by PENELOPE CARLEVATO, RN in Leading Hearts Magazine
DO YOU EVER HAVE DAYS WHEN YOU ARE EXPERIENCING ANYTHING BUT PEACE? Life seems disjointed and aimless? Many days I feel overwhelmed by all the things on my to-do list. I want peace and joy, but instead, I feel anxious and worried. What’s a girl to do?
Immediately my thoughts go to Matthew 6:33 — “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
He is the answer as we will never entirely elude this world’s turbulence, but we can be safe with Him. It’s like joy. We won’t have a place where there is no trouble or heartache, but we can obtain peace and joy amid life’s journey.
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” (Isaiah 26:3).
Jesus has already promised us peace that is vastly different from what the world offers. It is not fleeting or superficial.
Our pastor’s first message of the year was on peace, which also happened to be my “word” for the year. I guess I’m not the only one seeking peace. Anxiety is rampant in our society. The National Institute of Mental Health reports occasional anxiety is part of life, but when it doesn’t go away, it can interfere with our daily activities, work and social interactions.
We tend to think we can do more than we really can. We rush around doing the urgent but miss the best and important things. Stop trying to do what God has never called you to do. Keep this saying in mind before saying yes:
“If the devil can’t make you sin, he will make you busy.”Barnes and Noble announced there is a massive surge in the sale of books about anxiety. It becomes a problem when it goes beyond worry and begins to take away our power to reason and cope with stressful situations.
With over 7 million people affected by anxiety in the U.S., it made our pastor’s sermon more relevant than I thought. I pray that many in the congregation have new hope.
One of his main bullet points was peace is a practice, focusing our reliance on God.
Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Jesus has already promised us peace that is vastly different from what the world offers. It is not fleeting or superficial; it’s real and can transform the everyday activities of our lives. It’s a choice to habitually look to the Lord for our peace and practice seeking Him and the peace He offers. Here are three daily practices I am implementing to create and cultivate a life of peace and joy:
Spend time with Jesus.
As a believer in Christ, we already have the promise of peace in our lives. He is the Prince of Peace. Our peace doesn’t depend on what we do or what happens in our life. We decide every morning to have peace because of what Jesus did on the cross.
Breaking old patterns is hard.
I need to heed the call Christ has on my life daily. Only then will I have the life I always wanted — Peace and Joy. One of the many things we do each day is to prepare meals for our family. I make out a meal plan for the week and make sure I have all the ingredients on hand. It’s a simple task that I can do on Saturdays and avoid those last-minute trips to the grocery store. Meal planning helps manage my time better and makes meal preparation easier. It also answers the nagging question, “What’s for dinner?” There is a lot of peace in knowing the answer!
Set goals and prioritize time.
Our lives probably aren’t going to get less busy, but we can choose what we do and keep a healthy schedule. There will be some busy times in our calendar, but make sure it’s doing what God has called you to do. Ask God for guidance as you invest in what is most important and not urgent.
My daughter shared this idea of having a mini meatloaf for dinner. This recipe is perfect for a weeknight dinner as it cooks quickly and is excellent as leftovers.
½ cup chopped celery
⅓ cup shredded carrots
1 tablespoon A.1. ® Sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350º F.
Grease muffin tins 1 pound ground beef or turkey ⅓ cup oatmeal 1 egg, beaten ¼ cup milk ⅓ cup ketchup 1 garlic clove, minced ½ cup onion, chopped ½ cup green pepper, chopped
Mix all the ingredients well. Press the meat mixture into muffin tin.
Top each one with a small amount of ketchup or barbecue sauce. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Makes 12 mini meatloaves. Serve with a starch of your choice and a tossed green salad. Leftovers are great for lunches.