3 Steps to Deeper Peace of Soul
I am a worrier. I worry about everything. I worry about every single decision I make, from what to make for dinner to whether or not I should spend those $20 extra at the grocery store. I worry about my abilities as a wife and a mother. I worry about my eating habits, my weight, my beauty and my ability to be loved. I worry about my children and their futures. I worry about my husband and his health. I worry about the health of my relationships with friends and family members. I worry about my problems and other people’s problems ’til I can’t sleep at night. But there is one thing I no longer worry aboutand that is, if I am who I am meant to be and where I am meant to be. The key is, however, that this very fact is what underlies and supersedes all the superficial worries that can possibly beset me. Beneath the outward turmoil of daily life, I am deeply at peace.
Let it sink into your soul for a moment. Let it wash over you like a warm summer evening rain, a rain that washes away all the heat, sweat and dust of the day and makes everything smell like spring again.
We are all seeking peace but many of us seek it in all the wrong places. We seek it in yoga [the spirituality aspect] and the relatively new fad of secular “meditation”. Some seek it in “me time” or the forgetfulness brought on alcohol or drugs. Some seek it in comfort food or in the arms of another person…. But they all inevitably fail, at least eventually.
Why? Because we don’t know what peace looks like!
What does peace look like?
Peace I give to you, my peace I leave you – John 14:27
Peace is a particular gift from a God who simply loves you because He wants to (not because of any merit on your part). It comes from knowing that God is in control and we will be ok. And it only comes to those who desire it and open their hearts to his presence.
It is often a case of, you don’t know what you are missing until you have it…
- If you ever feel like you have to put one face on for certain people in your life and a different face for others,
- If you ever feel unsatisfied with how little you feel your life means,
- If you ever find yourself angry or complaining at God over His plan for your life,
- If you ever struggle with anger or unforgiveness,
Then you don’t know true peace.
True peace inspires courage and constancy in the face of difficulty. It makes us confident and unshakable.
Learn more about true peace in the E-course!
Peace comes after a process
The experience of peace may not come overnight, rather it needs to be something you ACT ON, meaning peace comes after a process, one that may need to be repeated a few times before it really takes root in our souls…
Step 1 – Give Up
First things first, always remember: More often than not, our good intentions get in the way of God’s great plans.
[tweetshare tweet=”Our good intentions often get in the way of God’s great plans.” username=”CarolynMPereira”]
Giving up is primarily a choice, but it can feel like the only option or a last resort if you are a control freak and have already exhausted all your other options. The idea is to admit that we can’t do this. If you are staring at a stack of bills and literally have no way to pay them, just admit it, to God and to yourself. If you think you should do something and have absolutely NO IDEA how to go about it even though you have “tried everything”, just admit it. If you are faced with an impossible situation in your marriage or with your parenting, ADMIT IT! If no amount of trying is getting you anywhere, STOP TRYING SO HARD!!!! (Read also, Called to Let Go)
Step 2: Offering the Situation to God
This step is pretty much the second half of the “ADMIT IT” part introduced in step one. Sometimes we need to simply let out a cry of desperation TO SOMEONE…. and I don’t mean an equally helpless person who will simply be overburdened with your problems. I mean to someone who CAN actually DO SOMETHING about it. Sometimes, we need to listen to the Third Day song I need a Miracle. Sometimes we need to have a good cry accompanied with a definitive action that shows we have truly stepped back, such as going to sleep or start doing something else entirely and, only then, once we have actually stepped out of the way can God tell us what we really needed to do in the first place. His solution will come out of the blue in the strangest places, for me it is often when I’m in the shower, brushing my teeth or sound asleep at 3 am. Pretty much without fail His solution is both 10 times simpler than my original plan and 100 times better. The sooner we can let Him show us, the better.
Step 3: Solving the Problem
Once God has given us the solution to our dilemma we actually have to believe that He has only our best in mind even if we can’t fully see it and act on His inspiration. We have to put His plan in motion and see if it works. Each and every time we complete this cycle we can do it with more confidence and begin to feel relief, instead of panic, when we complete step one, giving up on our own abilities. [tweetshare tweet=”Peace is when you feel relief instead of panic when you finally let go of your need to control” username=”CarolynMPereira”]
Common Obstacles to Peace
- EGO. Often when the solution comes after we “give up” we still take credit for coming up with the solution instead of thanking the Holy Spirit who is the true source of the answer. This builds up our own ego way more than is healthy consequentially making it harder to “give up”in the future to repeat the cycle and takes the credit away from God and prevents us from gratefully resting in His arms in the future.
- DISTRACTION. The enemy often uses worry as a tool to drive our focus away from what is really important, under the guise of “caring” (most people think worrying is caring about what they are worried about). Offering the situation to God enables you to keep from rendering yourself incapable of fulfilling the other necessary aspects of your life that are NOT in crisis. Giving the stress over to the One who cares most about what is most important, helps me to focus my energies on things that I can take care of and should be taking care of instead of wasting my time in worry.
Practical Steps: How to live it
When we begin to feel the familiar panic the first few times we try to offer up our worries to God, it might be helpful to:
- Remind yourself of certain bible verses, quotes or sayings that are meaningful to you in particular. You can do a Google search for “Peace in the Bible” or, for visual people, Pinterest has great ones as well. You can follow my board “Finding Peace” too! You can write helpful verses down and post them on sticky notes around your house or simply revisit them on a regular basis in a more private place, like a journal or somewhere in your phone. You could make a bookmark of quotes that remind you to be peaceful so that you see it all the time.
- Make it a habit to stop yourself every time you start to “freak out” to re-offer the situation to God, explicitly, even out-loud or written down. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that your situation is more important than the birds or the wildflowers and yet they are taken care of, so you will be also.
- Be patient with yourself. No one can change overnight. If you have a habit of worrying about things, it is unlikely that this tendency will go away very quickly.
- Pray always the famous “Serenity Prayer” –“God, grant me the grace to accept [and offer up] the things I cannot change,the courage to change the things I can,and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Gerard Magella is famous for asking,
“Who except God can give you peace? Has the world ever been able to satisfy the heart?”
Really contemplate this line, renew your belief in the power of God to deal with your worries and then offer to God your worries, even your worries about not feeling His peace fast enough. Ask Him to increase your belief and soon you will be able to find yourself saying with the psalmist,
“In you, Oh Lord, I have found my peace” (Psalm 131:1)