Finding Peace in 2017

As published in Carolina Compass Newspaper

Looking at all the Facebook posts during the Christmas season and into the New Year, I noticed people wishing others ‘Peace’, so I started asking my friends how they would find peace in 2017. Surprisingly, they weren’t sure.

Quite a number of my friends are divorced and still dealing with the aftermath of divorce which invariably includes lack of ‘peace’. Some of the responses were being in nature or exercise related or creativity in some form or other but true peace comes not from external measures but from internal. The old adage of “soul searching” most definitely applies here. Romans 8:6- “For to set the mind in the flesh is death but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”

We have all fallen short in our lives and in our relationships and sadly, tend to carry those shortcomings with us through the years. In divorce, people have regrets they can’t reconcile and they tend to see the demise of their marriage as a failure but what if God’s plan is to use what has happened in your life to help others? Philippians 4:7 says, “And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

We don’t always understand why we have to walk the path we walk because we see it as only being about us, but what if God has a bigger story for us than the one we have written for ourselves? Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Take your regrets, own them and then use them to help others. Stop trying to change what can’t be changed or undone. Stop beating yourself up over the past and instead, take what you have learned to make the future better. Allow yourself the forgiveness you would willingly give to others and use this situation to grow deeper in your faith knowing that God has a plan for you. Isaiah 12:2, “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.”

You can rewrite your story at any time but in the process of rewriting it; share your old one so others can see God’s grace at work. Use your story to show how God changes lives, forgives and blesses us with second chances.

When we are troubled, we tend to look outward for relief but the only way to get lasting peace is to turn inward to a God that will give us a peace beyond our own understanding. John 14:27, “Peace I leave you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid.”

So, walk into the New Year with the realization that no matter your regrets or shortcomings, know that God is at work in your life and have peace in that knowing.

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