“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7
In the middle of “your busy,” how can you find peace? It truly starts in your mind. You need to begin with prayer and thanksgiving. That’s appropriate for this time of year, as we begin preparations for Thanksgiving.
Lately, I’ve been practicing an “attitude of gratitude.” But for me to do so, I need to slow down. For so many years now, I can’t tell you how often I have felt like I’ve been working at a fast food restaurant where everything comes in rushes, and you’re slammed with multiple requests at once for long stretches of time. When things finally slow down, you catch a breath for a moment only for it to begin again. I’m pretty sure that’s not the kind of life the Lord wants us to live. Where’s the peace in that? It’s really hard to find if you’re running around like a chicken with your head cut off.
So, I slow down. I say “no” more often to things that are not necessary and lighten the load on my schedule to just a few main things. I’m consciously aware of slowing my movements down, too. I don’t need to rush to get a cup of coffee or hurry to sit down on the couch. I can move more slowly, more deliberately. That slower pace helps my mind to slow down, as well. And then I can focus better on God.
When I pray, if I am a bit scattered, I begin by focusing on God’s holiness. I acknowledge His attributes: He is good, loving, all-knowing, everywhere at once, forever existing, never fading, always wise and all-powerful. And as I pray these things, I sense an increase in my faith because I recognize the awesomeness of God. This naturally leads me to a thankful heart, and I pray accordingly.
We can all do better by slowing down a bit, reducing our commitments and yes, even slowing our movements. This helps cultivate peace and then we can thank God for who He is, and we can thank Him for the blessings He’s given us. It can be as basic as your breath… (you are breathing, right?) Who gave you the breath of life? Thank God for that.
God also gave you everything necessary to live by the resources provided to us on Earth. We have water, food, air, and adventures to explore as we journey towards our final destination—heaven, at home with God.
These are simple thanksgivings we can pray to God, and as we do, we begin to experience peace. This peace comes from knowing God is ultimately in control, even mixed with our free will (which can sometimes result in bad choices, but there’s grace for that). Our Heavenly Father works His purposes amidst humanity’s freedom.
Lastly, I present my requests to God. Make this prayer one that comes near the end of your prayer time. I read somewhere that this is a spiritual discipline: to begin first by acknowledging who God is, and then by thanking Him. This discipline aligns your spirit to focus on God first before bringing your requests to Him.
Think Divinely: Peace comes when you learn to trust God.
Trust comes when you understand who God is.
This cultivates a thankful heart.