We have peace. It is a gift. If we don’t FEEL it, it’s because we’ve chosen not to use or receive that gift.
Whenever someone gives you something, you have two choices: accept it or reject it.
If you accept it, you have two choices: be gracious, or be ungracious. Be grateful or be ungrateful. It stands to reason that gracious gratitude is ALWAYS the right answer.
If you graciously accept and appreciate the gift, you still have two choices: open it, or don’t. (Obviously, implied in the initial acceptance of a gift in this context, there’s the idea that you KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GETTING. Although even when you know what you’re getting, you don’t know what you’re getting. But anyway…)
If you DON’T open it, there’s not much point in having it. It might look very pretty in its wrapping, but it’s just going to sit there being ornamental, not doing anything.
So, you open it. Now (you guessed it) you have two choices: use it, or don’t use it. Gifts are a bit like well-intentioned advice in that way.
If you don’t use it, all you have is an ornament. And that’s most of us with peace. We HAVE it, but we don’t use it. Why not? Well, maybe we don’t know how. It could be that we haven’t read the instruction manual, or that we read it but it was too confusing to put into practical action.
If we don’t use the gift of peace and it’s not a “couldn’t-understand-the-manual” thing, we’re fooling ourselves when we say we want peace. We don’t. We love the drama. We feed off it. It’s all we really know and understand. It makes us feel whole. it’s familiar, and peace would be strangely unsettling. Perhaps we even fear that it would be dull. I know I’ve done that.
But let’s say we have peace (and we do). We’ve graciously accepted this amazing gift. We’ve OPENED it, and we’ve even read the manual. Now what? How do we put that learning into action?
There’s something about peace that is very important to understand: it passes understanding. In other words, your thoughts can get in the way of your peace if you let them. Don’t believe me? Let’s do an experiment. Try this for the next five days: every morning the minute you wake up, every evening, just before you sail off to the land of nod, and every single time you feel even the faintest flutter of anxiety, panic, anger, fear, stress, worry, sadness, loneliness or concern, repeat these words:
I am serene and at peace.
Say them at least ten times, out loud if you can but in your head is fine, too.
There’s a catch, though (you knew this was coming) … allow yourself to BELIEVE it. This is just for five days, remember. What have you got to lose? But if you SAY “I am serene and at peace,” but you THINK “as if! I WISH I was serene and at peace but there’s way too much chaos for that EVER to be true!” well, you’ll be right. You won’t have any peace at all.
Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.
So, for just five days, CHOOSE to think you CAN.
Let me tell you how this is working out for me. I have a reputation for being highly strung. I’m a control freak, and I have continual little flares of anger and frustration every moment of every day, because nothing in my life seems to conform to my will. In “You Can Heal Your Body” by Louise Hay, she links acne and cysts to continual flares of anger, and playing that old, painful movie over and over in your head. Since I have had a lifelong battle with acne, I decided to give it a go. That was about ten days ago. My skin is almost completely clear, and everyone comments on it. In fact, last week someone told me I had “beautiful ivory skin”, and asked me what my secret was. An unexpected benefit has been that I tic and twitch MUCH less than before. Sometimes I think about that, and think I should be even MORE serene so that I can tic even less, and then I get tense about not being serene, so I tic even more, and so it goes. The main key to remember is that it is a process, and you need to trust the process.
Here’s another affirmation that is really working for me: “Be still, and KNOW that [He] is God.”
Just let that sink in for a bit. Just think about what God means. Good. Infinite. Love. All those things, and He’s on OUR side. How incredible is that. If you just gently, lovingly meditate on that, with no preconceived notions or judgements, for at least five minutes, you’ll be amazed at the serenity that floods your life.
Give it a go. I’m keen to hear your results.