Episode 008 – How to Grab Yourself Some Peace.
You want peace. I want peace. We need to quiet those shrieking monkeys we talked about last episode. But how do we do it? Will God give us peace if we ask? What if the obstacle to peace isn’t outside of us, or even in better prayers or spiritual practices. What if the obstacle is inside our own hearts and minds?
Show notes will not be a transcript. At least not now. You’ll find a few key bullet points, any scriptures references, as well as any other books or resources referenced.
- Psalms 131. I have calmed and quieted my soul. What images come to mind? Is it an image of God comforting us? But is that really what the passage is saying?
- “I have calmed and quieted myself!”
- So peace (at least some of the time) in scripture isn’t a divine gift, deposited on us from above. It’s something we are responsible for in our selves.
- Examples of scripture where peace is in inside job that we are responsible for:
- Hebrews 12:14. Make every effort to live in peace. Make the effort. That’s work.
- 1st Peter 3:11. They must seek peace and pursue it. Apparently, peace isn’t something we passively receive.
- 1st Peter 5:7. “Cast all your cares.” Casting is an action. An intentional choice and behavior.
- Colossians 3:15. “Let the peace of Christ rule. Looks like Christ’s peace doesn’t just happen to us. It’s something we have to allow.
- So peace is something God offers, even promises. And at the same time, there is something we have to do to take hold of peace.
- Three principles for peace of heart and mind:
- Principle 1: Your thoughts are not you.
- “Many people go through life so completely identified with their thoughts, feelings, and urges that they are essentially slaves to them. We don’t make the distinction between ‘this particular thought’ and ‘me,’ so we just ride the wave of whatever is happening to be affecting us in the moment.” (Greg Boyd, Present Perfect, p. 93)
- That wave of thoughts and feelings isn’t you.
- Some thoughts and emotions you initiate. Others are reactions to something going on outside of you. Some are triggered by something in the past (a memory or regret). Some are triggered by something that hasn’t happened yet (a plan, worry) Some are triggered by the Holy Spirit.
- Your thoughts and emotions are an experience you are having, but they are not your identity.
- That means you have the freedom to decide whether you want to go where your thoughts and feelings are taking you.
- Principle 2: Many of your thoughts and emotions are simply mental habits.
- Habits are formed by repetition and positive neuro-chemical feedback. This is true for life habits like biting your nails or always being late to meetings, but it’s also true for habits of mind, like certain thoughts and emotions.
- When we have a certain pattern of thought and emotion in reaction to something in our lives, and that pattern seems “to work,” that is, it seems to solve the immediate discomfort, then we get positive neuro-chemical feedback, and that same pattern of thought and emotion will be easier to trigger the next time we face a similar situation.
- Some of the patterns of thought and emotion you are used to having are simply habits that have been built over time. Which means they can be replaced.
- Principle 3: Stillness of heart and mind is a habit.
- Jesus told us that our main work is to abide. (John 15)
- Abiding is not about having simple or peaceful outward circumstances.
- Jesus may want to give us peace, but are we in a place to receive it?
- We can practice abiding, and build the habit of mental and emotional peace.
- Principle 1: Your thoughts are not you.
- Other Links
- Pick up a copy of Greg Boyd’s book, Present Perfect. I highly recommend it. (That’s an Amazon Affiliate link. If you buy the book, I’ll get an infinitesimal kick-back which I was horde until I can afford more books.)
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