How do we live in peace when our world seems turned upside down? We may sense deep desperation due to financial instability, marital struggles, a difficult health diagnosis, or the death of a loved one—just to name a few challenges. Our hearts are racing. We’re anxious as our world spins beyond our control. We want to live in peace but instead are suffocating in our own worry and fear. But there’s good news. We have a choice to find God’s peace—the kind that doesn’t fall to pieces in the face of the unknown.
During these days of COVID-19 and stressful news, we know one thing for sure: We are not in charge! As we wrestle with this idea, we have a significant choice to make. We can choose to look for security in people and in our circumstances. Or, we can choose to find solid ground in the only One who never changes (Hebrews 13:8). Ultimately, we must tether our peace of mind to the character of God—not to our circumstances, other people, or the news!
So how do we do this? Here are a few tips to keep your heart focused on solid ground.
1. Start each day with truth from God’s Word. When we start scrolling through social media or filling our minds with news, it’s easy to start feeling worried and anxious about the uncertainty around us. Instead, we can start our day with never-changing, life-giving truth. And don’t just read it. Memorize it! Whenever those anxious thoughts start creeping in, replace them with the truth of Scripture.
2. Align yourself with an eternal perspective. As Pastor Robert Madu reminded us, “Worry is often the byproduct of asking the wrong questions.” In the middle of unrest and uncertainty, it’s easy to fixate on the problems around us. But we don’t have to carry the weight of our worries alone. When we come before God, we can surrender our worries and gain a new perspective. Remember that His ways are higher than ours (Isaiah 55:9), so we can replace our temporary worries with a confident future hope.
3. Do what you can do and trust God with what you can’t do. Sometimes, God calls us to act and to be a part of the solution to the prayers we pray. Other times, we’re called to simply surrender our worries to the only One who can fully handle them. So don’t spiral downward by thinking about all the things you can’t do. Take action on what you can take action on, then trust God with the rest.
4. Choose to be an instrument of love. In stressful seasons, it’s not always easy to live in peace with others. People may have conflicting opinions or views, but that doesn’t change our calling to love everyone as Christ loves them. So choose to spread love and bring light. Meditate on 1 Corinthians 13 as your words to live by—especially when life gets tough.
5. Open your eyes and look for God’s handprint in each of your days. Pastor Craig has often said that you’ll find what you look for. If you’re looking for reasons to worry, you’ll easily find them. But, if you look for ways God is at work, you’ll find those, too. Reflect on all of the blessings you see each day and thank God for them.
6. Limit the news and negative input. There’s a balance between being informed and being overwhelmed. While it’s great to stay in the know about current events and to hear from different perspectives, it’s wise to limit the quantity of negative talk you ingest.
7. Start a gratitude journal. Philippians 4:6-9 has incredible wisdom about navigating worry, fear, and anxiety. One of the solutions to worry is focusing on what is praiseworthy. So now is a great time to start a gratitude journal. Think about all the things you’re thankful for, and praise God for them. This simple act of obedience can yield huge results!
8. Take responsibility for your mental health. We know that prayer, gratitude, Scripture, worship, serving, and going to church are great ways to improve your mental health. But they aren’t the only options. Take inventory of your emotions. How are you doing—really? Maybe it’s time for you to get vulnerable with the people in your LifeGroup. Maybe it’s time to seek out a professional counselor. You can’t be healthy for others unless you’re healthy yourself. Don’t blame the circumstances around you for the lack of peace inside you. Choose to prioritize your mental health by taking the next appropriate steps for you.
9. Worship as a way to refocus. Choosing to praise God is vital in bringing us victory now and in the days ahead. He inhabits the praise of His people (see Psalm 22:3), so if you’ve been feeling discouraged or overwhelmed, worship Him anyway. You just might find that it lifts your spirit.
You can live in peace even when life gets tough. Choose to anchor your soul to His promises and His truths. This is your solid ground in a shaky world. The choice is yours. Don’t wait another minute. Your peace of mind is worth the effort.