If you had the basic necessities of life (food, clothes, shelter), what else might you need to be content…a good job that you love, a new car, a fancy vacation home and oh, yeah, a good mate and the proverbial 2.5 children either of your own or adopted; plus it’s nice to have parents and siblings that you can get along with.
But wait, what did I forget? The one closest to the top of the list for me and some of my many friends would be good health. If that is one of the closest, what do you suppose would be very first in order of appearance? On my personal list would be faith in God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Without my belief in God’s Word, I would be like a boat with a hole in the bottom. By now, I would be so deep in an ocean of depression and despair that I would have no peace. Some folks, even strangers, have expressed an interest and desire to have the peace I have. They have felt this when reading my stories, listening to me speak, and some have said they even see it in my eyes.
I found some notes I took a long time ago and I don’t remember if it was someone on television or at a church service, but I had filed them in a folder marked possible stories. It is never my intent to “steal someone else’s thunder” or plagiarize, but sometime I feel led to share with others the messages that have spoken to my heart or opened my eyes. This was a very old tattered sheet of notebook paper and obviously some parts were missing, but as I read over it I knew I had some things I could add to the basic outline.
According to the original writer, some of our primary desires are to be happy and have peace of mind. Based on these notes, there are eight important factors in having peace of mind:
1.) “The absence of suspicion and resentment.”
My first thought is how suspicion goes hand-in-hand with jealousy. Jealousy is the “old green eyed monster” in a relationship.
2.) “Do not live in the past.”
This was one of the first things with which I came to terms when I became an adult. I have shared with others the importance of remembering to forget the past.
3.) “One should not waste time and energy fighting conditions that they cannot change.”
There is another familiar quotation that says “Let go, and let God.” If there is anything you think can’t be changed, then you need to learn God is in control and can change anything, if it is in His plan to do so.
4.) “We should resist the temptation to withdraw during periods of emotional stress.”
Some people become shut-ins emotionally because they aren’t willing to ask God, or His angels, to help them. I had accepted being a physical shut-in, but when the emotional restlessness moved into my heart, I knew God was not through with me “out in the world” so against the advice of many well-intentioned folks, I went in debt for a handicapped conversion van. I could not allow the fear or concern of others to take me down.
5.) “Refuse to indulge in self-pity when you think life has handed you a raw deal.”
A famous Christian speaker says self-pity draws one inward because it is all about you. One time I wrote a story about “the other Linda and I” having a pity party. It’s okay to have one now and then but Joyce Meyer, the Christian speaker/writer says, “You can be bitter or you can be better, but you can’t be both.”
6.) “One should cultivate virtues of love, humor, compassion, and loyalty.”
The way to cultivate these traits is best accomplished by being a listener and confidant; a giver rather than a taker. Sometimes God uses us to sow the seed of his word through our love or concern of others.
7.) “Do not place expectations on yourself that are impossible to achieve.”
Living with disability has forced me to accept limitations. Two of the hardest to accept have been housework and cooking. The vacuum cleaner and I tend to get wrapped up in each other, so after trying I just let it go when I get too frustrated. Spilling hot grits on my leg and going through six months of healing has caused me to care less and less about cooking.
8.) “Find something bigger than yourself to believe in.”
I’m sure what the original author of this would have gone on to say, but first I want to comment on one thing about “self.” Sometimes circumstances in our lives cause us to think so little of ourselves, but to find this peace we (or I) had to come to recognize ourselves as children of the King and just as worthy as anyone.
Once we do that we will recognize that God is the biggest and best of all.
If you are a believer in the Trinity, a Bible reader, and a Christian, just remember and put into practice these eight factors; then God will grant you that peace that rubs off the rough edges of your raw deal. He will seal the holes in our boats and we will no longer have to fear drowning in despair. Another quote I like goes like this, “If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat.” Take that step of faith if you feel that calling from the Lord.
Among the papers where I found these notes, I also came across a verse of scripture that I have never used; I do feel, however, the Lord telling me this is the right place so here goes (1 Peter 5:10) Adversity eventually ends: “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”