my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. John 14:27
Ahh, that elusive peace we seek. If it were only so easy as these words Jesus shared at the Last Supper. He claims to have already given us the gift of peace and implores us not to worry or be afraid. Then why do we feel so “unpeaceful”?
Our world is so filled with stress, worry, and frustration that it is hard to not take it on. It often feels like a battle to stay peaceful as all of the cares of this world seek to overtake me. And then of course there is that mountain of tasks that seem to need to be accomplished every day that keeps me running. Finding peace amongst all that? Not hardly.
Yes, living in peace is definitely a battle. But a fight worth having. I have found a few practices help to start my day off in peace and return me to peace when I get pulled into the fray around me.
1. I start my day with prayer. Every day. No matter what time I have to get up. I might vary the amount of time I pray if I have an early appointment, but I always pray. And I mean FIRST thing – BEFORE I check my phone for texts or emails. Otherwise, my mind goes in the direction of planning and worry instead and it is hard to get it back.
2. I stop at some point during the day to pray again. I try for some time in the afternoon but that depends on my schedule. Again, the timeframe may vary, but the important thing for me is to stop and return to that place of peace, even if just for a few minutes.
3. I take a Sabbath each week. I am blessed to be able to take it on Sunday most weeks but that is not always possible if I have a retreat to give. Those times I choose a different day. God gave us the Sabbath as a day to recharge, refocus and return to peace. On my Sabbath I try to leave my long list of things to do behind and instead spend as much of the day as I can pursuing peace and focusing on love and joy.
4. I see a spiritual director monthly. It’s a great way for me to stop and review my past month and see where I have been following God’s way of peace and where I may have gotten off track. If you’re interested in finding out more about what spiritual direction is and if it might be something God is calling you to, click here.
5. I take an annual retreat – a time away in silence to more deeply hear God’s voice and direction in my life. People ask me why I need a time away when I live alone. Indeed, I am not getting away from any person in my home, but rather all of the demands of daily life and work. As anyone knows, there is always something more to be done around the house, from dishes and laundry to yardwork and house maintenance. The list is never-ending, so I need to get away from it for a while to find peace.
How are you finding peace in your day? Perhaps you will feel moved to comment below and share your ideas or even your struggles. We have all been given this gift of peace by our Lord Jesus. The question we must answer every day, and many times throughout the day, is whether or not we will embrace this gift.