“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” ~Isaiah 26:3~
After traveling on a Boeing 737, for over three hours, I arrived safely and soundly to Phoenix, Arizona. Flying on an airplane is a lot like life. Sometimes it’s ‘smooth sailing’ and then we randomly encounter the inevitable turbulence that causes the aircraft to feel a little unstable. The pilot gets on the intercom to tell us he’s got it under control. After hearing his voice we then sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. We experience a certain level of peace, trusting that he’ll get us to our destination safely.
Yesterday, my husband and I hiked the Grand Canyon for the first time. When we arrived at the trailhead, we immediately paused to just gaze at the master piece, in awe of its beauty. I pondered, if God can do something this amazing, then we can most certainly trust him to bring us peace. Just as we experience a sense of tranquility when the pilot navigates us through the turbulence, we can allow God to give us His peace as we go through the unpredictable rocky circumstances of life.
When I used to think about peace, I would often envision myself lying on the beach alone, watching the waves and allowing the sand to flow through my toes. I’ve realized that was not the full version of peace at all. Jesus explains to us that he gives us His peace that is different from what the world offers (John 14:27) and revealed to me that there’s so much more to peace than a relaxing vacation. Peace is when you can experience tranquility in any given situation because you have faith that God is in control. Even when we face situations that we don’t understand, God is still in control and we have the ability to live without stressing and worrying.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the ‘now’ that’s comprised of the busyness that we created on our own. The abundance of tasks get us stressed out and we begin to fail at some of our most important commitments like spending quality time with our families, helping people God has called us to help, completing work tasks assigned to us, or getting adequate rest.
Let’s begin the journey of seeking peace, and we can start by focusing on these key things.
One, Pray and Wait to hear from God about everything. The bible tells us not to be anxious for anything but to pray and present our requests or concerns to God (Philippians 4:6). Sometimes our will to help, work, and give is actually bigger than the capacity that we are able to. We find ourselves making unnecessary quick decisions with big commitments that eventually come back to steal our peace. When we seek God first, by reading His Word and praying, we prevent ourselves from neglecting the very things that He wants us to focus on. Ask God to help you discern what commitment is a higher priority and what needs to be adjusted.
Two, Intentionally Find Positive Perspectives in the midst of adversity. For example, if I have a disagreement with a family member or organizational team members, instead of getting offended, I’ve learned to compliment their input. You can say things such as, “You have great attention to detail, thank you for pointing out that issue” or “I like that you are very passionate about this topic.” Then strive to come to an understanding by speaking kindly. Doing this will help us resolve issues, together, peacefully rather than stressing out or creating a hostile environment.
In the unfortunate event of losing a loved one, we can also apply this principle. Death puts us in an uncomfortable place when we question why it happened and look for someone or something to blame. It helps us heal from the loss when focus on fun memories, the good things about the deceased, and the ‘faith fact’ that we will see them again someday.
Three, Modify Unnecessary Distractions in our lives. We all have distractions whether it’s watching TV, video gaming, shopping, surfing the internet/scrolling social media sites, hanging out with friends for too long or too often. None of these actions are wrong, however, if you feel that you cannot complete the most important tasks on your priority list when doing these things then you must modify. Give yourself a time-limit using devices for leisure. Some people choose a day of the week to go without using devices and feel like it improves the quality of their family time and work assignments. Schedule appropriate time to visit friends that won’t interrupt your time sensitive tasks.
Four, Set and Enforce Boundaries to protect our peace. When I experience the overwhelming stress of being stretched, I realize it’s because I haven’t set boundaries or enforced the ones I already had in place. For example, on Sundays we know that it’s a day that our family rests and devote our work to God more than any other day if the week. If someone wants us to commit to something that involves us working or doing anything outside of the category of rest, we have to kindly say no. Be prepared to have pushback at times but stick to your word.
What is robbing you of your peace? What changes do you need to make to your lifestyle in order to live peacefully? As we are all pursuing a peaceful life, continue to be encouraged by God’s Word. There will be times when peace seems far away but I promise you that it is indeed attainable. As you begin to make the necessary changes to your behaviors, remember to always put your faith, trust, and hope in God. Allow Him to lead your life by obeying Him. He’s faithful and will continue to give us all perfect peace.