Inundated with information of crisis after crisis, it is easy to become overwhelmed with thoughts about the future. Driven by passions to improve the world around us, we strive to impact our community, but the bad feels like it overcomes the good. I heard a social worker state that as a society “we are still in survival mode.” Our fight or flight reaction is easily triggered after prolonged exposure to multiple stresses.
God’s peace transcends this life, it anchors our security in His salvation not in earth’s unpredictable events. So, how do we get from stressing over the world to a place of peace? Practice, patience, and perseverance.
There is no shame in feeling anxious. I have worked with individuals who are anxious about being anxious. This then gives room for shame, and they hide their feelings from others and themselves. This allows their hidden feelings to fester and grow. Get it out in the open! I love that Gen Z and Millennials are more likely than other generations to talk about their mental health with the goal to become healthier. This is a great first step.
Accepting we cannot control others or outcomes of our life, produces peace. We can do our best to move forward toward our goals but sometimes life gets in the way. Remember Jesus gives us peace. He gifted it to us before He left this earth. Slowly read John 14:27
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid. “(NLT)
This peace Jesus extends produces a security in us that is difficult to explain. It allows us to step out of our circumstances and into greater security. We know we have access to this gift but unwrapping and using that present can feel impossible. We just don’t know where to begin to peel back the tape and open the box. Here are a few ideas when you feel stuck:
- When you recognize the signs of unrest, investigate the source of your lack of peace. Is it a real danger or triggered fear? Take a deep breath and examine the “why” of your feelings. Does my unrest change or save me in this situation?
- If unrest comes from a situation out of your control, stop and refocus on the wonder around you. Use your senses to recognize the beauty you experience. Take a moment to see, hear, touch, smell, and taste items in your environment. Now take this grounding tool one step further by expressing gratitude to God for those things. If you have time, write it down and celebrate your gratitude to God. (Read more about this in the article Beauty Hunting)
- Peace is a Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). If you want to produce the fruit you nurture it. Like any fruit-bearing plant, time is part of the process of growth. We nurture peace in our life by slowing down, sitting in silence before God. Breathing in and out in a slow manner, brings us to stillness we seek in God. We feed and water peace through the study of Scripture and prayer.
By seeking Jesus and the peace that comes from Him, we are restored. If you have difficulty doing that on your own, seek help from a mentor, pastor, or professional counselor to find your way to well-being. It is not that we shouldn’t feel turmoil, it is recognizing we don’t have to live that way.
Ask this Mom is a monthly post directed to younger adults to answer their spiritual questions. Although it addresses their concerns it is also a resource for older adults to help understand and in turn mentor this up-and-coming generation.