Tag Archives: writing

Peace is a Matter of Perspective

When a mind is stayed on the Lord, peace is ours. That’s what the topic of the panel discussion was at Leadership Training that morning. Let me be perfectly frank: I’m not a big fan of panel discussions. I’ve been to many conventions and conferences. It is extremely rare I come away with great insight from a panel discussion. Whenever one is on the agenda, I tend to hit the snooze button. This one was different.

It wasn’t so much of a discussion as it was 5-minute talks by 5 different women explaining on how they found peace in their lives. They each had a unique story to tell and that’s what caught my attention. Good stories have the ability to transform hearts, stimulate imagination and inspire people. Stories ask questions and inspire conversations. Stories entertain us and make us laugh. More importantly stories open our minds to ideas that might be unfamiliar to us.

But there was one woman whose story grabbed me so much I want to share her wisdom.

Each of us has over 50,000 automatic thoughts each day. If we let negativity creep into those automatic thoughts, we’ll never have peace. So, we must be careful our thoughts uplift and encourage us. She had a simple, daily 5-step process to accomplish this. The steps are hers, the verbiage is mine.

  1. Each morning say a quick surrender prayer to God. Do this before sunriseyou even get out of bed or kneel beside your bed as soon as you get out of it. Lift up the day to God, surrendering all you will do to Him. Remind yourself of God’s promises to protect you, to use you for His glory and to always be with you as you move throughout your day. Every great victory begins with prayer.
  2. Write down gratitudes every day. Researchers have found if you scan for positive things in your life, your brain trains itself to see even more.  Sometimes we get entangled in bad habits, destructive behaviors and fear. But if we turn into God with an attitude of gratitude, He can wash away our wounds.
  3. Journal right. Many of my friends are not into journaling. I love it because it helps me experience the freedom and healing that only comes from being reconciled to God. Make it easy: just expand on your gratitudes. When I quiet myself to write down what makes me thankful, I turn to God, who is reaching out to heal me. Jesus is the One who give us strength. Don’t ever get caught in the trap of turning away from God. If you aren’t the type to put pen to paper, spend time every day thinking and meditating on all the wonderful ways God showed you His love.
  4. Complete a daily act of kindness. We can assure a brighter future by practicing profound kindness. There are times, often in the face of no easy solutions, when we restore each other with the strength of our kindness. This act need not be large or daunting; it can be just a simple as sending out a short text complimenting a friend. Start practicing: say ‘thank you’ to as many people as you can today, hand out as many compliments as you can, maybe even wave at as many truck drivers you see today.
  5. Movement – Each day, get your body into motion. It will enliven your spirit and replenish your heart. It could be taking a walk to soak in the beauty of nature or something even smaller like hugging someone who wouldn’t expect it.

Peace grows in our hearts when we share our love with others with our eyes locked on Jesus. The world may be divisive and seek to destroy our peace, but what changes our world is sharing and giving away His amazing grace. We get more peace when we spread it through our love.

The world can wear you down, even on good days. Yet, peace is not only possible, it is available in abundance through Christ. Learn to be so intimate with Christ, people will want to imitate you.  Peace only comes when a mind stays focused on God.


pile-of-lettersI have a gift, or so I have been told. Mine is to encourage and uplift people through cards and letters – the written word. Not a text or an email, not ethereal words on a screen. But something tangible; something you can hold in your hand, read and re-read to your heart’s content. Something stable, permanent…a message so timeless you can save it to bring out on days when you need a reminder someone cares. I don’t think of this letter writing as much of a gift since I’ve been doing it almost my entire life. Little did I know that what I started doing in grammar school would become a signature talent.

The moment I discovered this gift is still crystal clear. I was probably eleven at the time and I felt this energy inside of me bursting forth. The understanding of knowing I was beloved by God was growing – beating strong in my heart. Since God is love, I desperately wanted to share His love with someone. But not to just anyone; no, my message had to touch a heart that was broken, because even though I was young, I’d experienced the sorrow of the brokenhearted. With childlike innocence, I wanted someone else to know, like I was just beginning to realize, that God loves unconditionally, that our value is measured solely by Him and not how the world may treat us.

And so on that summer’s day, I gathered some stationery, sat on the picnic bench on our patio and wrote a letter to a soldier fighting half a world away in the jungle, far from family and friends, who needed someone to shout over the bullets, “You are beloved of God. He sees you. You are not alone. He is love, so every day you are surrounded by Love.”

When we become a Christian, each of us is given a spiritual gift. It may be creative like mine, or a teaching gift, maybe shepherding one. We dishonor God when we fail to utilize those gifts, to sharpen them by pouring them out to His children.

Sometimes the pain in my life rose to the point where putting pen to paper became difficult; when I bitterly thought I needed the words more than the recipient of my message. But I learned during those dark times that God uses our pain and our brokenness to rescue others and in the process, Heaven bends down and gently, tenderly rescues us.

Whatever your gifts are, God placed them in you so you would experience God’s unlimited goodness. His unending love encourages you to give away every bit of what you have received. When you do, He will give you more…infinitely more. Ephesians 3:20 says, Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us. (NIV)

I’ve learned when I’m discouraged and afraid, when I who loves words finds the pain so sharp the words don’t come; if I remain obedient to Him and use my gift, He multiplies my attempts and fills me with more hope. Hear it from me, one whose heart has known the agony of brokenness: if I do not ignore His gift, He will always fill me with His goodness when I use it.

If your pain is stopping you from using your gift, embrace your brokenness. Let it make you brave. There isn’t a loss on earth that can ever rob you of the riches our Lord has saved for you in Him. Then, in faith, in obedience, step out and use your gift. Honor the giver by sharpening and sharing it. Pour it out on the world and experience Him filling you up again with His love.


Today, I am participating in a fun Friday exercise called “Five Minute Friday.”  Every Friday blogger Lisa Jo Baker posts a word and writers are encouraged to spend five minutes writing a short focused post on that word, no worries of perfection or what others think or how it sounds, just what comes to mind. This week’s word was “Mighty.” I hope you are encouraged by my words on the subject.

Did you know the average adult has 60,000 thoughts each day? An even more striking statistic is sunrisethat 85% of those thoughts are negative ones about ourselves! Which means around 50,000 times a day we tell ourselves we’re not good enough, we’re not beautiful enough, we don’t have the talent to compete! And in the process, we get stuck in a cycle of self-deprecation and self-loathing.

The truth is while we are all products of our pasts, we are not prisoners of it. You can choose what you think about each day. You can made good choices. You can become Christ’s light in a fallen world. Since we are made in God’s image, His mighty love means we can move against our fears, be released from our past and do amazing things because of His strength.

You may think you are facing a wall. But on the other side of that wall is your future. And it can be astounding if you place it in the hands of a loving God. Because the most amazing thing you can do is be obedient to God.

God does not define you by your failures. God does not want you stuck in the mire of regret. And His is the only opinion that matters! “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.” Zephaniah 3:17

Challenge yourself each day to know Jesus intimately. He will transform you. He will build a new life with you. Your identity is in God. And there is no limit to what a man or woman can do for the glory of God.