5 Ways to Calm the Chaos

One thing is certain, when you are a military wife, you better learn to roll with the punches. Life is crazy, unstable, unpredictable, amazing, exciting, terrifying, and exhausting. I’m sure I left out a few pertinent adjectives there, but you get the idea. If you live this life, I don’t have to explain it to you. If you don’t, I can’t begin to explain it to you.

You don’t have to be a military wife to deal with constant turmoil in life, though. It just seems that our life is more openly chaotic. Loads of people struggle with having stability in life, however. Whether it’s moving, job changes, the birth of children, marriages, divorces, adoption, deaths, etc….life is simply full of twists and turns.

In fact, why do we even give ourselves the illusion that things should be calm and stable? We would probably all be better off if we expected chaos and were pleasantly surprised when we experienced calm. I guess it’s human nature to always be looking at the next best thing, though. The grass is always greener and all that, right?

After just shy of 25 years of marriage, I’ve learned a thing or two about navigating the chaos. During our marriage we’ve had 22 different addresses. Those addresses cover eight states and one foreign country. We have five kids, two of which we fetched from China. For eleven years, I homeschooled some or all of those babies. We’ve had three dogs and five cats. We’ve purchased three houses and are currently four months into living out of suitcases in air bnbs while our new house is being built. In short, I know upheaval.

There are five things I’ve learned that help me hit those curve balls out of the park. Do I get them all right all the time? Not even close. But if you can master even one of them, you’ll be a long way down the road to happiness in the mess.

  1. Find joy in the journey. It really is possible. Get yourself a gratitude journal and fill it out every day. No cop outs, either. Three brand new things every day. Do it first thing in the morning to set the tone of your day to one of thankfulness. The best part is, you’ll start looking for reasons to be grateful during your day so you have something to write in tomorrow’s journal. Sharing things as you find them will help your family see them, too. And when things are really hard, you can look back at the journal and remind yourself of all the good in your life!
  1. If you have children, help them find stability. Make time for them to see friends, especially when things are rough. Did you move far away? Help them set up regular times to FaceTime and catch up. Kids feel stress just like adults but have far less coping mechanisms. One of my kids doesn’t deal with unknowns. Oh, I know many of us do not, but for her, moving was especially stressful. I found that printing out a calendar for her with all the big dates helped her know what to expect and not be constantly in a state of stress.
  1. Take your eyes off yourself. When things seem irrationally hard and you simply don’t know what to do next, look up and around. You can step out of your situation to help someone else. It forces you to think about something else for awhile and gives you a much needed break. The bonus part is that someone will be blessed by you and that blessing will come back to you tenfold.
  1. Create stability through rituals in your marriage. For years we had lots of little kids and no family nearby. Those years are hard. I’m determined to be mindful of helping my own children when they get to that stage in their marriage. Find things to do without fail. Maybe it’s getting up at 4am on Saturday morning so you can simply sit at the table and have coffee and cinnamon rolls together without interruption when you feel more like sleeping. You need those things that you can count on. That are nonnegotiable when everything else is crazy.
  1. Lastly, but definitely most importantly, find your faith. I’m an Orthodox Christian convert and if you have questions, I’d be thrilled to discuss them with you. However, I’m not telling you what faith you need to have. I just know this: if the biggest thing you believe in is you, your world will unravel. Faith is something that will ground you to something bigger than you. You will need that when the ground shakes and the sky falls.

There you have it. My no-fail way to navigate the craziness of life. It’s really not rocket science and you’ve likely heard most, if not all of them before. Maybe I spoke it in a way that resonated with you. I certainly hope so. And if you have a situation you need to talk about, reach out! I’d love to help!

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