Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the PEACE of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. [emphasis added]
For the last couple of years, I’ve noticed friends of mine using different words as their “theme” for the coming year. I’ve seen Joy, Love, Kindness, etc., and I’ve found it incredibly intriguing. I tried to do it last year, but it didn’t stick. This year, I’m committed to actually using my word as a theme.
During the Christmas season, I thought and prayed fervently that the Lord would show me what He would have me work on in this coming year. As I listened, one word came to mind repeatedly: Peace.
Yep, that’s definitely something I need (and want) to work on.
Peace doesn’t come easily for me. Between my natural tendency toward anxiety and how unpredictable my health has been recently, my mind has been filled with anything but peace. The idea of having a peace-filled life is like a breath of fresh air. I crave peace.
So, instead of making New Year’s resolutions that would likely end in two weeks (it’s totally true, especially for me. I’m horrible at keeping resolutions), I am committing to living by this one word throughout my year. This theme will most certainly pop up in different blog posts over the coming months. I’m hoping to write at least one a week on this topic, but I can’t commit to that (you all know me way too well to believe that I’d actually stick to a strict blogpost regimen).
Here are different areas of my life in which I’m hoping to display peace this coming year:
Health: As much as I would love to say that peace comes easily for me in regards to my health, it doesn’t. It’s much easier to have peace when things are going smoothly, but when either one of my diseases flares, it becomes difficult not to have anxiety about those things. I know that anxiety in these cases is normal, but I long for peace. I deeply desire to know that the Lord is in control and knows what he’s doing, and no matter what I can know that he is sovereign above all things.
Work: I love my job. My job as a manager for Solid Grounds has been the best job I’ve ever had, and most certainly the least stressful. However, there are definitely times when I have much more anxiety than is necessary. This usually happens in cases where I’ve made a mistake, when there’s conflict, and when I feel like my to-do list is so long that I can’t keep up. I know there are definitely ways I can feel more peace in these situations, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the Lord grows me in this area.
Relationships: Whether it’s my marriage, family, or friends, I inevitably feel anxiety at one point or another in this area. I feel like this one’s going to be a bear to take care of, because through working out how to find peace, I will need to set certain boundaries for myself so I don’t feel stressed or burnt out. I’m horrible at boundaries. I’ll set them, feel super confident about sticking to them, then completely forget them within a few days (and sometimes, within a few hours). I know that boundaries are critical in order for me to feel peace in my relationships, though.
Home: For some reason, I tend to have anxiety when it comes to whether my home is clean, organized, etc. I don’t want that to be the case. I want to strive to take care of my home but also not stress about it if it isn’t always the way I would like it to be. This isn’t a huge part of my anxiety, so I’ll be focusing on other areas before I tackle this one.
The idea of more peace in my life is going to be so beneficial in so many ways. My overall physical health is dependent on this, because all my doctors tell me that stress hugely affects my diseases. It’s crazy how our emotional/mental state can affect us physically, isn’t it? It was certainly hard for people at my last job to understand that -- I tried to have boundaries on when I could and couldn’t work, but instead of feeling supported, I was made to feel like I was just being lazy/unhelpful. Thankfully my job now is almost completely opposite of that, but I often have to battle those emotions because the words/attitudes of my former coworkers cut me to the core.
I know that my walk with Christ will improve dramatically if my level of peace increases -- and vice versa. As I begin trusting him more, peace will rise; and as peace rises, so my relationship with Christ will become stronger. I’m really looking forward to searching Scripture for this theme throughout the year and learning more and more about it.
So here’s my challenge to you -- is there a theme you would like to focus on in this coming year? Do you feel like the Lord is placing something on your heart to work on? If so, please feel free to share in the comments! I would love to walk with you in this and support you in what the Lord is calling you to do.