“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27
Years ago, our family was in the middle of church planting. Many things can go wrong and one day a big one did. The day started off rough when the trailer jack broke. With no way to lift the nine thousand pound trailer onto our truck things looked bleak. But God is good, all the time. (more…)
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” ~2 Thessalonians 3:16 NLT.
Peace is a gift from God.
We have the ability to use it whenever we need it because He never leaves us, which means His peace never leaves us. Why then, do we worry or fear things, if we believe in God? Our old self gets in the way. Christ sacrificed Himself to cleanse us of who we were and give us a way to be new. When we make the choice to accept His free gift, it can be difficult to give up our old ways. At times, even when we think we have fully committed to change, our new self can take a back seat of our bossy old self.
Put off the old and put on the new!
Everything we do becomes a habit.
As a therapist, I am constantly telling my patients that in order to break an old habit, they need to practice new ones, constantly. Our minds and bodies cannot make lasting changes if we are not consistently practicing the change we want to see. We need to identify the issues needing to be changed and practice healthier habits to take their place.
In the grand scheme of our physical health, our bodies need things put in it that helps it run and maneuver better. If I fill a jar with oil, it can appear that nothing else can fit in the jar. Oil is not refreshing: it’s messy, clogs arteries, and slows us down. However, if I begin to pour pure water into that same oil filled jar, what happens is astounding. The water is heavier than the oil so the oil floats to the top and the good (water) pushes the bad (oil) out of the jar.
The same will occur with our thoughts, feelings, words, and actions. If we choose to fill our selves with things that are refreshing, we will then be refreshed. Life giving water (God’s Word), refreshes the soul and pushes out the toxicity of evil thoughts and deeds.
Push out the old by pushing in the new!
The first line of defense for an attack of the enemy on your words, thoughts, and deeds is His Word. It is actually called a Spring of Living Water, water that quenches the thirst of our souls. Living water that never runs dry. We can never be afraid of going thirsty, feeling heat exhaustion from our anger, or reaching for a secondary drink that will only give temporary relief because the Bible completely refreshes those who are in it.
With most of my therapy sessions, I have patients I am not allowed to share this truth with. It is considered unethical to “push my religion” on someone. If they bring up the subject first, then permission is granted. More often than not, the patients who are willing to listen and utilize the Word of God become restored. They are successfully discharged from services because their minds have been renewed.
Those that do not bring up God, the Bible, or church, need to rely on man’s version of peace. Man’s suggestions of peace are like putting a Band-Aid on top of a gaping wound. It may slow the bleeding down but it will not prevent infection and something bigger will need to be done eventually.
Quick fixes are only good in the moment.
I teach them about mindfulness, breathing exercises, coping skills, distress tolerance skills, and how to identify triggers. In layman’s terms: how to identify the issue and put a Band-Aid on it so they can get through the moment. Unfortunately, Satan is really good at stealing our peace so those moments become more frequent and significantly stronger.
If you need a quick fix, here is a list of potential things that may help in the moment:
Journal your feelings
Write a letter to the person who harmed you (you can choose to send or not)
Use any art medium to express your feelings on canvas
Go for a walk or run
Workout at the gym
Do a puzzle or build a DIY project
Love on a pet
Volunteer at a pet shelter
Read a book or poem
Listen to music
Bake or cook something
Practice deep breathing exercises
Do some Yoga
Watch a comedy routine or movie
Get a massage
Take a drive to look at pretty scenery
Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a long time to catch up
Rhythmically tighten and relax each muscle in your body, from head to toe
Take a bubble bath
Take your shoes and socks off to allow you feet to be planted on the ground and feel the sensations affecting the soles of your feet
This is not an exhaustive list, I could come up with more, but these are only temporary. Peace is a state of being. Contentment. It is being okay even when things do not appear to be okay from the outside looking in.
God’s fixes are longer lasting and continue to grow.
When worry, doubt, fear, anxiety, or any other number of negative emotions start to creep in, look to the best practice possible. SCRIPTURE.
There is a concordance in the back of nearly every Bible. First, go to a thesaurus and identify the antonym of your feeling. Hate/Love. Anxiety/Peace. Whatever it may be, look in the concordance for verses that speak specifically about that antonym. Study each one to see which ones were just for you in your time of need. Write them on 3×5 notecards to tack all over your house, in your car, or on your spouse if you think it will help. Read them over and over until they are what is being pushed in…so the bad can be pushed out. Get the toxins out.
One of the greatest resources on how to live a contented lifestyle, according to God’s Word, is Holy Hygge by Jamie Erickson. You can also download her podcast Holy Hygge where she addresses the main points of Hygge from a Biblical perspective.
For this next week of learning about peace, February 26th – March 4th, any person who answers the peace question I have posted on my Instagram will be entered to win a signed copy of her book. I would love for my readers to hear from others about how they find peace, God-related or not, so consider giving your ideas on how to create peace in your life.
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. ~Romans 15:13
Look to Him to find peace.
This too shall pass.
Run to the Father, again and again.
Surrender anything to God and He will give you peace.
Get in the Word, daily, and it will have the answers that you need.
Just pray about it.
What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.
These were the common phrases I heard throughout my entire childhood. They were meant to answer my tough questions, maybe because the people I was directing the questions to did not know the answers. Or maybe because they knew the truth and understood that I had to discover it for myself.
We need Him, whether we know it or not.
I still have people who do not recognize me from the childhood version I once was. They stare in awe and wonder, attempting to try to figure out what happened to me. I was a tormented person, messed up by emotional, sexual, and mental abuse. I rebelled against the world because either people didn’t want to see what had happened to me or they were just in denial.
My family took my behaviors personally and at times treated me, from my viewpoint, ugly. I would often hear those above statements, in reference to hoping I would change when I discovered God for myself. They didn’t know what to do with me or how to respond.
When you don’t know what to do, move out of the way!
God has a plan. His plan is perfect for our lives, from start to finish. We get in our way. Others get in His way. If things do not seem as though they are going well, it is probably because you are in the way or allowing someone else to be in His way. More often then not, this was my problem.
For many years, I looked to other things to take away my hurt. When drinking wasn’t enough, I allowed things to happen to me because I felt I deserved it. When that didn’t work, I tried witchcraft and living the hippy-dippy-love-joy-peace-flower-power-child life. None of it worked. Peace did not come from any of those substitutes.
There is only ONE way to find peace.
I have chased and chased and chased after things that I thought would give me peace. I was running in the wrong direction. When I discovered that the peace began to grow in me.
Having lost hope on all of the other things I tried, I broke down asking for help. I knew who He was and believed that He did exist but did not have a relationship with Him. Much like Peter and Andrew, I experienced the call to follow after him and leave everything and everyone behind. Being a fisher of men (women) never felt like a big task to me. Simple, in fact. Compared to every other version of “peace” I had reached for, this just came naturally.
Like inhaling fresh mountain air after a morning rain shower, was His peace.
Choosing to do things His way, moving out of my own, peace came quickly. As peace became the compass, I began to recognize the difference between His way and the way of the world.
With each new day of morning devotionals, my prayers developed and knowledge of who He is to me and others, grew. The closer I got to God, the less negative my responses were and the more loving I became. Peace has been my compass, pointing me straight to Him.
Ironically, every life event that occurs has the possibility to cause anyone to break but they have caused me to grow stronger. Anytime I am walking through something now, I think about how great it will feel to look back on it and discover the characteristics that were created out of that, lessons learned, and how the experience will help me through the next thing.
We are constantly in process, progressing towards are finish line. People can see the obstacles as something that is tearing them down, run from it, or make unhealthy choices that lead to dangerous consequences. Those that have the hope in the Lord see the same obstacles as a way to refine the rough edges we still need to smooth out in ourselves.
Refining is a tough course, yes, and the most precious and beautiful things come from it.
I have peace.
It is used all day, everyday. When things feel overwhelming and I feel like I am struggling, I get my compass out and get back on track. Peace has been my guide, giving me direction back to the Father, again and again. Stuff will continue to come up and I just pray about it, surrendering my way to His.
Yesterday, I had the privilege of conducting two great things: giving the benediction for my sister’s funeral so that those attending will hear about Jesus and then marrying my niece to her long time boyfriend. Beautiful events that just needed peace from the circumstance that brought us together.
They got to see Jesus through my example, my other sister’s example, and the words we shared. We prayed for peace ahead of time and God got the glory. He was able to be seen through our eyes, during a moment that could have been filled with misery, there was joy and peace. Those that were closest to us, prayed for and over us, throughout the entire service. And when I felt as though the attendee’s grief was creeping in, I prayed in tongues and pulled out my compass of peace.
This did not kill me, making me stronger for the next attack of the enemy. This too shall pass because His mercies are new every morning and there is joy every morning. I will run to the Father, again and again.
Thank you, Father, for the peace that passes all understanding. You bring peace in the darkest of situations. Your Son, the Prince of Peace, made a way for us to receive His peace and I will share that message anywhere you call me. Like Peter and Andrew, I leave everything else behind to follow after You, to share Your news even to the grieving.