5 Keys to Finding Peace
For 2015 my “resolution” was to find inner peace. Since the birth of my second son, my lack of peace was magnified. Which really meant that I was overwhelmed and over-functioning. I can truthfully tell you that it took me all of 2015 to even scratch the surface of finding inner peace. I overturned many rocks, searched down many alley ways, and about lost my mind. I had to learn and unlearn many things and what I’ve come to realize is that like anything worthwhile in life it takes a constant pursuit. I couldn’t find inner peace without Jesus, it just wasn’t possible for me. Once I finally understood the magnitude of my heavenly father I started to piece together the puzzle of peace. I have compiled 5 things that I believe God has revealed to me on my journey of finding peace.
5 Keys to Finding Peace
Feel the feeling:
I used to believe that inner peace was a result of never feeling anger, frustration, or impatience. What I've come to find is that the opposite is true. Peace can only come when we FULLY feel the feelings. When I have enough maturity and self control to stop and say “I am feeling angry” and to dig deeper with “I am feeling angry because….” I start to uncover where that anger is rooted from. I gain wisdom and understanding into where the feeling originated from.
Anytime I feel that tinge (the rise of the beast I like to call it) and that yucky feeling in the pit of my stomach, I go through this process allowing myself to realize that it comes from a place much deeper then my present scenario and usually has nothing to do with my present circumstance. It has everything to do with some sort of lie I've been telling myself or was told sometime in my life. When we can stay the course of feeling our feelings and uncovering where they came from we can start to dissolve the power they have on us. Which brings me to my next point…
Watch your story:
I don’t know about you, but man, I can spiral out of control into negative thinking with what story I start to tell myself. This Christmas was supposed to be extra special for me; my dad, who hadn’t been to visit in almost three years, was finally coming to my house. I finally got to show my dad my life. My mom called me a week and half before he was scheduled to arrive to tell me something was terribly wrong with his back and he wasn’t even able to walk.
At that point in time we all felt hopeful that a week and a half was a long time and I was so sure that he would be coming. As the days unfolded, the reality was starting to become clear: my dad would not be coming for Christmas. The daddy’s girl in me was pretty heartbroken. I began to tell myself a story about how my dad didn’t try hard enough, he didn’t want to come bad enough, or he would have made it happen. I started to feel angry with him, and feel so angry that God couldn’t even do this one thing for me. Didn’t he know how bad I wanted my dad to come?
How quickly I can jump over the edge and swim in a sea of lies. I thankfully had a enough wisdom at this point to cast that dark and ugly story away and started painting a new story. One that breathes life, that holds on to God's promises, and one that trusts in the process. What story do you tell yourself when your spouse doesn’t meet your expectations? When your child is melting down? When a friend doesn’t respond to your text message? When that stranger gives you a dirty look? When you don’t get the job?
The stories we tell ourselves shapes how we see the world, shapes what our relationships look like, and shapes what our inner being feels. Are you telling yourself truth? Or are you feeding into lies and deception?
For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. - Romans 8:6
Gratitude is the game changer:
I always prided myself as being a “realist” and I believed that true authenticity could never come out of optimism. This was where I was completely wrong. Having a grateful heart doesn’t mean pretending things are better then they are. It means finding thankfulness for exactly what you have, exactly as it is, and exactly where you are.
It is not happy people who are grateful, but grateful people who are happy. There is always a bright side and a dark side--ultimately, we choose which side we see. Being grateful ignites hope, it places faith in a future, and gives peace in knowing that “this too shall pass.”
Life is a journey that is often hard. When I am grateful in even the hardest parts, I grow; I reach a new understanding, I am stretched, and I blossom. My greatest growth has come out of struggle. In the hottest fire the steel is molded and shaped to become what it is destined to become. Find the good, search for the light, and be grateful for this beautiful messy life we get to live.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:6-7
Boundaries are your friend:
This was my golden ticket, my missing puzzle piece. I lived my whole life having no idea that I was even allowed to have boundaries. I am a people-pleaser so I said yes when I really wanted to say no. I over-functioned in most of my relationships and I ignored my own integrity to please others. I felt I needed to live up to false expectations and illusions of what I thought it meant to be a “good” person.
When I finally realized that I have great value, that I'm worthy of living a life that I love, I finally understood the importance of boundaries. I had to quit looking to others for validation, I had to stop trying to live up to who others thought I “should” be, and I had to start honoring who God made me to be.
I started to live out my value, I started to pay attention to what I needed. I cannot give my husband, my children or my friends something that I do not have. When I respect my boundaries and live in my integrity it allows me to fully love people, with no resentment, and without taking anything from myself.
Geri Scazzero, author of The Emotionally Healthy Woman, says this: "The question is 'What is important to you?' If you do not take the time to answer this question, other people’s fears, expectations, and agendas (or even your own fears) will drive you. You will end up defining yourself by what you are against rather than what is most significant to you.”
Are you living out your values by placing the appropriate boundaries in your life?
Put the worry to rest:
Becoming a mother brought me into a whole new realm of worry. I worried that my kids would get cancer, get hit by a car, get kidnapped, choke on rice, grow up too fast, get deathly ill, get swallowed up by a sink hole... I mean, you name it, I worried about it. The list goes on and on and on.
The thing is, all of these fears happen every single day--they are someone else’s reality, they are valid, they are possible. The problem with worrying is that "it does not take away tomorrow's troubles, it takes away today's peace.”
We are all guaranteed to have tribulations, none of us will have an easy road to travel. One thing is for certain: God knows that road before we do and he will walk every step of the way with us. Cast your fears to God, gain faith in knowing that somehow, in some way, it will all be okay.
I love this quote: “What is coming will come and we’ll meet it when it does.”
Enjoy today, don’t let worry rob you of your peace. What is one thing you can give to God and free yourself of it?
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. - Matthew 11:28-30
Friends, I pray that you will feel your feelings, speak truth over your life, be grateful for the mess, set your God given boundaries, and live without worry.
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. - John 14:27