the Lord has given us. He has protected us and delivered into our hands the raiding party that came against us. Who will listen to what you say? The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle. All will share alike.” David made this a statute and ordinance for Israel from that day to this. When David reached Ziklag, he sent some of the plunder to the elders of Judah, who were his friends, saying, “Here is a gift for you from the plunder of the Lord’s enemies.” 1 Samuel 30:21-26 NIV
David had lived through a rough couple of days. He came home to find it burned, his wives and children held captive, was almost stoned by his own men, and then had to pursue and fight the enemy. Even through all of this, he did not lose his calm. When we stay focused on God and others, we have not time to get selfish and agitated. We can graciously give and serve others.
The men who were angry and wanted to keep the spoil for themselves instead of sharing did not deter David. He knew what was right. He forgave and gave generously. Not only to those who had their families taken but also to all of the elders of Judah. The Bible encourages us in Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
5. Surround Yourself with Godly Warriors.
When David went to Ziklag, these were the men of Manasseh who defected to him: Adnah, Jozabad, Jediael, Michael, Jozabad, Elihu and Zillethai, leaders of units of a thousand in Manasseh. They helped David against raiding bands, for all of them were brave warriors, and they were commanders in his army. Day after day men came to help David, until he had a great army, like the army of God. 1 Chronicles 12:20-22 NIV
Those “worthless men” are gone now. They didn’t like David’s leadership. God honors David’s calm and peaceful spirit. He surrounds him with new men, men that are brave, leaders, “like the army of God.”
Be sure you are surrounding yourself with “godly warriors.” People who will give you wise council and speak the truth in love. Women who pray for you and encourage you. These people add to our calm and take away some of the pressures we feel by sharing our burdens. (Galatians 6:2)
Don’t fail to see what has happened here. When we do things God’s way, strengthen ourselves in Him, remain calm while we see His plan fall into place, wait on His victory, and remain at peace with others, He blesses it.
Stay Calm Bible Verses
These scriptures are for your meditation and encouragement to remind you that God has called you to remain calm and trust Him and His promises.
Calmness of a Child-Like Faith
My heart is not proud, Lord,Psalm 131:1-2 NIV
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.Luke 18:17 NIV
Calmness because our God is in Control
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”Psalm 46:10 NIV
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.Mark 4:39 NIV
Calmness because Anger solves nothing
A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.Proverbs 15:18 NIV
Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.Proverbs 29:11 NIV
Calmness comes from Trust in God
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
Surely the righteous will never be shaken;Psalm 112:6-8 NIV
they will be remembered forever.
They will have no fear of bad news;
their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;
in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
Prayer to Remain Calm
Lord, I know that my life is in Your Sovereign hand. Forgive me when I act out in pride, anger, or doubt. Help me not to worry, take matters into my own hands, or blow up on others. I want to trust you in all things so that I might remain in your perfect peace and calm even in the midst of a storm. You are the solid Rock I can confide in and stand on. Lend me Your strength and help me walk in your ways. Amen.