We Want Peace

“We live in a culture that places a high value on being busy,” writes Rev. Dr. Judy Morley. “We go through life sleep deprived, stressed out and worried that we didn’t finish everything, despite getting more done than was thought humanly possible just a generation ago. We have become human doings instead of human beings.”

It’s no wonder that interest in things like off-grid living, tiny house projects, and container gardening are on the rise. We have succumbed to a spirit of busyness and our inner spirit is growing weary of the chaos. We want solutions. We want relief. We want peace.

But we have it backwards. Our creator says, “Seek first the Kingdom of God” (Divine guidance, hope, faith, inspiration, encouragement, direction), and everything you need will be added to your life. But our priorities have shifted to a predominately materialistic point of view. We seek first everything we think we want or need and then ask God to bless it. Morley says, “We replace diving guidance with frantic action and hope that our effort will produce enough results to compensate for our lack of inspiration.” We have to get out of the spin-cycle before it chokes our soul completely.

One way to do this is to practice lingering. In moments of love, beauty, laughter, etc., don’t rush to check them off your list; linger. Stay in the moment. Allow them to make an impression. As the March 11th entry for the devotional, God Calling, describes, “Look for beauty and joy (intentionally seek) in the world around. Look at a flower until its beauty becomes part of your soul (linger). It will be given back to the world again by you in the form of a smile or a loving word or a kind thought or prayer (paying it forward).” Listen intently to the song of a bird, or the rustling of the leaves on a tree. Take a few extra minutes to gaze at the clouds or the stars. Dip your hand in a stream and experience the water flowing through your fingers.

In these moments, linger, and soak in the Divine creation for it’s incredible power to bless you as you pause. These moments have the ability to shift your mind back towards a simpler life if you will practice them often enough. And they can return you to a state of calm and peace. Otherwise, a life void of these moments will starve the heart and eventually destroys the soul.

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Real Problems

We seem to enjoy having things to complain about. Yet, for most of us, there is far more good in our lives than bad. So why the draw to the negative side? It seems our propensity to complain harkens back thousands and thousands of years to when our ancestors had yet to develop the power of speech. According to writer/minister Will Bowen, “they would cry out or whine (complain) when they perceived a threat. Their expression of alarm rallied the tribe to provide support and protection.” He continues, “complaining is a throwback to an unsafe world. But our chronic complaining perpetuates the lack of safety many people feel now … the average person complains 15 to 30 times per day and yet few lives warrant this much negative commentary.”

Author Gary Fenchuk writes, “The human mind often seems addicted to awfulizing and having troubles, and as soon as any particular problem does get resolved we become obsessed with replacing it with another problem – real or imaginary … there are problems, and there are real problems. The vast majority of us don’t have real problems. Our failure to distinguish between these two and appreciate the difference constitutes a colossal distortion of thinking – which has served effectively to destroy more lives than all the wars and diseases combined.”

To offer some perspective, consider what Eddie Rickenbacker wrote after being adrift on the Pacific ocean for 21 days. “The biggest lesson I’ve learned … was that if you have all the fresh water you want to drink and all the food you want to eat, you ought never complain about anything.”

To counter this nature to complain, best selling author Jon Gordon suggests five things to do instead:
1. Practice Gratitude. Research shows that when we count three blessings a day, we get a measurable boost in happiness that uplifts and energizes us.
2. Praise Others. Instead of complaining about what others are doing wrong, start focusing on what they are doing right.
3. Focus on Success. Start a success journal. Each night before you go to bed, write down the one great thing about your day.
4. Let Go. Focus on the things that you have the power to change, and let go of the things that are beyond your control.
5. Pray. Scientific research shows that daily prayer reduces stress; boosts positive energy; and promotes health, vitality, and longevity.

Each time you feel like complaining about something in your life, look around. Chances are you can always find someone who has it worse than you. Instead of complaining, run through the list above. There’s a good chance by the end, you’ll forget what it was that you were going to complain about anyway. And as Gary Fencheck concludes, “the mere absence of any major problems at present, should be a cause, in and of itself, for euphoria.”

Greg Tutwiler,  www.FreedomLiving.org