Isaiah 48:18 - If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea.
It’s just over there.
You reach out your hand, and you can almost reach it. You stretch your arm as far as it will let you, but fall short. You sit there waiting, hoping, and thinking that maybe it will move closer to you, so you can finally hold it in your hands.
But it just sits there staring you down. It knows you can’t have it. And it also knows that finally catching it will make all the difference in your life. Yes, your life would be different if only you could be at peace.
So what’s stopping you from finally reaching this goal, this peace? You believe that peace exists or you wouldn’t be always trying to hold it in your hands. Yet, you don’t believe that peace will ever wash over your life.
It’s worry. That’s what’s standing in your way, but try as you might you can’t seem to break free from the curse of always thinking that somehow you’ll blow things out of proportion again and worry will hold its cold grasp on your throat.
Sometimes, though, the riverbank is only a few steps away. You can almost most feel the cool water as you wiggle your toes sitting at the edge of the water. You’ve dreamed of that moment pretty much your whole life.
But things have to change. Your worry is affecting your health. You already have a chronic illness to fight, and being anxious is not helping.
Then, armed with a determination to push worry out of your life, you take a step in the right direction. What does it take to get rid of worry and welcome peace into your life? Daringtolivefully.com posts the article, “25 Ways to Bring More Peace Into Your Life.” The article suggests ways to bring more peace into your life such as replace the belief, “more is better”, with the belief, “I have everything that I need.” They also do an interesting switch by listing the symptoms of inner peace like a tendency to think and act deliberately, rather than from fears based on past experiences.
My way to finding peace when I’m filled with worry is to turn to God. By talking to God about my problems and worries, he helps me see that worrying isn’t going to change anything for the good. Oh, it will change things, but peace won’t be able to show up. So I choose Bible verses, like the one above, and read it several times during the day to keep my focus on trusting God who alone can truly bring me peace.
1 Corinthians 14:33 KJV - For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
You feel it rising up inside you.
Why would someone do this to me? Why would they enter my home and cause such disharmony? Why would they treat me like some stray cat that’s just skin and bones? Not belonging to anyone. Not being wanted by anyone. And certainly not respected by the one who walked in my door.
But it happens.
So our emotional wellbeing takes a hit, and it throws our life into confusion.
Some call it anxiety.
Some call it depression.
Some call it PTSD.
Others just say we’re weak.
And we have to make a decision: What are we going to do about the pain that was left at our doorstep? Will we do the usual and pretend it didn’t hurt us? Will we smile and walk through our day not letting anyone know the hurt that’s building up inside?
Oh, I’ve done it that way before. And it made my heart bleed and my head pound anyway. I could hide it for a while, but then it breaks free and I’ve got to deal with it. But even as I’m trying to figure out my next step, confusion enters and decides it wants to be center stage.
Yes, emotional pain can cause confusion. Huffpost.com in their article, “4 Ways to Find Direction When You Are Feeling Confused,” discusses what to do to overcome your confusion and find the joy such as accept where you are in the middle of the fog, confusion, and feelings of “stuckness;” and, focus on what you know and what you feel sure about.
Confusion does accompany emotional pain, but as the article above talks about, we can get through it and sometimes even use it for good in our lives. Take a look at the Bible verse above. You may feel like God is manufacturing circumstances that cause you to be confused, but in fact God is not the author of confusion, but of peace. Lean into God, and he will give you the wisdom you need to sort out the confusion and find that peace again.
Proverbs 14:30 - A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.
When you battle a chronic health or mental health issue you may find yourself home most of the time. How that home looks can influence where your emotional health falls.
It’s important to create a peaceful, beautiful atmosphere around you.
Here are some other ideas on how to create a peaceful atmosphere in your home on goodhousekeeping.com in their article, “10 Real-Life Tricks for Creating a Calm, Peaceful Home,” such as giving everything in your entryway a home by installing hooks to hang coats on and making room in the entry closet for shoes and boots. Another of their ideas is to ensure that your day ends on a soothing, luxurious note by using fresh and soft sheets and blankets on your bed so you can relax into them at night.
The important thing to remember is to create an atmosphere in your home which allows you to look about and see beauty and organization. This change can be effective in lessoning the stress you have in your life. Also, as you work on your home you may find yourself excited once more to complete unfinished projects or read an article in one of your magazines you’d forgotten about.
But also give yourself a break. Things don’t have to be done perfectly in your home. A few areas of disorganization is okay. Just so long as it isn’t a theme in every room of your home. And don’t think that you have to finish everything overnight. Choose one room and then move on from there. Pretty soon you’ll begin to feel a sense of comfort and joy even inside your own home.
Having a peaceful heart, as the Bible verse above says, can give life to your body. Less stress equals a healthier heart and it may even add years to your life. Peace is a gift that God freely gives. It’s not something you can muster up in your own strength. God will give you the wisdom you need because your home’s atmosphere really does matter especially to God.
Psalm 107:28-29 - Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.
There are days when life just seems to be fighting against us.
Every little thing upsets us.
Every phone call ends with both parties upset.
Every move our body makes causes pain and upsets us.
Every thought we think pushes depression’s rain to fall on us and upsets us.
Every moment in our day that upsets us can be a waste of time and energy.
Yes, every day life just seems to be fighting against us. But some of the things that fight against us are not as bad as we think they are and it causes us to waste emotional energy on them. We can stop that train of thought and realize it’s not helping anyone.
However, there can be days when big decisions are sprung on us.
When a phone call brings serious news about a loved one.
When our temporary health challenge turns into a chronic condition.
When we are left behind by your friends and families.
These types of circumstances are real reasons for our emotional energy to be drained. It’s not because you’ve wasted that energy by worrying. It’s because a hurricane of out of control events has blasted their way on the shorelines of our minds.
This calls for us to become students of our emotional makeup. Some things will bring us down while the same things have no effect on another person. This doesn’t mean that it’s our fault if we feel like this. Each person when faced with the small and large drains on our emotional energy react in different ways.
If we can learn how to stop the emotional drain when it first begins, we may be able to prevent that hurricane from washing up on shore. Take a look at the article, “8 Ways You’re Wasting Your Emotional Energy,” on mindbodygreen.com. In the article, it gives examples of ways that we allow ourselves to be revved up and drain our emotional energy. One way is ruminating instead of taking action by thinking over and over about a conversation that hurt us. Also, we can stay in relationships out of fear of being alone instead of seeking healthy relationships, which can cause stressful and exhausting drains on our bodies and minds.
Learning to react differently by choosing suggestions from the article above can help us not only save our emotional energy, but help us think more clearly about situations that are causing that hurricane to flood the storehouses of your mind.
One sure way is to cry out to God. He can bring us out of our distress, calm our emotional storm and help us reserve our emotional energy instead of losing it.
1 Samuel 16:23 - Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.
Music has the ability of releasing emotions that are locked up in the hidden places of the heart.
If you’ve had a great day and are heading home from work a song can come on the radio and all of a sudden you’re belting out your lungs singing along with the song.
If you’ve had a day that everything went wrong, a song can come on the radio that helps you remember other days when things went well. It helps to put your bad day in perspective.
If you’ve had a day when your heart is breaking over a relationship that’s gone wrong whether it is a close friend or a family member when a certain song comes on the radio you can find yourself brought to tears.
If you’ve had a day when someone you know got away with something and you were accused of being the one who messed up instead of your co-worker, a song can come over the radio that is loud, pounding music which can cause you to feel the intensity of your anger as you scream at the radio and kick the garbage can over.
If you’ve had day when everything reminded you of the resent loss of a parent, a song can come on the radio that reminds you of them and your heart grieves all over again.
Songs can indeed bring up hidden emotions and those waiting to burst out on the surface. But it’s not always bad to scream your lungs out during a song or burst out into tears.
Music has the ability of bringing healing to your heart that few other ways will do. This healing isn’t the kind that just brushes past you, but the kind that brings your bucket of emotions to be lowered into a well of never ending music to calm the soul.
There are ways that you can expedite bringing music into your day other than waiting for a certain song to come on the radio. You can purchase CDs that you know can help heal your wounds. You can also download songs from your favorite artists whose songs have lent that healing balm to the wounds that lay within your heart.
Mindbodygreen.com has an article titled, “6 Ways Music Can Heal You,” that discusses the power of music and how it can affect your body and mind, such as music releases the feel good chemical called dopamine into the brain, and how it affects heart rate and breathing.
Even in Biblical times music had an effect on the one listening. An example is when King Saul had a spirit come upon him he had no rest. So he would send for David to come and play the lyre for him. When David did, the spirit would leave King Saul and he would feel better.
So whether it’s listening to music on the radio, CDs or downloads on your phone, music has the ability to make a difference in your body, how you feel and helps release emotions that have been buried deep in your heart and calms the soul.
Proverbs 14:29 - A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly.
Patience. It’s something that we sometimes lose. We want to relax and not be bothered by waiting, but we lose our patience anyway.
It feels sometimes that waiting is like painting a picture. You can be one of two people:
Which type of person are you? Do you have a bucketful of the paint of patience, or do you have nothing but an empty bucketful of paint.
Each day there are small pieces of patience that want to end up on your day’s canvas. But we can’t seem to find any paint. All our pieces of patience never flow our way.
You see, those pieces of patience, the small moments of our day, all add up and can cause us to become frazzled, impatient people. That lack of patience while in line at the grocery story or waiting for a doctor’s appointment can cause our stomachs and whole body to be consumed with the burning fire of impatience. This isn’t a life with fullness. It’s a life lacking what it takes to go the long haul.
So how do we become more patient people? Mindtools.com posts the article, “How to be Patient,” which gives us signs of impatience, the cause and managing the symptoms, such as reminding ourselves that our impatience rarely gets others to move faster.
Something else to consider: Take a look at the Bible verse above. It says that a quick-tempered person displays folly and this is so true. When you’re in a hurry and out of patience, you can find words coming out of your mouth that you may regret later. It’s better to have a few pieces of patience because God blesses those who have patience with a greater understanding of what is going on in frustrating circumstances.
John 16:33 - I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
Peace. It eludes us. We rush around in life trying to cross the intersection before the light turns from yellow to red. But even though we crossed as fast as we could to get to the other side, peace is already a mile down the road.
As the Bible verse above says, in this world we will have trouble.
Yes, there is plenty of trouble to go around. And trouble in any one of these area can disrupt our peace.
So off we go to dash through that intersection as quickly as we can. What we don’t always understand though is peace is not something you can chase after. It’s in the stillness that we find peace. Yet, how many of us truly know how to be still. There, in the stillness, is where we can find that peace.
When you find yourself winding up inside, take a few calming breaths. Close your eyes and picture yourself beside a stream or an ocean where the water rhythmically flows. Take that scene and see every detail of where you are. The more detailed you imagine a quiet place the more you will relax.
Another way to unwind is to find a comfortable place to sit or lie down if you need to. Close your eyes as you did in the example above and take a few calming breaths. This time though contract and release different parts of your body. Begin with your feet and work your way up to your head. As you contract and release notice how your body feels. Is it becoming more relaxed or does it tighten up the minute you move on to another part of your body? If it’s tight, it may help to work on the muscles that are tense and tighten and release them again.
If you can’t find a place to calm yourself while indoors, get up out of your chair and take a walk outside. Begin once again with a few calming breaths. As you walk, don’t focus on the work you’ve left stacked on your desk, but notice your surroundings. Listen to the sound of birds singing or examine the leaves on the trees moving in the breeze.
There are many other methods you can use to be still such as reading a book, knitting, using adult coloring books or praying. Whatever you choose to do, remember to start with those few calming breaths.
Then as you return to your work area you may notice that you don’t see things quite as stressful as before. The calming exercises can also be used while you’re at home or even while in line at the grocery store.
Peace is attainable in our troubled world especially as we realize that Jesus has overcome the world and is right beside us, as we find a way to be still. He is our ultimate peace.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.