Jewish Rabbi and family therapist Edwin Friedman coined the term “non-anxious presence” to describe a person who carries and imparts a calm, peaceful, and empowering presence to others. These “non-anxious” people are able to bring a sense of peace and security amid moments of fear, panic, or controversy, and our world today, with its ever-increasing levels of stress and anxiety, desperately needs them.
Jesus modeled what it meant to be a non-anxious presence. Mr. Friedman may have coined the term, but Jesus lived it first.
- At the moment of Jesus’ birth, angelic heralds shouted to humanity, “Peace, good will toward men.”
- During HIs ministry, when a furious squall threatened to sink His disciples’ boat, He sat up from a nap and ordered the storm to desist and “be still.”
- Amid a crowd of wailing mourners, bemoaning the death of Jairus’ little girl, Jesus turned and spoke to Jairus, “Fear not, only believe.” And then He raised the girl back to life.
- After His death and resurrection, His first words to His followers were, “Fear not” and “Peace be still.”
That’s the power of a non-anxious presence. They have a centered soul that carries enough personal strength and power to displace the chaos and anxiety in the people around them. Anxious, embattled people are able to relax and feel safe when this non-anxious presence gets close to them.
Let’s be that presence! Let’s be mindful of our own anxieties and continually bring them to the One who quiets storms and cares for our souls. Let’s live so closely to Him that His non-anxious presence begins to spill out of us, bringing peace and grace to the world around us.