Life is just too dang busy, isn’t it?
Between family, friends, work, school, and our own personal goals, it becomes a great deal to juggle. Sometimes- okay, most of the time- I find myself getting overwhelmed with everything going on around me. I usually wind up frustrated because there’s a gap between what I can realistically do and what my expectations are for myself.
Can I get an amen?
I was in that place a little over a week ago- that sweet spot where desperation meets exhaustion. God, I prayed, I feel like I can’t do anything! It’s all too much and I’m just scared! What am I missing? What’s the secret?
In my hurt, I poured my heart out to a woman who I trust completely. I’ve known her for years, and her wisdom, spiritual devotion, and loving nature have always been a beautiful example for me to follow. If anyone was going to have a word of advice for me, I knew it would be her. I told her everything about how distraught I was, how I felt pulled in every direction, and my worries about financial provision.
She listened patiently, and once I was finished, she spent the next 15 minutes or so entreating me to do one thing: seek the Lord. Spend time in His word, worship, go back to basics. She promised me that if I sought Him diligently for just one week, I would feel like a new person.
Guess what? She was totally right. Over the course of that week, without a goal other than to grow closer to God and farther from my anxieties, I read devotionals, I prayed about whatever was on my heart and I worshiped until my heart was overflowing.
Unsurprisingly, I found God when I really started looking for Him. As I dedicated time and energy to discovering the Father’s heart for me, He began to show me how to tap into the peace He promises to all of his children (John 14:27). Spoiler alert: it isn’t difficult to find peace. In fact, God intentionally made it easy!
With that in mind, here are 5 things you can do to enjoy a more peaceful life- starting today.
1. Give up control to God. (Matthew 11:28) Trust me, I know how hard this one can be. If it were up to me, every minute detail of my life would be perfectly in my control. Here’s the problem with that: it’s impossible. Seriously, coming from someone who’s tried, there is absolutely no way to keep every aspect of your life under control. Each time I try, I start to go a little crazy. God knew this when He made us.
That’s why Matthew 11:28-30 is such an important promise: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” The Lord wants to take the weight off our shoulders- in fact, He never wanted it there in the first place. When we relinquish control, it leaves room for God to bless us with His perfect plan.
2. Be in the Word. (Psalms 1:1-2) The Bible is the most important tool God has equipped us with, and so it is in our best interest to make good use of it. All of our encouragements, teachings, and promises stem from this book. We have been gifted the Living Word of God; John 1:1 tells us that “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” It would stand to reason, then, that one of the easiest ways for us to draw closer to Him is by meditating on Scripture. Plus, the Lord promises blessings to the Christian that sets aside time to spend with Him by reading the Bible and reflecting upon it. Matthew 4 reminds us that Scripture is our first line of defense against the enemy; as such, when we fill our hearts with the Word of God, there is no room for him to come and steal our peace.
3. Keep praying. (Philippians 4:6-7) The Lord promises that if we simply ask for something in His name, we will receive it. The Father will not withhold any good thing from His children; peace definitely counts as a good thing, so start asking for it. Diligently reach out to God. Be specific in what you want, be honest, and then give it over to Him. In a way, this goes back to Step 1, because once you talk to God about it- whatever “it” is- let it go. Give it up to Him and trust that He will do what He’s promised. This, Paul tells us, is the surest way to find peace. It’s also a great way to grow closer to God. Think about your relationships with people here on Earth. If you never talk to them, how can you expect to maintain a connection with them? Our bond with our Heavenly Father is the same way.
4. Reach out to friends and family. (James 5:16) I know firsthand how difficult this can be. In this age of social media, everyone else’s lives always look perfectly polished. You’ll be tempted to keep your problems to yourself for fear of judgement; or maybe it’s just out of a desire not to be a burden. Either way, both are lies the enemy uses because he knows there is strength in numbers (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). Will there be people who look down on you for what you’re going through? Maybe. I won’t lie to you by telling you those kinds of people aren’t out there. However, don’t let that stop you from finding those who won’t. Believe it or not, they’re out there, too. There are people of Godly character and good moral judgement, who will tell you what you need to hear rather than what you want.
Proverbs 27:17 tells us that “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” We weren’t created to be alone- take a look at Adam and Eve. Constructing a network of spiritually strong friends is instrumental in living a more peaceful life. They will come alongside you in your hardships and rejoice in your triumphs, just as you will for them. I would encourage you to lift up whatever’s holding you back to the Lord. Ask Him to remove any anxiety and to place people in your life that you can form lasting friendships with. Storms are easier to weather together.
5. When all else fails, just worship. (1 Chronicles 16:29) We were quite literally created to worship God (Revelation 4:11). It’s something beautiful and special that we should apply to our everyday lives whenever possible (Psalm 34:1). When we worship the Lord, we must acknowledge His reverence, glory, and amazing love for us. Coming to Him with a heart of worship immediately takes our eyes off of our present troubles and turns our gaze heavenward (Hebrews 12:2). When we respond to the Lord’s goodness with adoration, it becomes impossible to be anxious about our troubles here on Earth. Worship puts our hearts and minds back in the right perspective: one where Jesus is at the center (Romans 11:36). Return to that truth and you will be amazed at how quickly peace is restored to you.
Here’s the bottom line: when you feel like your world is being turned upside-down, go to God first. He has given us a clear path to Himself. Though it does seem obvious, we are quick to forget in our humanity. So, the next time you find yourself in the eye of the storm, go back to these 5 steps; and most importantly, be diligent to follow them. The Lord always rewards “those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).” Peace is a blessing we receive as the children of God- don’t be afraid to redeem it.