One Step to True Peace

If there was one thing you could do to have more peace in your life, would you do it? Think about this for a moment – one thing you could do.

Everyone has trials and troubles. That, my friends, is what we call life. Challenges will always be with us. The key is to how we deal with the challenges. People often wonder why so many things go wrong in their lives. We scratch our heads and wonder in astonishment why things have gone awry. This is when I have to take a step back and ask myself the question “What is really going on here?”

We all want to have more peace in our lives. We want things to run smoothly and to achieve our dreams and goals. We want to be happy and have a rich and abundant life.
It is possible if we are sure to do this one simple step. It’s funny, because most of what we need to do to have a good life is very simple. The very first thing we need to do is to start doing the right thing. I’m not talking about the right thing in a moral sense here, although, doing something immoral is definitely not going to bring us peace. I’m talking about doing the right thing in regards to our values and goals.

Let me give you an example. Say you are all upset about your weight. When you get up in the morning, you hate what you see in the mirror. You do not have peace about what you look like. At the office, someone brings in donuts. What action will give you peace? Eating a donut or passing on the donuts? Pass on the donuts because you want to lose weight. You will feel not only a sense of peace, but a sense of mastery and power. You resisted the temptation. Get the idea? Here’s another example. You’ve had a good dinner. It’s a nice evening outside. You can a) plop yourself down in front of the boob tube or b) go for an after dinner walk and help your system burn off some of those calories. Did you know you burn more calories the 20 minutes right after eating? These choices are in line with your values and goals i.e. to lose weight. When we act in alignment with our values and goals, we have more peace in our spirits. This applies to other areas of our lives as well.

Same thing goes with financial peace. Thousands of Americans are in debt because they can’t control their spending. They “need” to have the latest technology, electronic gadget, newest car, bigger house, etc. They feel an inner compulsion to keep up with what “other people” are doing. But they know deep down inside they really can’t afford any of them nor do they really and truly need them. So a new smart phone comes out in the market. Their smart phone works just fine. What do they do next time they are at Best Buy? They buy a new smart phone. Now is this action going to bring them peace in the long term? Their goal is to get out of debt, but their actions are not in line with their values. So no, they are not doing “the right thing” and this choice will not bring them peace.

Do you get the concept here? So much of the stress in our lives can be eliminated if we would simply do the right thing. Act in accordance with our values, dreams,and goals. Don’t allow ourselves to be swayed by others, the media, or advertising. Know what it is we value and want in our lives and then practice saying “NO” to any action, person, or activity that does not fit into the picture. Says author Anne Lamott, “No” is a complete sentence. It is also a very powerful tool in maintaining peace in our lives. Say no to the donut, no to the purchase, no to the event or activity that you really don’t have the desire or the time to attend anyway.

If we will begin to implement this one simple step – doing the right thing – we will find more peace because we will be saying “Yes” to what it is we really and truly want in our lives. We will be living more in congruence with our values and our decisions will become easier. A tip is to ask ourselves this question: “Is this the right thing for me?” If the answer is a sincere “Yes”, we are good to go.

I hope you have enjoyed this post. If you have any comments or feedback, I would love to hear from you so please post them. Until next time, just do the next right thing and keep looking up!

Ariel

Choose Peace and Find Favor

I hate getting lost. It doesn’t happen often but when it does, I know I’m in for a test. It seems like it happens when I’m in a hurry to get someplace. You know the feeling, I’m sure.

It was a Friday night and my son, Jon, and I were out celebrating his 30th birthday. We had just finished a lovely meal at a Spanish restaurant in Houston and were headed to a dance studio to take a salsa lesson at 9 pm. We had less than 30 minutes to get there. On the way to the car after dinner, I started to get excited about the evening. It would be the first dance lesson my son has had and perhaps I was more excited than he. I had found a coupon for free entry if we arrived before 9:30.

“This is going to be so much fun!” I exclaimed as I settled into his new Nissan with the homemade birthday cake on my lap.

Now, Houston is not exactly the easiest place to get around. The city is huge and so are the highways. Jon plugged in the address of the studio into his trusty GPS and waited. And waited. And waited. No response.

“I know where this place is,” he announced and pulled out of the parking spot.

“We’re looking for 59 north,” he said.

As we headed out of the city, it seemed we were going into nowhereland.

“I don’t see any signs for 59 north,” I said. After circling the side roads, we eventually hit a dead end. Jon’s tone was becoming firmer and the tension in the air was thickening by the minute.

“Doesn’t look like we’re going to make the lesson, so we might as well go home,” he announced. It was like someone stuck a pin in my balloon of anticipation and excitement.

“Ok, if that’s what you want to do,” I surrendered.

Then Jon says: “I think the enemy is trying to get us into a fight to ruin the evening. But he’s not going to get his way. Forget this GPS. I think I know how to get us there,” Jon stated with a renewed sense of determination. My hopes started to rise again as he found the way to a highway.

It was 9:20 when we pulled into the parking lot of the studio.

“Let’s take a few breaths,” Jon said and we both sat in silence for a few minutes collecting ourselves.

Peace must be fought for.

We knew we had avoided a close call and we both accepted that fact that we had missed the lesson.

“At least we made it in time to get in free,” I offered.

We stepped into the studio. The place was hopping with activity.

“I guess the lesson is over,” I said to the gal checking us in at the door.

“No, as a matter of fact, it is going to start in 5 minutes.”

Jon and I looked at each other in amazement. We both knew what had happened.

“That’s God’s favor,” Jon says quietly. “Because we didn’t get into an argument in the car,”.

I was grateful for both the unexpected blessing of the dance lesson and for the fact that Jon was so wise to have learned this lesson so young. It had taken me years to realize this.

So, next time you find yourself in a tense situation that is out of your control, remember to defuse it by surrendering. When we choose peace instead of conflict, we not only save our energy and our spirits, but God smiles upon us with favor.

Love to hear your feedback on this adventure and until next time, keep looking up!

Ariel

A Christmas Poem for You

Twas the month of December and all through the house, the women were hurrying and bustling about. There is shopping, and cooking and decorating the tree. Oh, my goodness, will I ever have time for me?

Tis the season to be jolly it is said, but with these extra activities, I just plop into bed. So much to be done, so little time left. Visions of gifts and deadlines swirl in my head.

But what to my wondering eyes should appear, but an angel of peace beckoning me near. “Come now, my child, sit at my feet. Dwelling in my presence is so very sweet. Do not be afraid, all will get done for God has sent you his own precious Son.”

The true gifts of Christmas are hope, peace and joy, the angels proclaimed to the shepherd boy. Let me be like Mary, so calm and so mild. Her focus instead on the new born Christ child.

O Lord, forgive me I am such a sheep. I pray for my family in your protection to keep. It’s not the glitter or the red velvet bows, but the peace & love within my spirit that his glory shows.

Enjoy this season. Take time to relax and have fun. God loves us so much He gave us His Son.

Until next time, keep looking up!

Connection, Addiction, and the Sensitive Soul

Russell BrandToday on Oprah radio, I heard a short part of a dialogue between Russell Brand and Oprah. Russell Brand is a British comedian who was briefly married to the pop music star, Katy Perry. Oprah asked the question if one can ever get over an addiction like to drugs or sex and Russell made a statement that really got me to thinking. It went something like this.

“Addicts are usually very sensitive people who realize they are not connected spiritually and are looking for that feeling from the addictive substance or behavior.”

Never thought of it that way. Kind of puts a different spin on the whole addiction thing. Most of us have had experience with an addict or an addiction, or know someone who does, true? They are usually very loveable, attractive, seductive, and charming personalities. They make you laugh and they make you cry. But deep down inside, like so many of us, they are hurting and they usually don’t know why. So they seek solace and connection in something or someone that temporarily comforts their souls.

Some choose alcohol. Others choose smoking, drugs, food, gambling, sex, work, exercise, approval. The list goes on and on. In fact, anything done to excess can be an addiction. And that includes relationships as well. Nothing, not even a relationship, is meant to be a substitute for God.

We all have a spiritual need, a void, a hunger deep down inside. God made us that way; to long for connection. We try and fill this need with so many different things, but only one person will truly fulfill that desire and He is God. Sooner or later most of us come to this realization, usually after we hit rock bottom in some or many areas of our lives. Even the wisest man on earth, King Solomon, came to this conclusion when he said:

“Meaningless! Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless!” (Ecclesiastes 1:2).

Is there anything in your life that you need to feel fulfilled? Whole? At peace? The first step is to realize we are all made the same and we all have the same need. We have all been hurt but God wants us to be healed and whole. As I say in my book, “When we are ready to meet God, He is ready to meet us.” Are you ready?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post so write me back and until next time, keep looking up!

The Christmas Dash

Thanksgiving is over and now it’s on to the Christmas dash. Yeah, that’s what it seems like for many – a dash to the finish line only to collapse at the end after it’s all over. But it can be different this year.

Imagine this scene for a moment: a couple and their child gather together, encircled by strangers and animals, in a land of persecution and poverty. Yet, the family is at peace. There is no hustle and bustle. There is no stress, no fear, no uncertainty. This family has learned that the greatest gift of all is Love.

They have each other and their precious new born son. Despite the harsh conditions, the lack of shelter, and being far from family and loved ones, there is a peace that surpasses all understanding because they are surrounded by Love.

Just as you and I are surrounded by Love. We may not always feel it, but Love is so much more than a feeling. Love is a knowing. Love is a presence. Love is a gift from above that embraces us every minute of every day.

When the pace gets frenetic and the burdens of this life seem overwhelming, I know the answer is not to slow down, but to stop completely, to be still and to reconnect with the presence of God. He is my rest and my refreshment. He is my peace and my joy and He wants nothing more from me than to make time to be with Him.

It will all get done. It always does. He sees to that. So I ask you, friend, will you enjoy the presence of the Holy One this season? Will you make this holiday a little more peaceful and a little less stressful on yourself? It can be done, truly. It is simply a choice. And it starts with remembering that you are surrounded by Love.

Until next time, keep looking up!

Peace on Earth

This is the last sunday of Advent and the focus is on the gift of peace. Picture for a moment the manger scene. A young mother holding her tiny baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. She knows not what the future holds for her precious child, yet she knows that God is with her. Wise men have traveled from afar to worship the child bring expensive gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The gifts symbolize kingship, priesthood, and burial; all tidings of the future of this child.

Shepherds gather in awe at the star in the Bethlehem sky and wonder what magnificent event could be happening. Amidst the clamor and hustle and bustle of the citizens rushing to their hometown for the census, and fears of the Roman rule under the evil King Herod, Jesus brings peace to a manger in the small town of Bethlehem.

So too, amidst the clamor and hustle and bustle of the Christmas rush, the ups and downs of the stock market, and the uncertainty of the times, Jesus still brings peace to us. He promised to give us peace. “Peace I leave unto you, my peace I give to you, not as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled neither be afraid.” (John 14:27)

Look not to the things of this world for peace, for true peace can only come from above. This Christmas, will you trust in Jesus and receive His precious gift of peace?

Peace on Earth

This is the last sunday of Advent and the focus is on the gift of peace. Picture for a moment the manger scene. A young mother holding her tiny baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. She knows not what the future holds for her precious child, yet she knows that God is with her. Wise men have traveled from afar to worship the child bring expensive gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. The gifts symbolize kingship, priesthood, and burial; all tidings of the future of this child.

Shepherds gather in awe at the star in the Bethlehem sky and wonder what magnificent event could be happening. Amidst the clamor and hustle and bustle of the citizens rushing to their hometown for the census, and fears of the Roman rule under the evil King Herod, Jesus brings peace to a manger in the small town of Bethlehem.

So too, amidst the clamor and hustle and bustle of the Christmas rush, the ups and downs of the stock market, and the uncertainty of the times, Jesus still brings peace to us. He promised to give us peace. “Peace I leave unto you, my peace I give to you, not as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled neither be afraid.” (John 14:27)

Look not to the things of this world for peace, for true peace can only come from above. This Christmas, will you trust in Jesus and receive His precious gift of peace?

Letting Go of My Kids

Ah, so much has been written about letting go. For me, as a single parent, it’s a never ending process. As each child celebrates another birthday, I realize I need to let go even more.

Next week is my oldest son’s 27th birthday. I can’t even believe it myself. He just got a new job, has a girlfriend, and is going to grad school. I should be very happy, right? And I am, for him. Problem is mine. I want to have more interaction with him, more conversation, more visits. I’ve asked, believe me. I’ve even tried the guilt trip thing – the “I’m all by myself and I need help” routine. That didn’t work either. He just gets defensive and distances even more.

So, I guess it’s time to let go some more. Make plans to celebrate the holiday with friends or throw a party at my house. Anybody got any ideas on how to let go of your kids? I’m open for suggestions 🙂

Jesus said to not cling too tightly to loved ones and to follow Him, and that’s what it’s all about anyway, isn’t it? Having the peace that surpasses all understanding. Today, what do you need to let go of, dear one? What is stealing your peace? Let go and let God, and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Letting Go of My Kids

Ah, so much has been written about letting go. For me, as a single parent, it’s a never ending process. As each child celebrates another birthday, I realize I need to let go even more.

Next week is my oldest son’s 27th birthday. I can’t even believe it myself. He just got a new job, has a girlfriend, and is going to grad school. I should be very happy, right? And I am, for him. Problem is mine. I want to have more interaction with him, more conversation, more visits. I’ve asked, believe me. I’ve even tried the guilt trip thing – the “I’m all by myself and I need help” routine. That didn’t work either. He just gets defensive and distances even more.

So, I guess it’s time to let go some more. Make plans to celebrate the holiday with friends or throw a party at my house. Anybody got any ideas on how to let go of your kids? I’m open for suggestions 🙂

Jesus said to not cling too tightly to loved ones and to follow Him, and that’s what it’s all about anyway, isn’t it? Having the peace that surpasses all understanding. Today, what do you need to let go of, dear one? What is stealing your peace? Let go and let God, and He will give you the desires of your heart.

A Different Perspective

Sometimes we see people and situations in a certain way that keeps us stuck, unhappy, and unable to move forward in our lives. We are too emotionally enmeshed; perhaps with our children, our partner, or our parents.

I have found it helpful in these cases to talk to other people and get a different perspective. Our perspective is only that – “our” perspective. It is not necessarily the reality of the situation because we see people and situations through our own experiences, hurts, and fears and this can blind us to what is really going on.

Sometimes what I think is the loving thing to do, is not really the loving thing to do. Sometimes I have to employ “tough love”. Sometimes I have to detach for a while. Sometimes I have to “let go and let God”. It is all part of realizing that I am still growing and still have a lot to learn in this life. If I am open to talking to others, I can receive new input that helps me process things in a better and healthier way.

What is it that you need to take a different perspective on? A clue might be what situation or person in your life is causing you grief and anxiety. Try a different perspective and be at peace.