As you begin making New Year’s resolutions, you may want to consider building a muscle that you don’t need a gym membership for…the peace muscle!
WHAT IS THE PEACE MUSCLE?
When we think of peace it’s often synonymous with a quiet home, a day on the beach, or a strong margarita. These things are amazing and great at deriving peace temporarily, but attaining inner peace that lasts is like building muscle.
Imagine that it’s January 1st and you are, of course, at the gym…
Most people don’t like going to the gym unless they are already in shape. The process of working out is grueling. It literally damages our muscle fibers to communicate to the brain that muscle is necessary for the well-being of the body. We break down our muscles so they can grow bigger, and every time we go to the gym the process becomes a little more rewarding.
The same is true with inner peace. Every time we are faced with an aggravating situation, it’s like visiting the peace gym. The first couple times we choose peace – just like the first couple times at the gym – it’s going to hurt. We feel sore because it’s not something we typically practice. But when January 31st comes around (and we have been faithfully going to the gym everyday as our New Year’s resolutions suggested), the results are outstanding and we feel fabulous.
EXERCISING THE PEACE MUSCLE
Here are a couple practical choices that will help build the peace muscle.
1. Focus on what you can control
Pastor Rick Warren put it a great way in one of his sermons, “To worry about something you can’t change is useless, and to worry about something you can change is stupid.” We spend so much of our lives worrying about things that we can’t do anything about. Choosing to let these things go is an activation of the peace muscle. At first it takes a lot of energy, but we will get stronger over time.
2. Forgive yourself
I don’t know about you, but I could tear myself apart with personal criticism at the end of the day. The truth is that each of us are only human and we can’t do everything. What matters is that we push ourselves to do what we are capable of.
Ask yourself as you get into bed each night, “Did I do the best I possibly could today?” You might not complete everything, nevertheless you gave it your all.
3. Don’t “keep the peace”
When people hurt us, it can be tempting to just let it go – and there are times when that is appropriate. Sometimes, however, people step too far. When that happens, we have to confront the situation to protect our inner peace. Sometimes solving a problem is as simple as making the other person aware and this can save us a lifetime of turmoil.
PEACE WITH OTHERS
The best thing about attaining inner peace is that it’s contagious, just like going to the gym. When my friends or family members start a new workout plan, I tend to follow their example. Similarly, the people around you will notice the results of your inner peace and be encouraged to find their’s too. In the book Captivating, Stasi Eldredge expresses this idea beautifully:
“A woman of true beauty is a woman who in the depths of her soul is at rest. She exudes a sense of calm, and invites those around her to rest as well. She speaks comfort, she offers others the grace to be and the room to become. In her presence, we can release the tension and pressure that so often grip our hearts…In her presence, you can breathe again, you are free to be you.”
We could all benefit from a little extra peace in 2018. Don’t forget to make building your peace muscle part of your New Year's resolution!