Step Out of Traffic {Finding Calm in the Chaos}


Be still.
Stop fighting.
Surrender your anxiety.
Step out of traffic.

These are all translations of a well-known Bible verse, Psalm 46:10. You’ll find the most common translation “Be still” printed on pillows, mugs and farmhouse chic signs at your local home store. The message translation,“Step out of traffic,” doesn’t have the same décor-worthy air to it.

But it resonated with me.

Demanding schedules, “spirited” kids, the traps of social media, and 24-hour news can often feel like being caught in traffic. The noise is constant, our anxiety is heightened, and we’re craning our necks beyond our lane in search of the “best” or fastest path. We’re wondering how we got into this mess after we mapped our route ahead of time.

So, what if we stepped out of traffic?

Isn’t that freeing? Ok, so maybe it’s a little unnerving. We’re more accustomed to leaning in and powering through, which are sometimes appropriate for the task at-hand.

But before we hit the point when we’re laying on the horn and screaming at other drivers (ahem: our children), it’s ok to stop. Just stop. Step aside. Watch the world continue to spin.

I try to incorporate this “stepping out” in overwhelming moments at home.

When the noise in my house is near deafening, I need to step outside… or even into a closet.

When the news headlines feel like rockets whizzing by, I need to put down my phone.

When Instagram tells me how to do life “better,” I need to disengage from social media.

When worries cloud my logic, I need to ground myself in gratitude.

When the kids are off the rails, I need to sit and read with them.

When the calendar fills up, I need to protect a plan-free day.

I don’t know your situation, the demands placed on your time or the heaping pile on your plate. It’s real, it’s hard, and it can be overwhelming. And taking a break doesn’t make that all go away.

All I know is that I’ve found healing in moments of quiet a lot more often than in moments of noise. In the absence of distraction, creative and complete(!) thoughts that lay dormant emerge to my consciousness. I make space for prayer and look to God for my peace, as the verse teaches.

It doesn’t always start peacefully. Just because the noise is gone doesn’t mean my thoughts and heart aren’t still racing.

And so, I have to sit with the discomfort. Our culture gives us a million ways to escape our hardships. But sometimes letting it in and breathing through it to the other side, that’s where we grow and center ourselves once again.

Sitting on the side of the road, watching cars speed by on their way to destinations, can make us feel like we’re not moving forward. The phrase “be still” is prolific not because we’ve all mastered it, but because of how aspirational and yet out of reach it can seem.

But that spot – out of traffic, above the fray – could be the exact refueling, refreshing layover we need to successfully reach our destination.

What are your favorite ways to pause and “step out of traffic?”


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