Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace…” Romans 14:19
Today more than ever, leading a peaceful life is a fleeting idea. It’s nearly impossible with the demands and strings attached to our personal and business lives.
Distractions, busyness and fast-paced schedules abound, pushing heart rates up, keeping tensions at a high rate and increasing stress levels of everyday life. The fast-paced nature of life has sucked society into its vortex like a powerful vaccuum cleaner, spitting out tired bodies, over-taxed minds and overloaded emotions.
Can you separate yourself from the riggors of today’s craziness? Is it possible to insulate your family from the affects of the tentacles of those demands?
“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” —Saint Francis de Sales
We’ve attempted to do that very thing this year. Be intentional and purposeful. Become more focused on the things that are important. And find friends and others who will support our lifestyle.
Frankly, there’s not a lot that really matters when you boil it all down. Seriously, what do you really have to do today? Make the list, then start scratching through the things that aren’t really that important.
Easy to do, no? Have we been entirely successful? Of course not. Still, here are four practical things that we’ve made an effort to do that have helped to bring a little more peace, a little more focus to our lives.
Get away from television.
It’s been called the one-eyed monster. If you’re a news junkie, CNN and Fox are robbing you. If you have the TV on in the background, it’s becoming a mind-numbing nuisance. There isn’t a real news show anymore, it’s all about ratings, personalities and advocacy-driven programs. Listen, you will not miss it.
Whether it’s news, reality shows, game shows or something else, there isn’t much to miss on television these days anyway. Sure, you can be intentional about watching a cooking show or scheduling some time for that special program, but to become emotionally attached to the television can be destructive and detrimental to your mental, emotional and, ultimately, your physical well-being.
Step 1 to finding peace. Try stepping away for just a month and you’re likely to find you have little use for it other than a football game or an occasional movie.
Social media is a time-stealer.
Teens spend as much as six hours a day on social media programs like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, Twitter and other platforms. Six hours! How much do you spend? Be honest, it probably gets away from you at some point.
Ask yourself: What am I getting out of Facebook? Or Twitter? Or Instagram? Is it productive and helpul? Or has it become an addiction?
Yes, I’m still on Facebook and Instagram, but it’s not consuming, much less addictive.
Step 2 to finding peace. Cut out or cut back. At the very least, examine the time you’re spending on social media.
Get away from toxic people.
Yes, you know who they are. They are the ones who steal your peace, who take your joy. You debate them, you argue with them, you try to get them to see your point of view. But they are unrelenting, always telling you what to do or how to do it. You can feel the hair go up on the back of your neck and you know you BP just jumped a few notches.
You also know you’re not going to win the argument or come to an agreement or, in some cases, even have a civil conversation.
As Barney Fife used to say, just nip it in the bud!
Step 3 to finding peace. Just remove yourself from the equation. It’s not productive, constructive or beneficial in any way. It takes up too much time, too much energy and, it steals your peace, joy and calm.
Find some quiet time.
You can meditate, read, talk to God, whatever you want to call it. Find time to take a deep breath without the pressues and stresses of the world banging on your door.
It’s imperative — especially if you’re removing things like television, social media or toxic people — that you replace it with something positive. Just call it “me time” and don’t rush it. Use the time to fill your tank by reading a book, planting a garden, taking a walk, talking with God or just sit in the quietness and enjoy the view.
Step 4 to finding peace. You may have to force yourself with this one, since you’ll feel like you have to be doing something. The quiet part is always challenging to the “me time”, but no housework or cleaning or yard work or any other daily activities are allowed for this time.
As I mentioned at the outset, peace can be fleeting. To chase it, you must be intentional. Take the challenge today. Start the journey back and find the peace that passes all understanding.