An attitude of peace and calm is priceless, especially during times of stress or testing. It’s an attitude that says, “I’m trusting God,” and it speaks powerfully to people.
One important way to develop consistent peace is to learn to live “in the now.” While it’s tempting to spend a lot of time thinking about the past or wondering what the future holds, you can’t accomplish much of anything unless your mind is focused on today.
The Bible says God gives us grace for each day that we live. I believe that grace is the power, enablement, or energy to do what we need to do – and He gives it generously, whenever we need His help.
Every morning, we need to make a decision to say, “God has given me today. I will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Yet too often our stress level is tied up in our circumstances. You could be stressed because you’re too busy, or struggling financially, or not getting along with someone you love.
What’s interesting is that these situations are not the real cause of your stress. Stress is actually caused by your reaction to the difficult situations in your life.
However, you can learn how to embrace more of God’s peace by practicing these seven powerful keys to a more peaceful lifestyle:
- Be selective with how you spend your time. By trying to do too many things, you can end up doing none of them well. Hurrying is trying to do more than the Holy Spirit is leading you to do. Seek to be led by the Spirit instead of “the tyranny of the urgent.”
- Be prepared to say NO nicely. Sometimes we take on things we know we shouldn’t just because we’re uncomfortable saying no. If you feel this pressure, ask God to put your spirit at rest and give you loving words that will take away the awkwardness of saying no.
- Resist the spirit of procrastination. Don’t just sit around until you feel like doing what you need to do. God’s Word tells us to exercise self-discipline. Do what you need to do NOW, so you can fully enjoy your times of rest.
- Eliminate distractions. If you know you’re easily distracted, set some guidelines for yourself. Don’t let worries keep you up late at night, so you oversleep the next morning and set yourself up for a hurried, stressful day.
- Set appropriate boundaries for interruptions. Life is full of interruptions, but you can learn to set boundaries that help you manage them in healthy ways. Schedule times when you are “off-limits.” Let your calls go to voicemail, turn off your email, and decide to get back to people after your off-limits time is over.
- Modify your life. Ask God to show you out-of-the-box ways to save time and trouble. For instance, when I don’t have time to do the dishes, I use paper plates. And if I’m having a birthday gathering for one of my kids and don’t have time to make a meal, we just have cake and ice cream.
- Listen to the Holy Spirit. If you see that your plan is not producing peace, go back to God. Pray for His wisdom to make changes that will benefit your life.
By learning to trust God “in the now” and employing these seven principles, you can become a peaceful person and a powerful witness for the Lord!
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