When People Make Peace Impossible…

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18 NIV)

Is there someone in your life who insists on poking you in the eye every time he sees you? The Bible doesn’t say you have to just let it keep happening. It does say that some people are toxic: “Their venom is like the venom of a snake …” (Psalm 58:4 NIV)

Having someone like that in your life can mess up your attitude. It can mess up your friendships. It can mess up your marriage.

People who are toxic are going to blame anyone but themselves — including you — for the problems in their lives. They may love to blame you for their pain, but you have to realize that it’s not about you. It’s about them.

When these chaotic people get around you, it starts to rub off, and you may start thinking, “Am I going crazy? I know they’re crazy, but am I crazy, too?”

No, you’re not crazy. Remember: It’s not about you.

The Bible says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18). Notice the two qualifiers in this verse. First, it says “if” it is possible, not “it is.” Second, it says “as far as it depends on you.”

I don’t know if you’ve learned this yet, but it’s not always possible to live at peace. There are some people who, no matter what you do, are still going to poke you in the eye. It doesn’t have anything to do with you. It has to do with their pain and their hurt.

You know what I love about the Bible? It always tells the truth about God, life, and human behavior. The Bible points out that it’s not always possible to live at peace with everybody. There are some people you just can’t get along with. There are some people who, no matter how nice you are to them, are still going to be mean to you.

God says you need to realize that it’s not about you. Then, you need to move on.

The above article can be found at Rick Warren’s site, Pastor Rick.

The Three Daily Rituals That Bring Me Immense Peace

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One of the most important things I’ve learned in my 30’s is the importance of routine. As a certified bohemian, I’ve always rejected routines and rituals. For years, I thought that routines were for ‘boring’ people who had lost their sense of spontaneity and wonder. Now, I relish routines and rituals. Below are three daily rituals that bring me immense peace.

My Morning Routine

My morning routine is quite simplistic – I wake up before my son gets up so that I can work on client projects, write, think, have a cup of tea, eat breakfast, but the most vital part of this routine is prayer. I pray every morning because If I don’t, my day doesn’t feel right. I don’t just pray in the mornings – I read scripture aloud – I think and meditate on Scripture, and I’m a better person because of it. Once my son awakes, I’m ready to face the day with peace in heart and mind. I still haven’t perfected my night time routine, but at least I know how to start my day and anchor it so that it’s a peaceful and productive one.

Spending Time in Worship

One evening, I felt odd, like something was off, or missing. It suddenly dawned on me that the feeling of unease was the absence of God’s presence. Now, don’t get me wrong – I understand that God is omnipresent – I understand that He is always there – but there is a difference in God’s omniscience and God’s glory resting in your heart and home. When God is present, there is a peace that permeates the soul. I didn’t feel the peace in my soul.  As I lay in bed that night, I wondered why God felt so far, when I heard the Holy Spirit say one word… “Worship!” That morning the first thing that I did as soon as I got up was worship. I danced and sang around my living room. The moment I began to worship I could immediately feel the presence of God. When the Psalmist said that God inhabits the praise of His people, this stanza wasn’t just figurative, but literal. Worship changes the atmosphere of a home and heart. Worship brings a Philippians 4:7 peace into a place.

Making Time for My Family

Writing, teaching, and coaching is my ‘second’ ministry. My family is my first ministry. Before we go into the world to help and love others, we must first help and love our family. Hugging my son and smooching my husband bring me peace. We were created to love each other – love, time and affection with others bring too many physical and mental benefits to count. However, there is also a spiritual benefit to loving those who God has placed under the same roof as you – the benefit of immense peace.

Peace as a Compass

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When something is not right, you don’t feel quite right. I have had a few of those days, moments, and even seasons when something was off, and I didn’t feel quite right. Sometimes I knew exactly what the trouble was; and other times I couldn’t quite put my finger on it… it all comes down to peace.

When my husband and I first moved to the PNW, we immediately joined a church. We jumped right in, without questions or prayer. The people were nice, and they had free donuts…. seemed good, and shallow enough… But that was precisely what was wrong. It was just good… and shallow.

There was no peace.

Eventually, God put us somewhere else, and when He did, the weight lifted. That funny feeling that followed me around whenever I thought of my church left. I finally had peace.

I use peace as an internal compass. I understand how dangerous it is to live your life based entirely on ‘feelings.’ But I also think it’s dangerous when a person refuses to listen to the voice inside of the pit of their stomach that says “Something isn’t right.”

I’ve learned to understand that the feeling of something ‘feeling off’ is really just the Holy Spirit’s guidance. It’s God saying “Don’t do that!”

I am a strong believer in Divine direction and intervention, and I know that God directs our steps, but we still have to agree to go in the direction He is giving us. Too often, we go the wrong way, and then feel uneasy. Peace leaves when you’re headed in the wrong direction.

Peace is a powerful compass.

Getting the Heart and Mind to Agree

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How do you feel settled when everything around you is unsettling?

You have to dig deep down in a place that you haven’t reached before and allow God to be in that place. If He is the Prince of Peace then peace will reside in you – and the same peace will eventually permeate the rest of your spirit and soul.

One of my favorite books in the Bible is Philippians, otherwise known as the Book of Peace. There have only been a handful of times in my life when I’ve felt a physical, tangible peace. Not inner peace, but a peace that is both inner and outer – a solid peace that blankets the soul and body. The first time I felt that peace was while reading the book of Philippians.

Scientifically (from a biological perspective) you can’t feel peace unless your heart and mind agree. Researchers have discovered that the heart has a literal mind of its own – a smaller brain. And when your head-brain and heart-brain agree this produces a chemical that runs through your bloodstream producing a ‘feeling’ of peace.

Many people are robbed of their peace. It’s because they are in a constant struggle with getting their mind and heart on the same page. However, it’s not just as simple as getting the brain and heart to agree, but specifically getting them to agree on the right thing, or rather the righteous thing. Because it’s possible for your heart and mind to agree on an evil thing.

Evil can never produce peace. It can only produce darkness, which can only be dissolved by light.

In Luke, Jesus talks about heart-mind agreement when encountering a young, rich man who wanted to know more about holiness and heaven. Jesus’s reply to the man’s question of how he could live a righteous life was this:

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

Peace is as simple as trusting God with your whole heart and mind. But it’s as complicated as trusting God with all your heart and mind because you’ve got to get the two to agree first.