Wednesday, April 3, 2013

"My peace I give unto you"

One of the action steps of step 5 is to "let peace come into your life." Confession is a huge part of finding peace because honest confession brings us closer to God. Confession is part of the choice to become better and be cleansed through the power of the Atonement. As we use the Atonement in our lives, we will find peace.

Writing the inventory and confessing it could be very stressful. Don't let it be stressful. Let peace come into your life through these steps. Alma 39:7 reads, "I would not dwell upon your crimes, to harrow up your soul, if it were not for your good." There are many good reasons why we would "harrow up" our souls. Among those reasons are humility and turning to the Father. It is through this process that we can cleanse ourselves and live with Him again.

Peace also comes through the blending of different principles in the church: trust, love, and faith are a few. We can learn to love our Father and trust Him, and as we love and trust Him, we will be able to trust His plan and live His principles. Over time, through living the principles, we will find peace.

I search for peace daily. I've actually been on a peace-streak lately :) I have been making an effort to trust in God's plan for me, which includes all the little things that could upset me or stress me out along with the big things that could completely overwhelm me. I know that all things happen for a reason (even if that reason is because of a stupid choice I need to learn from), and I know that God knows my potential and is placing opportunities in my path to take advantage of. As I have been trusting in His plan and making the effort to see His hand in my life every day, I have felt peace increase in my life.

Sometimes in the past, I have felt peace and then started getting anxiety because I thought my time for peace was up. "I've felt peace all week, something bad is going to happen soon..." That is how my thoughts went quite often. However, I've realized that even when things are going well and maybe something bad will happen, I can still feel peace. Peace isn't a lack of bad things happening or nothing going wrong in life. True peace is seeing the things that are going wrong and still feeling a sense of hope and trust in God--still seeing the good things happening and being happy (or at least content) with where your life is at the moment. I'm still going through hard trials, as we all are, and while I sometimes would like to mope and be depressed, everything is so much easier when I allow peace to be in my life.

Going through the steps has really helped me hone great traits. One of those things I have become better at is repentance. I am much more prompt to confess and forsake my sins/wrongs (even like when Husband and I get in an argument, and it's obviously my fault, and I don't want to own up to it because I'm stubborn and like to think I am perfect...). My willingness to be more humble and confess my sins and repent has allowed peace to come in places that could otherwise be contentious.

I love this scripture about peace:

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." --John 14:27

Why do I love that scripture? Because Christ is telling me that He is giving me peace. And His peace is not what I would think. It's not like anything of this world, and it can't be found anywhere but through Him. It reminds me that I have no need to fear because He can give me all I need. He can give me peace. He can help me through my day. 

We can find that peace. Christ has given it to us; we just have to accept that gift. 

Here are some specific things I do to help me find/keep peace:
-Sometimes, I don't listen to music in the car (or in other spare time). I have found that as I decrease the noise in my world, I am more receptive to the whisperings of the Spirit. And, as I am more in tune with the Spirit, I am more able to recognize the blessings I am being given from God.
-When I do listen to music, probably 70% of the time it is spiritually uplifting. I listen to Alex Boye, Hilary Weeks, and Jon Schmidt the most. But there are lots of other church albums and artists that I listen to as well. These artists' messages bring me peace and comfort, and they teach me lessons about life and God.
-I try to always have a prayer in my heart.
-I try to recognize tender mercies and thank my Father when I recognize them.
-I try to take advantage of opportunities to serve (even if sometimes it's done grudgingly, in the end, I am much more edified than if I had not done the service).
-I study the gospel daily: sometimes scriptures, sometimes talks/books/articles. But I do it every day, and I write what I am pondering and learning.
-I cleaned out my movie closet, and I try to watch wholesome things. Cleaning out my movie closet has really sensitized me to movies, especially violence and sexual content. Cleaning out my  movies was actually a bigger sacrifice than I expected, but it has been so worth it.

I think I'll leave it there. I hope some of these ideas help, and I hope that you can start taking baby steps closer to Christ so you can feel peace in your life :)

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