Peace is an interesting word with many connotations as well as denotations. Perhaps you first think of it as being the converse of war. Or perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is holding up two fingers in a “V.” For me, peace is a sense of being. There have been many times in my life where I have not felt peace – after Jason’s car accident when he hovered near death then spent 13 months in the hospital, coupled with years of intense rehabilitation and surgeries – it was a stormy, rocky time. Peace was not easy to find.
However, since experiencing something often helps us to understand the opposite of it better, times of distress have only helped me to more fully recognize and value the concept of peace on a personal level. For me, peace is a state of being. It is a sense of calm that is possible even when chaos surrounds me. Whether it is in the busyness of life in general, health issues, a family crisis or anything in between, peace is possible.
When Jason was in the hospital, I went with my sister’s family to the Outer Banks in North Carolina for a week. I had no responsibilities and my sister was truly creating an escape for me. As I sat on the beach with the ocean breeze blowing the sea grasses and the picket fences lining the walkways, I found peace in the middle of my personal storm. It was one of the most treasured gifts that I have received because in that moment I learned that peace was possible despite my circumstances.
Now, it would be nice if every time I felt stress I could head across the country to the ocean for a moment of meditation. But that’s not reality and so I had to learn how to create that feeling without the waves crashing on the beach in front of me. It’s a mental thing. So whether it’s through exercise or listening to music, crafting, reading, going to church or spending time with family, we all have things that help us feel more calm and settled.
One way to feel peace, that I believe is true for everyone, is to choose not to be offended, let go of grudges and see the best in others. Criticism and finding fault in others, in life, or in ourselves is a guaranteed way to drive away inner peace. This is the message that we learned more about at a Women’s Conference that I attended this weekend. James Ferrell, author of “The Peacegiver,” spoke to us about the sense of peace that comes from each individual’s choice to see the good in one another. This is the activity that we are doing for the month of February in our “Every Needful Thing” program. I didn’t have anything to do with planning it (ahh…bliss!) but it is certainly part of helping us determine what is “needful” in our lives.
We received the following message at the conference:
If we want peace in the world, we can create it by having peace in our thoughts and hearts, in our words and in our actions. As we develop a more peaceful home, that attitude will ripple out into our communities and then out into our world.
If not Me……who?
If not Now……when?
If not Here……where?
We can create individual peace in our lives and it often starts in how we choose to approach our relationships with others. Chaos is inevitable. Hardship is unavoidable. Stress is just a part of life. But peace, in spite of it all, is still possible.
Be the peace you want to have in your life and enjoy the download (with 3 color choices!) to help you create that.