Cultivating a Peaceful Heart

My life has been anything but peaceful the past few weeks. It has been crazy busy as I am helping my mom get moved into a safer environment.

I had forgotten how much there is involved in a move. Especially when it is a move requiring downsizing and there is so much left in the house, so much that still needs attention.

Even so, I do not want to lose sight of recalibrating life. I need to constantly cultivate peace in my heart despite the chaos in my life. Have you been there?

Peace is such a beautiful word and such a tranquil feeling. But where can you find it? How can you live in a state of tranquility?

Colossians 3:15 says: “Let the peace of Christ control your hearts, for you were, in fact, called to it in one body.”

When life gets overwhelming, and your heart grows anxious, and fretful words stream from your lips, you soon recognize need for peace within.

Anxiety, worry, and overwhelm scream fretful words in our heads. “You’ll never get done.” “There is too much to do.” This is impossible.”

God’s Word tells us not to be anxious about anything. Instead, pray. Offer up your requests. Give thanks. And then God’s peace comes. “The peace that passes all understanding.” It makes absolutely no sense to our human minds. But this peace fills our hearts and minds, it stands guard. These are the truths of Philippians 4:6-7.

Peace also is given as we keep our minds “stayed” on the Lord (Isaiah 26:3). Perfect peace is promised. My mind is often like a bouncing ball, rambling about from one place to another. My mind needs to instead be like a tether ball, attached to the Lord, like the rope that holds the ball to the pole. When I focus my mind on Him, Who He is, and what He is able to do, as well as all He has done, new peace fills me. Feeding on His faithfulness, remembering His goodness, these can bring great peace to our hearts. My heart and mind need His perfect peace to help me find rest.

Psalm 29:11 tells us that “The Lord gives strength to His people, He blesses them with perfect peace.” What encouraging words when you are feeling weak and overwhelmed. When your body feels weak and exhausted from too much work, and your mind cannot fathom how it will all get done, the Lord promises strength and peace. He meets us in those impossible places, renewing our strength, somehow replenishing our depleted energy, and filling us with peace to calm, which in turn renews our hope.

It is too easy to fall back into the old pattern of needing to control everything and feel responsible for it all. Peace is not a by-product of a life trying to keep it all under control. Be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10)! But in walking the path toward recalibrating life, I need to remember to let go of control, and learn deeper trust in the One Who truly is in control, that is where true peace is found!

So with aching muscles from lifting, packing, and unpacking…with a tired mind from five hours of driving almost daily for about a week, I find rest. Not because the work is done, but because I know I am not alone in the doing. The Lord continues to faithfully provide. He knows my weariness and He touches me with His love in sweet and unexpected ways. My husband heating up dinner, Mom’s neighbor offering to rake up all of the leaves that have fallen. Another neighbor promising to get the mail, take care of the garbage and recycle containers, as well as cleaning up any snow that may come. And then there is the Christian realtor who has access to many other helpful resources. The Lord never ceases to amaze me with His goodness and loving-kindness. His mercies really are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).

He knows my overwhelm, He knows my worries, He knows my neediness, and He has it all under control. He is able (Ephesians 3:20)! His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9)! He meets, He supplies my needs “according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).

His peace is real, and I find rest in the hope of its constant availability. He is present with us through all of life. Pray. Keep your mind stayed on Him. Remember His faithfulness. Look at how He has been at work. Your heart can know peace in the midst of anxiety and overwhelm. He only wants us to whisper a prayer, tell Him our need.

Cultivating peace means the need to weed out worry, and choosing to focus on Him.

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2017 Scripture Verse

I decided to choose a Scripture verse for 2017. I have not done this in past year. I am looking at it as something to hold tight to when life seems uncertain, for our world is surely filled with much unpredictability.

I realized as I reviewed 2016 that I lacked contentment during the course of the year. My heart was lacking peace and joy necessary to worship as I desired. I seemed to often be searching for hope in my heart amidst disappointment. The verse I chose speaks specifically to that.

I chose Romans 15:13 “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope in the power of the Holy Spirit.”

This verse speaks of all I feel needy for in my life; joy, peace, and hope. I will use the words of this verse as a personal prayer throughout the year and watch with expectation to see what the Lord will do. It is so exciting and so faith-building to watch the Lord at work. 

The verse seems to say to me that as I believe my God, who is my Hope, He will fill me with joy and peace. My hope needs to rest in the power of the Holy Spirit. It doesn’t mean that I just have hope as the world knows it, but to really abound in hope, fully confident in the Holy Spirit’s perfect power, It isn’t just the verbal acknowledgement of faith. It isn’t merely head-knowledge. But it means to truly live a life that demonstrates that trust and belief, moment by moment, through the good and bad times.

God’s Word is filled with promises. He desires to touch us with His love and compassion. He wants us to be secure in knowing we can trust Him “even though” the earth shakes and the mountains fall into the sea, even though there is no crop in the field, even though there are no grapes on the vine, even though… (you fill in the blank). Habakkuk and the Psalmist had many even though’s to speak of, many worries and fears. But they knew that our circumstances do not change God. He is always faithful. He is always present. Our contentment lies fully in knowing the assurance of His perfect one and the satisfaction we can find in Him alone.

His Word is here for us. He knows the neediness of our hearts and lives. I believe that He loves nothing more than to hear His children pray His Word to Him, voicing their neediness. Acknowledging their dependence on Him. He knows exactly what we need each and every hour. He wants to meet us in life with His loving presence and be our help.

He gave us His Word as a love letter to us, to enrich our lives and encourage our hearts. Take time today to find all that you need in Him. Is there a verse that speaks to your heart’s core need? Write it down, and pray it each day. Together let’s look expectantly at what God is going to do in our lives in 2017.