By now you have assembled all the toys. You've managed to keep the kids in bed until a reasonable hour. Presents have been opened. There's wrapping paper, bows and ribbon on the floor, and underneath the tree looks relatively bare. Christmas dinner is smelling delightful and guests are beginning to gather. Christmas day has arrived and with it, for some, comes a bit of chaos.
I hope you are able to grab a moment or two of peace and quiet some time today. It's a priceless commodity that is hard to come by these days. We seem to be our own worst enemies. We come with our own bit of chaos, robbing ourselves of every chance of peace. Continuously growing to-do lists can take over our lives, especially this time of year. How many nights a week do you lay your head on the pillow only to relive the entire day while making a mental to-do list for the next day? Or maybe you HAVE carved out a few moments of quiet time only to have your mind suddenly hijacked by thoughts, worries and chaos? Finding peace in a world of chaos can be a very challenging task!
“Bless us, Lord, this Christmas with quietness of mind. Teach us to be patient and always to be kind. Show us that in quietness we can feel Your presence near. Fill us with joy and peace throughout the coming year.” —Helen Steiner Rice
With technology ruling our lives, financial pressures and the work family life balancing act, it's difficult to keep up. None of this produces peace, instead, it creates chaos in our lives. This lifestyle overload can be overwhelming often leading to anxiety, fear and even depression. While you can’t check out of life and avoid all of it's "adulting" responsibilities, you can approach things in a kinder, gentler way. Today, let's talk about finding peace in the chaos.
Meditation on God's Word is the single most effective way I have found to find peace in a world of chaos. I'm talking about true meditation. A place where you are able to separate yourself from everything that's going on in your chaotic little world and focus on Scripture. The benefits are truly amazing!. It will eliminate stress, allow you to think more clearly, and help you see the bigger picture.
You know the chaos is going to be there. So how can we lessen the effect it has on us in the future? Memorization. Memorizing God's Word will give you a tool to fight the chaos of the future. You say, "I can't memorize Scripture." Sure you can! I remember as a third grader memorizing the entire chapter of Hebrews 11. I can still recite most of it today. If a third grader can memorize a chapter, you can memorize a verse. Start with a single verse and then build on it. A good one to start with is Philippians 4:6. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."
As wives, moms, daughters, and sisters, we are so busy. Constantly going, going, going. We often forget to just take a moment, step back, and simply breathe. Focusing your attention and taking a few, intentional deep breaths will help you find your peace in the chaos. It will give you a clearer awareness of the here and now. Deep breathing is a simple, effective way to overcome the stresses of today and lead you into a place of peace tomorrow. The great thing about taking a deep breath is that it's something that can be done anywhere, anytime! Scientifically speaking, when you take shallow breaths, it reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches your brain cells. This reduces your overall brain function. Taking deep breaths relaxes your muscles, relieves tension and helps your brain function much better. Let's do this!
Did you know that the practice of gratitude will cause real changes in your brain and enhance brain function as well? It's true! If you want your brain to work better, practice being grateful for the good things in your life. Writing down your grateful thoughts makes that practice even more powerful. If you're looking for a gratitude journal, check out this 52-week gratitude journal by Pretty Simple Planners. I love their planners, and I love this journal too!
I have gifted several of these gratitude journals and each recipient has been truly grateful! Good days really do start with gratitude. Write things down. Journaling, being grateful for the here and now, it's something we don’t do enough. Yet it’s such a powerful tool to help you find peace in a world of chaos. If you're ready to journal your gratitude, click this link and order one today! Put it on your desk, by your bed, throw it in your bag when you leave the house. Keep it with you at all times. Be prepared to see the things in your life you have to be grateful for, and journal them. Now, when chaos interrupts your little world, pull out your gratitude journal and be grateful! Give it a try. You will be surprised how much this helps you find peace in a world of chaos. Try journaling, or putting your thoughts on paper. The process gives your grateful thoughts a home, a place they can live, and a place you can visit to remind yourself of all you have to be grateful for. Once those thoughts are expressed in writing, they give you more power to find peace.
Prayerfully listening to the still small voice of God. I love this passage in I Kings where God speaks to Elijah. "And he said, 'Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.' And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, 'What are you doing here, Elijah?'" I Kings 19:11-13 God was not in the wind. He was not in the earthquake or the fire either. God spoke to Elijah in a whisper, and Elijah heard it! God still speaks to us in whispers. A still small voice is waiting to have a conversation with you today, and this is powerful!
Taking a walk is always a good idea. Being mindful of your surroundings and thanking God for the beauty of His amazing creation is bonus material! Exercising, reconnecting with nature, even hitting the gym is a great way to rid your mind of the chaos. You can literally sweat the chaos right out of your brain. Finding the motivation to get out there and do it is often the biggest hurdle you'll have to overcome. But once you get those tennis shoes laced up, leave your phone behind, and get your blood flowing and heart pumping, I promise, you'll thank yourself. Even if you don't get your heart pumping, even a peaceful walk through the woods or down a path will help clear the chaos. Aside from this, just the health benefits alone should be enough to convince you to make exercise a regular part of your life.
If you're a runner, you know going for a nice, long run will clear your mind and help you escape the chaos. I particularly enjoy an outdoor run with several destination points along the way. This helps me focus on reaching small goals that lead to a bigger goal. Even if you are a walker, this "destination point" strategy can be a good method of clearing the chaos in your mind. Physical activity combined with focus and being mindful of your surroundings will help eliminate the chaos. And remember what I said about leaving your phone behind? JUST DO IT! I know we're all like, "What if I get a phone call? What if it's important? What if it's an emergency? What if I see a pretty leaf, and need to take a picture of it" LOL It’s all too easy to take a break from your workout to check emails, texts, notifications or voicemails if you have your phone with you. And a single message can trigger chaos. LEAVE THAT PHONE BEHIND, PLEASE!
Talking it out with a friend is another great way to find peace. I can't tell you how many times this has helped me. Bouncing my chaos off a trusted confidant with a totally different perspective can change everything! Discussing the problems, obstacles and potential solutions with a good friend is a great way to get on the pathway to peace.
Unplug from technology, even if it's just for an hour. A whole day would be better. I know it's hard, but a lot of times the technology in our lives, although it's supposed to be helpful, is actually a hinderance. It can actually be the cause of a lot of our chaos. Try to unplug for an hour, then longer. A technology fast will do you wonders! I've done it. I know. Some day I'll tell you about the time I unplugged for an entire week!
Finally, let's remind ourselves of Who is actually in control in this world of chaos, and more importantly, who is NOT in control. God is in control! He rules His creation, including world leaders, the powerful and the weak, the bold, the mighty and the meek. He is in control and WE ARE NOT! So let's trust Him with our mess. Let's trust Him to help us find the peace we so desperately crave.
All of these things help to remind us that we, along with the things that cause our chaos, are just small pieces of a much larger puzzle. That puzzle, our story, is being assembled by the Master puzzle maker. He, and He alone is the giver of real, true, lasting peace.
We hope this is a lovely Christmas for you and your family, and that you have a relationship with the giver of real, true, lasting peace which will enable you to find peace in a world of chaos!
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