Focus: Cultivating an atmosphere of peace
John 14:27 (NKJV) Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
Jesus didn’t say, “Stress I leave with you, Stress I give to you; just like the world gives do I give to you. Let your heart be troubled, and also let it be afraid.” So, why do we think it’s our responsibility to cultivate the opposite of what He intended for us to have?
Choosing peace instead of stress should be a no brainer, right? But sometimes when we’re faced with an overwhelming amount of reasons to choose stress—we have to remind ourselves that there are other options.
My husband and I have a plan that we’re working on together. Our plan has the potential of bringing us freedom and some rest from our labor, eventually.
For years, we were caught up in the ‘hands on’ period of being ‘married with children’. There was so much to do and so many needs to be attended to, that we rarely had time to even think of a future for ourselves at all, much less make plans. During those years, it seemed to us that the most important thing was to give our children a nice big home where they could have plenty of room to ‘stretch out’ or have friends over when they wanted to.
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When we planned our home, we imagined the birthday parties and sleepovers and school projects and tried to create a home that would be perfect for all of those activities. There was a considerable amount of stress during the 18 months or so that it took to put it all together with engineering, permitting, and building—but we got there, and we had a lot of years of enjoyment in our home.
With the girls grown up, we’d been dreaming of a smaller home that would be more practical and easier to maintain. A few months ago, we found a place that really appealed to us, and for the past couple of weeks we’ve been ‘almost ready’ to close on the property. Everyday, it seems like they want ‘one more piece of information’, and we always think, ‘Well there, now we can close!’ Until the next day when there is, ‘just one more thing…’
Today could have been ‘one of those days’ for me. Stress came calling bright and early, after a short night. I was scheduled to work at my ‘day job’, and as I checked my emails before leaving home, there were more requests for information. I was thankful that I could pull everything together by only taking an extra half hour off, in addition to my lunch hour—but the hard part about it was that I really didn’t get a break all day.
In the afternoon, I was out on the road finishing up the errands I’d been doing for my boss and dropping off more paperwork for our closing. While I was driving back to the office, I noticed that my chest felt tight and realized I wasn’t breathing deeply enough—besides the headache I’d had since I got up. I’d been talking to God at every opportunity all morning, but I also knew that stress had still crept in. I needed to spend some time praising Him, make some declarations about our situation, and take authority over what was going on with my body.
To prepare myself, I sang a few songs that reminded me of the power of God. Just doing that helped quite a bit. Next, I ‘went over’ my body and spoke declarations of healing and peace, by naming every organ I could think of, and then I prayed for my joints, muscles, cells and tissues. I continued by pleading the blood of Jesus over my body, mind, and spirit, and I bound the enemy from all evil attacks against my body, mind, and spirit, as well as the closing of our new property. While I was at it, I prayed for all of my family members, claiming divine health and wholeness for all of us, in the Name of Jesus Christ.
I felt a lot better. The tightness in my chest was gone and my breathing seemed better, too. Tonight, I felt myself a little tense after the realtor called and told me there was an issue with the survey that she would be working on in the morning. Additionally, with a tropical storm brewing in the eastern Caribbean, the insurance company informed us that they wouldn’t be able to issue the binder on the new policy for another day or two. Of course I felt irritated and started to feel the stress in my shoulders, so I sat down and did some more deep breathing and reminded myself that God’s will is for us to be at peace. I spent some time listening to some calming, Christian songs about peace and did some stretching with my arms and neck to relieve the tension.
In your life—and mine, there is a daily opportunity to allow stress—or peace to rule our body, mind, and spirit. When we feel ourselves being affected by our circumstances, we need to take time out to deal with it.
Declaration: I will find new strength by actively choosing peace instead of stress. I will apply my faith and practical methods of cultivating a peaceful atmosphere where the Holy Spirit is welcome and able to give me comfort and help.
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All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.