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I like to call this time of isolation: a forced time of introspection. Whether you like it or not staying present is mandatory. When we are busy we like to say, “we have no time” and when we have loads of time we like to say, “we wish we were busy”. The point is we aren’t good at staying present because we don’t have any peace. So let’s learn how to stay present by receiving God’s peace.
Oh boy, what is peace? How do we get peace? I want peace! Simply put peace is a blessing from God, and it’s in His nature to give us peace. Its readily available to all who call upon Him.
Okay, so how does this work? Well first lets accept introspection – “the examination of our own mental and emotional state” and name the burden that is preventing peace.
Second, let’s look at these three verses that teach us how to have peace:
1. Name your burden and give it to Jesus
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Our “yoke” can feel like a heavy plow or cart weighing us down and instead of moving it forward we stay stuck.
I have misread this verse for a long time
I used to think Jesus meant He will take off our heavy load so we don’t carry anything. Assuming that whatever was causing me burdens would leave entirely. But it says, “take my yoke upon you” – so we still have a load to carry. This is more encouraging because its realistic. We all have responsibility in our day which simply cannot just stop – we all have loads to carry. However it doesn’t need to be a burden, God says, “come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”. How? “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me… for I am gentle and humble in heart”. We are to come to Christ in confidence that He will help us because he is “gentle and humble in heart”. God is approachable!
How to stay present in peace… we learn from Christ
“Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did” (1 John 2:6). Walk in the way in which Jesus walked which is doing what pleases the Lord. The peace is in the knowing my Father God. He has the best for me so it’s in Him where I will find it. So I gladly take upon His yoke which is easy and light because He is good and wants good for me. Spending time reading my Bible gives me peace because it’s a daily reminder of how much He loves me.
For me staying present in peace looks like focusing on the blessing rather than the burden. For example, my husband working shift work. Everyday I only get half days with him and sometimes when the weekend comes this is a burden because I want a full family day not just half. However, the blessing is he has a great job and provides well for our family. So I focus on the gifts God gave me rather than what I do not have. This takes discipline to practice daily.
2. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you
“Come near to God and he will come near to you.”
Avoiding our burdens by distracting ourselves with anything other than God will not bring us closer to peace. Spending time in prayer helps to refocus our hearts and mind back onto His. So, if in doubt pray it out… (oooo did I just make a snappy saying?!?).
3. Do not worry about tomorrow
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Until we are with Jesus Himself, in heaven, we will always be working towards something here on earth. I know I can get bogged down with a mentality of a “finish line” assuming success is something concrete. But success is making the most of TODAY – a constant state of progress. Humbling ourselves before the Lord so we can have His joy and His peace to guide our thoughts and actions of today. Its all about taking action in the right direction and maximizing the time we have, now! Jesus said it himself, do not worry about tomorrow. So we learn from His words and do as it says because its meant for our own good.
Jesus, I pray that you would change our perspective. Help us to look to you so we can receive your atmosphere of peace as we learn to stay present.