Simplify To Find Spiritual PeaceNov 22, 2022
Excessive stress is the enemy of good health, and too often the stress in our lives comes from complications of our own creation. Whether it be a hectic schedule that can be pruned back, an unhealthy relationship pattern that can be tweaked or eliminated, or a general problem with thoughts or behaviors or beliefs, we all have areas that can be improved so that our health improves.
Even spiritual matters are often complex monsters of our own creation (or inheritance). We experience disappointing or even damaging interaction with people who call themselves men or women of God, and so we wonder where we can go to find authenticity and compassion. We get confused by all of the different belief systems and denominations out there, so we are tempted to chuck the quest for spiritual peace in favor of apathy or bitterness.
We become frustrated by all of the various texts and rules governing what constitutes an “appropriate” way to approach God and faith, so much like a “weekend mechanic” who has pulled apart his car but can’t make sense of the dozens of parts strewn across the driveway, we simply throw our hands up and say, “I give up! This is all too complicated.”
But there is another way, both in spiritual matters and in life at large. We can simplify.
We can simplify the maddening chatter both from the outside world and from inside our own heads, and we can find a beautiful, simple end result: PEACE. The sort of peace that people in our modern world might have forgotten even existed.
In John 14:27, Jesus tells us,” Peace I leave with you. Peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled, and do not be afraid.”
So, what does the world give us as far as the quest for “peace” goes? Well, it usually offers us never-ending (i.e. exhausting) quests to find momentary “peace” by accumulating money or likes on social media. It tells us that increasing the pace of the day will somehow get us to where we want to be more quickly. The world says that if we drive faster, work faster, make more money, shop faster, click and post faster, then we will somehow find the mental satisfaction and emotional state we desire. But instead, all we find is exhaustion, and somehow that feels like peace for a brief moment.
And then we wake up, have a cup of coffee, and the madness starts all over again. Instead of being centered by an inner peace, our thoughts and behaviors are pulled this way and that by the destructive puppet-masters of anger, lust, envy, self-hatred, greed, and a general spiritual void that we just can’t seem to fill.
However, in the Gospels we’re told of a different way to live and breathe. We’re told of a way that finds sustainable and easy peace. It’s free, and it’s simple.When Jesus says He gives to us in a way that the world doesn’t, He is saying that your daily sense of inner peace doesn’t have to depend on popularity, job titles, bank statements, social media likes, possessions, power, or physical appearance.
The quest to improve our lives is a great thing—it’s nice to get leaner and wealthier and more popular and accomplished—but unless we have a spiritual peace that informs all of the self-improvement efforts and exists as the base for everything else we do, then we’ll never actually feel any better on a regular basis.
So, be okay with simple today. Be okay with the simple thought that you are already worthy because God says you are worthy. Let that spiritual peace overwhelm you and wash through you. Let it serve as the base from which you move forward physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Instead of trying to trying to keep up with those Joneses, instead of trying to please the rest of the world by kowtowing to demands or putting on a disingenuous outward show, simply tell yourself that you are enough and that people ought to like you for who you are or else it doesn’t matter anyway. And aim to be considerate with the outside world rather than in competition with it at all times.
Instead of thinking that you have to wait until you get a bigger house or a newer car or a more esteemed professional title or a different body to feel worthy, tell yourself you are worthy right now. You are worthy because God says you are. Simple.
Accept a simple peace today by releasing the compulsion to overanalyze.
Accept a simple peace today by handing anxieties and yes, even doubts, over to God and saying, “I’m giving this stuff to you and accepting the fact that you are in control and protecting me and my path forward.”
And if you are ever confused or overwhelmed by wondering what the “correct” way of thinking and behaving is for a believer, just remember to simplify things! Remember that Jesus wasn’t big on rules and regulations, but rather He was big on matters of the heart! There is a reason He promoted the importance of “childlike” faith. It is innocent and trusting and doesn’t have the capacity to get lost in matters of intellectual debate that mean little in the big picture of things.
That is a simple faith: One that feels safe and joyful and doesn’t keep asking, “Is it really okay to feel safe and joyful, or am I missing something?”
Simple faith gets out of its own way so that the end result of finding inner peace can finally happen.
Finding a happy life usually isn’t as complicated as we make it out to be, so today remember the power of simplification. And remember that peace is yours, right here, right now.
Happy Thanksgiving week,
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