Peace is the next fruit I want to discuss. Growing up in the 80s, there was a was pretty popular commercial that featured a bubble bath soap (Calgon). The commercial featured a stressed out woman dealing with a barking dog, crying kids, traffic, a yelling boss, etc. The woman said these four simple words: "Calgon, take me away" and, magically, she was swept away to a luxurious bubble bath with soft music playing in the background. Immediately, her stress was gone! As you can imagine, "Calgon, take me away" became one of the biggest lines of the 80s. I wish reducing stress and creating a sense of peace was as easy as whispering that phrase, but it's not (trust me, I tried it last week in class and it didn't work).
Whether you're a teen or an adult, you have some form of stress in your life. If it's homework, parents, friend drama, relationship issues, financial problems, or some other messed up situation, stress will break you down if you don't deal with it properly. If you don't have any stress now, keep living and you will experience it. So, how can you create a sense of peace in your life and the lives of others? Here are a few tips I've found helpful:
Ask God for peace without being anxious. Philipians 4:6-7 says it this way: "6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Think about the right things. Philipians 4:8 says this: "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things."
Realize what you can and cannot change. The serenity prayer says this: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference." Don't try to do what you can't do and what you can do, do it!
Make good decisions. If you're making terrible decisions expecting to have peace, you're fooling yourself. Also, understand that your decisions can have an effect on the peace and well-being of others (like your family, friends, and other loved ones).
Have some quiet time every day. Some of you are stressed and overwhelmed because you have too much going on and too many responsibilities. That's not necessarily a bad thing but be sure to take a "timeout" every day.
Avoid drama at all costs. That's pretty simple and I don't even need to explain.
Choose peace. Even if someone does you wrong, choosing to be peaceful is taking the high road. Blowing up, losing your mind, or going off on someone may not solve the problem. Keep your cool and don't lose it.
Be careful what you say. I recently heard a saying that goes like this: "keep your words soft and sweet just in case you have to eat them." Sometimes having peace with others means knowing what to say and when to say it.
Again, those are just a few things I find helpful in creating a sense of peace in my life. I hope you find them helpful too.
Written 3/8/2014 by John Weaver