Do you have a word? That one word that you let define you and your choices? My word is Peace. My word is ALWAYS peace. Peace motivates me. I am always evaluating the “peace” level in my heart and in my home. I stop to think about what I am most focusing on, and I change my focus if those thoughts bring me anxiety or fear. However, sometimes it’s not that easy and there is more to it, more than just changing my mind. When the bad days string together and turn to weeks and months, when the whole season is just, not right?! I need a little more help focusing.
Last year, my husband and I needed alot of things to come together in our world, and to add to it, together we felt alone. There were two weeks, my husband was out of town, more specifically on the other side of the world, in another time zone. When the kids and I were awake, he was asleep. When we went to bed, he was awake, resulting in minimal communication between us. My “While You Were Sleeping” story became this drama inside my own mind of everything that is going wrong. My list of worries and emotions just kept growing. I found my peace slipping, while anxiety and fear were welcoming themselves into my mind and taking hold of my attitude and behavior. That’s when I took action…
I took a pen and a piece of paper and created categories and made lists. I listed everything (very specifically) that I was stressed about financially, with friendships, with my children, with my husband, with church, with our house, and with a business choice we were making. I also carried worries about people I love. After scribbling everything that was worrying me, I prayed a simple prayer. I said “God you see everything on this page, I am giving it all to you. I need you to work it out. I can’t do this.” I remember opening my eyes and looking at the lists again. Nothing, I repeat, NOT. ONE. THING. could I actually control on that list. It was at that time I realized I was trying to control all of those things. That is what was stealing my peace! Thinking I could control something, that realistically, I couldn’t. A sense of peace immediately came to me, because I honestly believe God answers prayer, and I just gave Him a huge load of stuff to take care of. (Stuff, that I couldn’t control.)
I started cleaning and another worry entered my mind. I wrote it on the page. I said the same thing again “God everything on this page is in your control. You, please take care of me, and my family. I trust you.”
Throughout the rest of the day, I would repeat that prayer, continually giving the negative thoughts on the paper to God. I focused on bible verses and things I was thankful for. (I have learned that counting my blessings make my problems look smaller.) The next day, I found freedom in my thoughts & emotions. Almost like a super busy calendar had cleared and I could do anything I wanted. You know that feeling? It was a relief. Not everything was fixed, but my focus was fixed! My focus was on God and all He had given me, and I was reminded He would continue to be faithful.
If you’re having a bad day, go check out my list of peace helpers (and bible verses), see if those will help you focus your mind on God, and your blessings. Ask yourself, what has made your life wonderful? That is a blessing! Thank God for it. Secondly, if you are in a season of life that is rough, check out the peace chart at the bottom of this post. Print it out and fill it in. Then be very proactive about adding worries to the page, and giving all the page contains to God in prayer.
Recognize what you can control and what you can’t, create action steps for what you can control and give the rest to God. Does that make sense?
What do you do to create peace when you are stressed at work or in other relationships? Let me know in the comments below.
Photo by Alex Holyoake.