Increase peace, stress less

Peace—that’s one of the nine fruits of the Spirit…img_20161018_173230627 peace

“…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

I’ve been a little low on peace just lately.  And, I know why.  I’ve let the worries of the world stress me out.  You know…politics, war, persecution, crime, and the various opinions about why these realities exist and what we should do about them.

Then, there’s my dad’s declining health, my mom’s caregiving challenges, my work-life balance, and, generally, the busyness of life.

All these important, real-life issues are worthy of my attention and concern.  Yet, recently, I’ve focused on these issues more than I have rested in the truth that God is in control.  The result?  A decrease in peace and an increase in stress and sadness.

Fortunately, God is the great peace-giver!  So, it’s no surprise that He has been reminding me of some important truths about how to increase peace in my life.

First, I need not exhaust myself trying to understand or change things that are out of my control.  My friend Della was God’s messenger of this truth.  (Thanks, Della!)

Second, I do not have to hold back my strongly-held convictions.  I can express my beliefs in kind and compassionate ways and be heard and encouraged by friends, even when we may not agree 100%.  My friend Carla was God’s messenger of this truth. (Thanks, Carla!)

Third, sometimes, I just have to step away from work, turn off the news feeds, play with my family, and have a little talk with Jesus.  Many friends have shared this truth in one way or another, but a couple especially come to mind.  (Thanks, Sandra and Lanie!)

Interestingly, as God has reminded me of His peace-giving truth, I’ve not only experienced increased peace.  I’ve also felt more thankful—thankful for the rest I find in God’s truth and love, and thankful for the stressors that forced me to return my focus to God.

That makes sense.  When I draw closer to God, the evidence of His Spirit—the fruit of the Spirit—in my life is clearer.  In this case, I have more peace!

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

What are you doing to increase peace and stress less in your life?  How is God leading you to focus less on the worries of the world and more on the peace that only He offers?

 

I invite you to join the “Hope to Build On” conversation by posting in the comments section below.  You won’t see your post immediately, as I manually approve each post (this safeguards against spam).  But, I’ll have your comment up shortly.

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For more information, please visit www.shannonwarden.com and follow me @drshannonwarden.

Scripture from the New American Standard Bible

By | 2016-10-21T23:39:34+00:00 October 21st, 2016|Uncategorized|6 Comments

About the Author:

Co-author with @DrGaryChapman (the 5 love languages guy). Teacher @WakeForest. Counselor @TriadBaptist. Wife, mom of 3, daughter, sister, friend. Writer. Encourager. Dreamer behind Repurposed Life Ministries, Inc. Peace-loving. Jesus-seeking.

I hope you’ll subscribe to receive Hope to Build On by email each time I post a new entry. Thanks for reading!

Shannon

6 Comments

  1. Michelle Hailey October 22, 2016 at 11:27 am - Reply

    Such an encouraging message! When I’m stressed, the best way I have found to increase peace is to PRAISE. Praise our God for being the ultimate controller of all things. Praise Him for His power to work ALL THINGS, even heart-wrenching, difficult to face situations, out for my good because I love Him and am called according to His purposes, Rom. 8:28. Praise Him for working in our lives, even when we don’t sense Him there. Praise, Praise, Praise. He inhabits the praises of His people, and where He is, there is peace.

    • Shannon Warden October 22, 2016 at 12:39 pm - Reply

      That’s good stuff, Michelle, thank you! We all praise, or worship, someone or something. God designed us to worship Him. When we get that right…praising God, the Creator, it really does become so much easier to focus less on the worries of the world. See you tomorrow, friend!

  2. Jessie October 23, 2016 at 1:25 am - Reply

    What a great and timely reminder, at least it was for me. It is so easy to get caught up in all the things we have going on. It seems the busier we are, the faster things move, and the harder we try to keep up. However, what we really need is to slow down and reconnect. To reconnect through breathing, prayer, and gratitude. This is what works for me.

    I am reminded of Luke 10:39-42 “She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
    “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

    • Shannon Warden October 23, 2016 at 1:34 am - Reply

      One of my personal favorite passages, Jessie! I want to be a Mary, but at best, I usually am a Mary Martha! 😉 There is so much cool stuff to do in our time on Earth, and yet, the key to balance seems to be waiting on the Lord. I re-learn this lesson daily! I guess you could say, I’m a lifelong re-learner! Thanks for sharing!! And you’re right…breathing, prayer, gratitude…great ingredients for peace!!

  3. Della October 24, 2016 at 12:54 pm - Reply

    Wow, my first blog comment EVER is happening right now, however I feel compelled to do so because of the great blessing God has given to my life through Shannon. It’s tempting to give all your energy and care to one or two that are not yet in a place to benefit from it, while there are thousands more who are hungry, some starving to their spiritual deaths, for the cord of hope you offer with your counsel and ministry. So, to Shannon, and all of us, only strive to be more of yourself. This is the greatest gift you can give to yourself and the rest of the world.
    You are appreciated, my friend

    • Shannon Warden October 25, 2016 at 12:57 am - Reply

      Della, you are a blessing to me! Thanks for your encouragement!! I’ve heard your words several times in my mind, “Shannon, don’t exhaust yourself…” That was and is good counsel to me!! Isn’t that great…how God sends us the encouraging word we need just when we need it most!! I so appreciate you and your commitment to growing in your relationships, including in your relationship with God! And, congratulations on your first ever blog post!! I’ll hope to hear from you again!!–Shannon

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