Nothing is going according to plan. If one more person asks you for something, you’re going to lose it. You just need a break!
If that’s where you are, you want peace. You need peace. How do you get it? And once you find it, what can you do to keep it?
A Misguided Intentional Pursuit of Peace
When I’m having one of those days, I want to be alone. Even though I’m an extrovert, I have my limits in a house where there are four kids I’m still homeschooling, a work-at-home husband, and a misbehaving dog.
I look for peace in my work. I think if I can just have some interrupted time to get my writing done, I’ll have peace. Even on the very rare occasions that I’m not interrupted while working, I don’t have the peace I crave. I just discover several dozen more things I need to do.
I look for peace in friendships. When I’m stressed, I will chat with friends. I love chatting just as I love writing, but I don’t find lasting peace in these pursuits. When the chat is over, I still have the same challenges.
I look for peace in snacks. When I’ve had enough, I will pour myself a favorite beverage and I’ll raid my chocolate cabinet. Usually, I’m discovered by the rest of the family who demands to share the goods.
I’ve looked for peace in shopping, reading, and hobbies. I enjoy these pursuits, but I don’t find lasting peace in them, either.
The Intentional Pursuit That Leads to Lasting Peace
When Jesus was famished after forty days of fasting, Satan appeared to tempt him. So too, when we are at our weakest, our enemy will suggest a failed path to peace. We often take it when we could have the source of peace: God Himself.
We can intentionally pursue peace by pursuing Christ. The wonderful thing is that He isn’t hard to find. I have had days when my family and friends weren’t available to me, but Jesus always is. Instead of looking for peace in all the wrong places, we can intentionally pursue peace by:
You know this, right? But are you thinking of prayer as a formal activity that is reserved for morning quiet time? That isn’t the case. I encourage you to read my post 6 Lies That Keep Us From Praying. This is one of them.
Prayer can be a simple plea for help anytime, anywhere. I have been amazed by how dramatically God has answered this prayer when I am intentional in praying it.
Praying through the alphabet at night is another powerful way to pursue peace. Think of a prayer or worry for each letter of the alphabet. I love doing this whenever I have trouble sleeping.
Keeping a record of prayer is another way of intentionally pursuing peace. I have been recording prayers in a journal and then noting when they have been answered. When I find myself worrying about something, I can see how God cared for me in a similar situation. My peace is restored.
Praying through writing is an excellent way to overcome the lies that steal our peace. Record your worries and concerns and then talk back to them as though the enemy himself were speaking. If you write, “I’ll never get it all done!” respond with “I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me,” for example.
Doing the Good We Ought to Do
The Bible says, “He who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins” (James 4:17). Am I the only one who pretends I don’t know what to do? 🙂 I suffer the consequences of not doing the good I ought to do and the primary result is a lack of peace. Romans 14:17 tells us that God’s kingdom isn’t about what we eat or drink (I’m so glad!), but about righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.
The righteous life for me is being diligent in following the routines God has given me and loving others in word and deed. When I stop doing good in these areas by going to bed late, not exercising, and not maintaining my home, you can bet my words and behavior won’t be loving!
Intentionally Pursuing Peace Today
As I write, I realize that once again, I have been pursuing peace in the wrong places. I have been doing a lot of chatting and snacking! I have also failed to do the good I know I ought to do. I’ve been lax in my routines and I haven’t been my best with my family. I can pursue peace today and so can you. I’m going to ask God for His help and I’m going to back to my routines.
Staying close to the Lord and living righteously is how we can find and keep peace in our lives.
What will you do today to intentionally pursue peace?
Click here for all the rest of the posts in the Intentional Life Series.
Dr. Melanie Wilson is a Christian psychologist turned homeschooling mother of six. She is the author of the Psychowith6 blog, The Organized Homeschool Life, and Grammar Galaxy language arts curriculum.