We all wish to have peace, and while I do not claim to have any special insight into how to achieve it, I can give you what has helped me in some of my most difficult of times.
I hope that if you are enduring those difficult moments that we tend to find ourselves in, some of this will help. You are not alone, and you will see redemption at the end of your trials.
Step 1: turn down the lights
- Doing this can set a mood, and let’s face it, the Church today is very reliant upon its moods. I wouldn’t say this is necessarily a bad thing, but just like all things in life, careful moderation and discernment in use is needed. If your heart is weary/restless/tired/anxious/etc., then create an environment that will enable you to relax. Lighting enhances the mood. Be careful though to not let your emotions or feelings set the agenda. Allow God to do that.
Step 2: sit/lay/kneel in silence
- Use this moment to take your mind off every distraction. If you want a supernatural peace, be prepared to leave the natural world. In order to do that, let nothing of man come between you and your God. Media in all its forms, such as a computer, cell phone, magazines, books should be set aside. All great things, but not pertinent for the moment you’re searching for. Pray. Speak. But above all, listen.
Step 3: use music where needed
- “Wait, didn’t you just say to leave the natural world? Wouldn’t this include music?” Yes. Yes, I did say that. But sometimes music can do things for us nothing else can. After all, God devoted an entire book of the Bible to it, so there must be some merit in making an exception. Whatever it is you choose to have playing, let it be something that points you toward your Savior. This is in stark contrast with what most of contemporary Christian music involves these days: a frighteningly massive amount of self-centered lyrics that only serve to feed our selfish feelings. God is not emo, so Dashboard Confessional need not be on your holy playlist.
Step 4: allow yourself to be broken
- In your search for peace, you will no doubt encounter just the opposite. When we are quiet in the presence of God, the Enemy becomes everything but. In these moments, you will experience pain/sadness/discomfort/uncertainty. This is a good thing. But be careful who you listen to. The admonitions of God lead us to seek change, while the accusations of Satan lead us to seek charity. Seeking change is making sure you are ready and willing to do your part, while seeking charity is playing the pity card and begging for someone else to fix the problem.
Step 5: allow yourself to be healed
- In our unfortunate state of being, we have constrained ourselves to self-loathing and hatred. This is not a “love yourself before you can love anyone else” kind of idea. It is however, an “allow yourself to be loved” kind of idea. It’s humbling and difficult to accept that in spite of your shortcomings, someone still has love for you. How much more difficult is it when that Person is our Heavenly Father? Whatever you have done, whatever you have allowed to fracture your relationship with God, it’s past. Now it’s time to move forward. It’s true that changes in your life will need to be made, but if you think there’s anything more you can and have to do in order to gain favor with God, you are terribly mistaken. Make the needed changes, but more importantly, accept the needed love.