Your Morning Cup of Inspiration

There are some words that we use so often that we tend to forget their meaning. “Peace” is one of them.  We see the word on bumper stickers.  At the end of church, very often the pastor says, “Go in peace.”  But in practical terms, what does it mean to be at peace?  What does it mean to be peaceful?

Of course, we all know what it means to not be peaceful.  If we are angry or violent, we obviously aren’t peaceful.  But there is more to it than that.  We aren’t peaceful when we have an unsettled mind.  If we are worried, overwhelmed or frustrated, we aren’t at peace.  And in order to be a happy person, you have to be able to maintain a peaceful mind – regardless of your circumstances.

In order to achieve that kind of serenity, it is necessary to develop certain character traits. That takes work.  Calm people aren’t calm by nature.  Instead, they have trained themselves to be at peace both with themselves and the world.

If you are seeking to have a peaceful mind, consider developing the following character and personality traits:

A Peaceful Mind…

Is Humble: Humility and a peaceful mind go hand in hand.  Why?  Humble people aren’t worried about whether they are better or worse than anyone else.  They aren’t stressing themselves out trying to be perfect.  They know that they are imperfect.  And they are OK with that.  They know their weaknesses, and they know their strengths.  And instead of obsessing about what everyone else is achieving, they are focused on running their own race.  They simply are trying to be the best that they can be with the skills and qualities that God has given them.

Forgives: You cannot be at peace and be mad at other people.  It is just that simple.  Admittedly forgiving people is hard.  It is especially hard if you see them all the time.  Let’s face it.  It is easy to forgive someone who you never see or barely have to deal with.  It is hard to let go of bitterness against someone that you see on a daily basis.  But the only way to live in peace is to not hold resentments against anyone.  Sometimes we can do that through our own efforts.  At other times, we need to turn to God in prayer and ask for His help.

Trusts God: Worrying robs us of our peace.  And it accomplishes nothing.  If there is something that is troubling you, there are only two things that you can do:  First, do what you can to solve the problem.  Then, trust God to handle the rest.  We have to accept that we are limited in what we can do.  We have to be willing turn to God and say, “Help me.  I can’t do this on my own.”  You saying that small prayer is much more productive than worrying.

Appreciates: Sometimes we have trouble being at peace with our circumstances.  Perhaps our relationships aren’t perfect.  Or we don’t live in the house of our dreams.  Or maybe we aren’t in the ideal job.  Trust me when I tell you that life will never be perfect.  There will always be things that could stand some improvement.  If you can’t be happy amidst the imperfection of life, you will never be at peace.  The way to be happy is to appreciate what is good.  “Count your blessings” sounds like a trite saying, but there is a lot of wisdom in it.  Of course, there is nothing wrong with trying to improve your life.  In fact, you should be working at improving your life (and yourself!) continually.  But in order to be at peace with your circumstances now, you have to focus on the blessings that God has given you today.

Is Patient: A great deal of our agitation stems from our refusal to be patient with others.  People aren’t perfect.  Very often, they do and say things that make me scratch my head.  I’m sure you feel the same way.  Moreover, I’m sure my behavior sometimes makes other people scratch their heads as well!  If we allow ourselves to become disturbed every time someone makes a mistake or does something irritating, we are going to be continually annoyed.  The only way to remain peaceful is to be patient.  Give others the patience that you would like to receive when you make a mistake.  You will make their lives easier, and you’ll be happier too.

Having a peaceful mind takes work. It requires developing good mental habits.  It means learning not to be frustrated by the world around you.  It means not being easily offended by others.  And it means appreciating what you have and where you are in life.  Those mental habits cannot be achieved without effort.  However, the payoff for your hard work will be a peaceful mind and a happy life.

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