Saturday, October 31, 2009

Practicing Peace

Being a high-strung, type-A individual with running drive to accomplish tasks, moments of peace are easily pushed aside for the more "urgent" demands of the day. However, as life progresses and stress starts to modify everyday functions--such as normal breathing and sleeping--I have come to realize that my soul is not healthy and I am not giving it the proper rest it insists is necessary.

So, out of that needs comes this blog, an attempt to keep myself accountable to the thoughts and attitudes that often rule my day. Each week I will post "exercises" that I will be doing to help calm my mind, defuse anger, release anxiety, and just give myself a moment of peace. I will be practicing "being"--practicing peace.

As a disclaimer, I don't believe that peace is something you can generate--and apart from authentic community with God, true peace will always be elusive no matter what you do. However, I do believe there are practices we can establish in our lives that will help us have receptive spirits to the peace God is daily offering us.

Here is your first exercise. Gaze at this photo. Imagine yourself stepping onto the dock and walking down to the edge of the pier. Slip off your sandals and sit down. Feel the warm 75 degree breeze tickle your skin and blow through your hair. Scan the horizon and watch the formation of clouds morph as the sun dips lower. The colors are ebbing, shifting from vibrant oranges to deep violets. Dare to skim your toes across the placid waters; the fluid is washing over your feet. Relax your shoulders, take a deep breath and sigh. Close your eyes and lean back on your hands, letting your head fall back. Smile to yourself, knowing that He is near, that He continues to love you and wants to bring you to these still waters.

This photo was taken in Australia by Mark Snelson.


  1. Up at 5:03am?! I hope that didnt make for a really long day!
    Since I am pregnant, I have found that I desperately need a nap every day. But when noon rolls around, I am so completely exhausted and my mind runs haywire. So I have to do much the same thing as you just wrote about, only I have to picture a rolling stream, re-create the feeling, sounds, and sights in order to set my mind at ease. So helpful!
    I am wondering, do you have any brilliant suggestions for releasing the tension in my shoulders? That would be SUPER helpful!!! :)

  2. Kristin, when I sit at the computer to work, I often find my shoulders creeping up, tense and short muscles. My sister-in-law (the massage therapist) suggested shoulder shrugs and rolls. I also try to push down with one hand and tilt my head to the opposite direction, stretching that area. Of course a quick shoulder massage always helps too. :)

  3. Ah, Kristin, I love the pictures (both of them) you chose for the blog. They are very restful, and the pier makes the imagery easy. "Be still, and know that I am God." (Ps. 46:10) A simple verse and yet so profound in application. God is infinitely more interested in our "being" than in our "doing". Why is it too often easier for us to get that backwards? Of course, the "doing" is important, but it will align with HIM if our "being" is centered in HIM. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. His Spirit in us produces and displays these attributes of "being".

    Isaiah 26:3 became a favorite verse of mine when I struggled through a dark time in my college days: "You will keep in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You: because he trusts in You." A friend of mine recently challenged me with a devotional thought she had come across which stated, "seek peacefulness, not specific answers". We just think we need to know exact details and solutions for every situation that arises. We fret and worry over what we're to do. It seems so unnatural to seek peace rather than answers or solutions. I'm very grateful for God's longsuffering toward me; that He continues to nudge, stretch and grow me.

    Love to both of my Kristins!

  4. Yes, Isaiah 26:3 has become more tangible to me lately as I realize that my mind is only at peace when it is focused on him--not my circumstances, stresses, or even those that bring me happiness. My mind is at peace when I realize that His grace is sufficient, no matter what. If I could only find a way to live in that kind of focus all the time. Thank you for sharing your encouraging thoughts, Mom.