Last week, I wrote about five ways to avoid or deal with burnout. You can read that here. However, some might say that while they are not experiencing burnout, they are being swept away by the frenzy of life. The good news is that we can have peace even in a frenzy.
Several years ago, I watched the second Avengers movie, The Age of Ultron. It was striking to me how obsessed Tony Stark was with implementing a system, a way to protect the world from evil so that he could retire Iron Man and the world would have peace.
So many of us crave peace like this. We want all our problems to be solved and life to be easy. We remember that Jesus wants to help us solve our problems, some of which will be taken away or resolved, but He also wants us to see our problems correctly. As long as God is present, our problems are not obstacles to our peace and happiness.
It is impossible to be without problems. Jesus, Himself tells us in Scripture, “In the world, you will have trouble.” Furthermore, seeking to live a problem-free life misunderstands the peace humans crave that we are made for.
What if I told you that you could have peace even though there are bad guys in the world still causing trouble, or while being mauled by a lion, or during the sinking of the Titanic while you are going down with the ship, or while you are put inside a starvation chamber for days and instead of panicking you sing songs and thank God.
These are all possible and have already been circumstances that holy Christian men and women have gone through while maintaining tremendous peace. It would help if you looked up the stories of Saints Felicity and Perpetua, Maximilian Kolbe, and Fr. Thomas Byles. They were incredible humans.
This peace is possible, though not through the absence of struggle. And we don’t need a sick defense system to achieve it like Tony Stark mistakenly thought.
From the examples of these holy people, we know this peace is possible. We can have tremendous peace in our lives even in the midst of difficulties. What else do we know about this peace? It is a profound gift from God. He gives it, and we accept it. However, the path to accepting this gift includes a few choices we must make.
I have come up with a list of five things we need to receive the gift of peace that calms our hearts even during the frenzy of life.
This is so easy to say but can be hard to live out. I have written a few blogs about this, here and here and here, but there is still so much more to say. Every day you can practice giving your life over to God by simply telling Him that you do. Then take a moment to detach from your problems and desires. You can return to them if you want but give some time to God where you let them go. See what it is like to not worry about them. You can increase this time as much as you like. Ask God to help you solve them, but the key here is to practice not worrying about how they will be solved.
Unforgiveness will weigh you down tremendously. It is an anchor that holds you to the earth when you are meant to fly free in the spirit with joy and peace. It is okay to avoid people who hurt you so you will not get hurt again, but you should still let go of the bitterness you may hold over that person or people. How to do this? Pray for them and then ask Jesus to help you to not take revenge on them.
- Putting up with others
This can go hand in hand with forgiveness. You may need to forgive someone who annoys you endlessly. Once again, you do not need to allow anyone to hurt you, but you can still love people even if they bother you. You can do this by letting go of the things that simply rub you the wrong way or that you disagree with. This of course is referring to minor disputes. There might be some things that are inherently wrong that should not simply let go of, yet you can still love the person who holds that viewpoint.
Try to look for the good in people to see the beauty God brings to the world through them. Even bumblebees that buzz and sting also pollinate flowers, produce honey, and make coffee possible. If you learn to put up with others and see the good in them, you will be amazed at how much more joy and peace you will have in your life.
- True Hope
True hope is not simply thinking everything is going to work out. The hope I am talking about is essentially that God will bring good from everything, even those things that do not work out. Have this true hope, especially in midst of suffering and difficulty. This is the hope that the saints have.
I recently heard a beautiful quote about hope at an event we recently had. Our speaker, Leigh Anne Butrum, pointed out that “hope allows us to know that the Lord is doing something beautiful here.” Meaning, regardless of what is happening, what kind of frenzy you are in, God is here now, doing something beautiful. Hope allows us to know this even though we might not see it right away. Having this hope will allow us to receive God’s peace.
- Deep prayer
I say "deep prayer” because this is more than saying a few things to God and then moving on. While that is fine and good, we also need to spend some serious time simply sitting with God, recognizing He is present to us. This can be done in the church before the tabernacle or in your kitchen. Just calm your thoughts, maybe remember a few of these other steps, but then think about the Lord who is with you. After a while, if He leads you to think about Him in a different way, let Him lead you, but truly rest in His presence. Don’t sit there and think about just anything. Sit there and be in awe of the Lord who is with you.
These steps are true and good, but I absolutely believe that there are more ways one can soften one’s heart to receive the Lord’s peace. Do you have any thoughts on this? Please share them in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are seeking this peace and would like some help, consider signing up for our one-on-one mentorship. We would love to assist you! You can find out more at www.zenithministries.com/mentorship or contact email@example.com or 404-333-8978.