I am so very happy to have Jennifer Janes guest posting today! She has been such an encouragement to me through twitter and her blog, and she has an encouraging message today as well. May you be blessed by her words.
Today I was diagnosed with bronchitis for the second time in three weeks. My husband and children have been sick too. I am homeschooling my kids, trying to run two part-time businesses from my home, and managing my daughter’s therapy and medical appointments. The bills and paperwork that need tending to are mocking me, and my dream of being debt-free feels like a pipe dream.
But I’m at peace. I will go to bed tonight, lay my head on my pillow, and rest well. I haven’t always been able to do that, and I may struggle tomorrow night or the night after. I may allow tormenting thoughts into my head and heart, thoughts that will rob me of my peace and my sleep.
For too long, I have allowed fear, anxiety, worry, and stress to rule my life. It has affected my health and relationships in ways I’m ashamed to admit. I have read the Bible from cover to cover several times these last few years, and I started marking all the times God promises peace. All the times He mentions rest. All the times He tells someone (me!) “don’t be afraid,” “do not fear,” “do not let your hearts be troubled.” He says it a lot, but I haven’t listened.
Last year I decided to change that.
It starts with changing my thoughts. For me, it starts with Philippians 4:8. I make a conscious decision every day to think thoughts that are good, pure, lovely, and of good report. I choose to think peaceful, life-giving thoughts that are based on the Truth of God, His Word, and the promises He has made there. I choose to believe Him over the lies floating around in my head that tell me garbage I would never dare to put in print.
Do I still have bad days? Of course I do! I still have days where fear sits doggedly in the pit of my stomach, where I can’t think of anything but the problems that loom over me, larger than life. I still have days where I forget to tell the storm how big my God is, and instead tell God over and over how big my storm is. (I’m not sure who said that first, but it’s a keeper!) I still have days when I forget that God said all things will work together for my good, when I’m convinced my family and I are on a sinking ship.
But those days are becoming less frequent. The days filled with peace and the assurance of God’s presence are becoming a reality because I choose to read His Word every day. I pray and thank Him for what He’s doing in my life. I read verses out loud so that my mind can hear them—verses that promise that He is with me, that He will see me through any problem that comes my way, that He will provide for my family and me, that He loves me, that He forgives me for my mistakes, that He will deliver me. As I read them, hear them, and process them, the peace comes.
And I revel in it.
“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8 NLT
How do you actively pursue peace in your life?
Jennifer Janes lives in Arkansas with her husband and two daughters. She spends her days homeschooling, working from home, laughing at her kids’ antics, reading her Bible, praying, practicing gratitude, and writing in blue ink. She blogs at Jennifer A. Janes, and you can interact with her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram.