Stress has a funny way of showing you who you really are and it can be ugly. My under pressure ugly usually went something like this: snapping off at the first person who interacted with me (they should’ve known I was under stress), venting (gossiping) with my friends to feel better, blaming God for all my problems (I believe in him WHY isn’t he helping me) and having a full blown cry fest pity party for myself. I realized in January I was peace deprived. My life was hectic with commuting, moving and traveling and I needed to handle the stress before it handled me. I only knew of one source of peace and that was God. I needed to make a serious commitment to spend time with God through more prayer, fasting and reading the Bible. Day by day I just got quite before God. It was very interesting because once I got quite God started showing me areas in my life to fix and shut out the noise and stress. My circumstances haven’t changed I just changed my mind.
Turn off the TV, Gossip blogs and negative people. This single act made a huge difference. I stopped deliberately watching TV back in February and when I moved into my new place I just didn’t bring my TV with me. I used to LOVE reality shows. I remember one night tweeting something so horrible about a reality star and I asked myself…who am I? Who have I become? I am sitting up here judging these people and might do the same thing given the circumstances. I also realized that we secretly get a high when we see people in horrible situation on TV, it makes us feel good about our lives. So I quit cold turkey. Same with gossip blogs, its hard and from time to time I click but I general I try to avoid. The evil side of me that enjoys these things is something I don’t want to grow so I shut off the source.
Learn to serve in the workplace. Under paid and overworked classifies many people in this country including me. Not to mention 70% of the time I was mad at my boss, like to the point where I would go in the bathroom and just have a scream and cry midway through the day. I retaliated by having a bad attitude and being rude. I would talk about my boss and it was terrible. I asked God, “What are you trying to teach me?” Then I was reading the Bible one night and God just put in my heart that I need to learn how to serve. From that day forward I changed. I completed every required task on time and no back talk. I started to smile more and I learned to serve. I am so much happier and my work environment is now at peace. This isn’t my dream job, but when my dreams do become lucrative the karma of my actions now will shine through to my future employees.
Spend time with genuine, good, loving people. Since being on my personal peace mission God has just put so many AMAZING people in my life old and new. There is nothing like having an amazing conversation with someone that truly loves and cares about you. The past few months I have been on a high from all the wonderful people that have been put in my path, it has really taken my joy and peace to the next level.
Random acts of kindness. When was the last time you prepared lunches for your coworkers? Or sent a card to a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while? Given an old woman at the grocery store a ride home? There are so many random acts of kindness you can do each day. It feels so great to help someone in need and if your try to do something small every day your peace will be off the meter!
Stop gossiping and talking about people. This was very difficult and still is hard. It was so natural to me to go to a friend and vent or complain about someone. It seemed innocent enough. However, as faithful as God is on the blessings he is that way on the corrections. I just started to feel horrible every time I complained or talked about someone in a negative light. So I stopped. I still struggle at times but I have come a long way. When I get the urge to talk about someone I just talk out loud to God.
Talk to God like a friend. FYI this is called prayer. We often think prayer has to be some grandiose act, like you have to change your voice, wave your arms and start using words to impress God. That is not the case. Just talk to God like you’re having a normal conversation. Ever since I started doing this I can’t shut up. I talk to God all the way to work, after work, while I am cooking dinner and as I am falling asleep. I am so relieved and I just cast all my cares on him. I don’t worry or stress; and if I feel myself starting to stress I just open my mouth and start talking.
We all have our own journey to joy and peace and I hope that my journey inspires you. What are some ways you have found peace? Are there things about your life you have changed? What do you do daily to welcome peace into your life?