In these turbulent days, calmness and peace are hard to find. Demonstrations, marches, violence, fear, and turmoil flood our cities, and mainstream and social media. Coming on the heels of COVID-19 quarantine, one has to wonder if all the emotion stems from fear, frustration, and confinement rather than backlash over injustice.
We all experience times in life when personal peace is hard to find. Like invisible enemies, the following rob us of peace and create an environment of unrest:
Prejudice is not just a black and white issue. Prejudice is present in many cultures, crossing racial, gender, economic, religious, and social lines. We all harbor preconceived ideas about others that color our perspective, cause us to prejudge, and change how we respond. Only by honest self-examination, can we confront bias and take steps to move beyond it.
Assuming you understand a situation, or the intent, thoughts, or motivation of a person is arrogant and unrealistic. Assigning thoughts and feelings to others imposes your perspective when you really have no concept of what others think or feel without asking.
In recent months, I have seen or heard long diatribes from those claiming to “educate” on various topics. With those diatribes comes the assumption that I am not intelligent enough to do my own research and think for myself. Assumptions diminish the capabilities of others.
Unmet expectations are one of the greatest causes of conflict and conflict negates peace. Expecting others to respond based on your expectations is a sure path to frustration and misunderstanding. Only through communication can expectations be conveyed, discussed, altered, or met.
In recent weeks, we have seen many examples of unbridled anger; anger that doesn’t necessarily stem from outrage over injustice. Many have engaged in free-for-alls that include looting and destruction of the property of already struggling businesses because of COVID-19 closures. How someone feels damaging the property of those who had nothing to do with a senseless act brings justice is baffling. This type of activity is really just about rage and taking advantage of a situation.
Sometimes, people are angry without really knowing the root cause. Perhaps a comment touches a feeling of inadequacy or ignites a flame of long ago bullying or abuse. Despite the reasons for anger, failing to tame anger ensures a life devoid of peace.
Now, more than ever, we live in a world where criticism and negativism rule, creating an environment of divisiveness and tension. Granted, conditions are not ideal, but we remain a blessed people. While identifying positives amid negatives may be challenging at times, start by looking at elements in day-to-day life that are gifts: evening birdsong, a gentle rain, colorful flowers, the interaction of family preparing and sharing a meal, the brilliant hues of a sunrise or sunset. Not everything in life is negative and strident. Look for, and savor, moments of tranquility and peace.
Unrelenting guilt, and its tag-along regret, have the ability to rob you of peace in a way unequaled to other peace-robbing culprits. Freeing yourself of guilt is a multi-step process that involves admission and forgiveness. If there is something you can fix with admission and apology, do it. If guilt stems from an ancient injustice, confess it to God, accept his forgiveness, then forgive yourself, and don’t allow guilt to ride roughshod over your life again. Freedom from guilt leads to peace.
While we can’t fix all the injustices of the past, we can resolve to think and do differently in the future. Forward motion only stops if you allow deterrents to shackle you.
While we can’t fix all the injustices of the past, we can resolve to think and do differently in the future.
While COVID-19, hopefully, will not always be the intense issue it is currently, it certainly occupies the minds of most of us and inhibits a peaceful existence. When will this pandemic diminish? Will life ever really return to normal? As much as we’d like to move beyond this novel corona virus, the only thing that has changed is people are out of isolation and acting like the virus isn’t an issue anymore.
Experiencing peace during this period in time requires focusing on blessings and finding serenity and hope by looking to the future. Many, who came before us, faced similar times of widespread illness and deaths, unrest, economic depression, and other life-altering events, and they survived. The challenges we currently face are only for a season. Look ahead with hope and trust.
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27 TLB
Candy Arrington is a writer, blogger, speaker, and freelance editor. She often writes on tough topics with a focus on moving beyond difficult life circumstances. Candy has written hundreds of articles, stories, and devotionals published by numerous outlets including: Inspiration.org, Arisedaily.com, CBN.com, Healthgrades.com, Care.com, Focus on the Family, NextAvenue.org, CountryLiving.com, and Writer’s Digest. Candy’s books include When Your Aging Parent Needs Care (Harvest House) and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B&H Publishing Group).
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