Updated: Aug 23, 2021
Living a peaceful life is such a magnificent thing. If you never do anything for yourself, find peace in Christ.
For many years my life was best described as a battleground. I was at war at all times and even when it appeared that all was good it really wasn't. I compare it to a swan on a lake. On the surface, it appeared to be gliding along effortlessly but under the water, those legs are working hard to keep the swan afloat.
When you have had a relationship with God and then you walk away, believe me, there is absolutely no way to have true and meaningful peace in your life. Attempting to control everything and pushing your own agenda is both time-consuming and a total waste of your time.
Attempting to be in control of everything steals your joy and when your best efforts continually fail you begin to wear a veil of failure which in turn makes you bitter towards not only yourself but others. If they would just listen to me things would be just fine. Have you ever heard such rubbish? This was my mindset for many years. During it all, I was always on the search for peace but as I look back now I have to laugh, how could peace ever come amidst the idiocy of my life.
Just like anything built on sand, a storm hit and my life collapsed, or so I thought at the time. As I look back now I realize that God was in the whole painful thing. I wasn't anywhere near where he wanted me and in order to get my attention and give me another chance to start again, he knew he had to blow my life completely apart. With the support of a handful of friends, my sons, and my parents I landed back at square one but had supportive influences telling me it was going to be OK!
Fast forward through many dark days, medications, and other things that transpired I was drawn to a house for sale. It was located in a community where I had felt cared for about thirty years before. Fast forward again and I began attending Presbyterian Church where I use to go with my Nana over forty years before, and it all goes uphill from there.
Slowly, and I mean at a snail's pace, I started to let go and let God. Every now and again I would attempt to grab back control when my anxieties would kick in. Smart move on my part as my track record was stellar: NOT!
As I was reading verses in the Bible regarding peace, Matthew 5:9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they call be called sons of God." For many years I viewed peacemakers as those who would agree with anything or anybody to keep the peace. In all honesty, I viewed them as weak, almost pitiful. But as I dug a little deeper into exactly what a peacemaker should be, I realized in order to play this role you not only have to be strong but you also have to be wise.
Some of the traits of a peacemaker:
Patience - the ability to not try and settle a dispute in the heat of the moment. Learn to remove emotion and deal with facts. They may even take the time to discuss it with an independent 3rd party who can be the voice of reason. You will note the word "a" 3rd party, not vent to the entirety of your address book. The person you choose should be wise and help you get to the root of why you are truly upset.
Don't wait - be the bigger person and make the first move. Regardless of whether you are the offender or the offended. Time heals nothing, it causes hurts to fester. The quote from Jonathan Lockwood Huie "Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace."
Sympathetic - find out what the other party was feeling and their version of the facts. We need to uncover the real issue before a solution can ever be found. If everyone wins then you truly have found a resolution.
Own Your Mistakes - sometimes you play a role and sometimes you don't. Regardless, even if your apology is nothing more than I am sorry you felt that way you are acknowledging that you may have been able to do a bit better in the whole situation. Admitting faults is never fun but we all have them so own them.
Don't make it personal - this the hardest one in my opinion. Attack the problem, not the person. Not every problem can be resolved. What is your preferred outcome? If you strive for reconciliation then you are attempting to preserve the relationship but if it is just a resolution you are after then you are focused on the problem. If the relationship is the important thing to save, the problem soon loses its significance.
Does this sound like a job description of someone weak or pitiful, absolutely not. To be a peacemaker you require great strength, wisdom, love, and the ability to forgive and put relationships first. It takes a warrior for God to be a peacemaker.
In order for me to find my inner peace, I had to take time and truly believe in God. John 16:33 "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation but take heart, I have overcome the world." The world will always bring tribulations to my life but it is up to me how I react and if I am going to allow it to steal my peace. During the tribulations, I lean into Isaiah 26:3 "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you."
The Peace I enjoy in my life is amazing. There are still times when fear and anxiety creep in and I catch myself spinning and my mind racing into negativity, self-doubt, and despair. Thankfully, I recognize the triggers sooner and either quote scripture, grab my Bible, or I sing songs of praise and do this until my spirit is once again in a peaceful place.
I am attempting to no longer be at war but to live in peace. As stated in Romans 12:18 "If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peacefully with all." This is my new motto in life. It has become abundantly clear that to do so, some people can no longer be part of my life, other than me praying for them. If it is in God's plan they will be back at some point but if it isn't part of God's plan they won't. This was a huge eye-opener for me but I have peace about it all.
God's plan is for me and about me and I am excited to see where it leads me because I know how it ends if I remain faithful; BEAUTIFUL and PEACEFUL!