“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
Not as the world gives do I give it to you.”
Before I start let me openly acknowledge that I come from long line of worriers. My mom was the type of person who if she had nothing to worry about would be worried that she didn’t know what to worry about. This was one of the many gifts she passed on to her son who then took the torch and ran with it. Trust me when I say that I know what stress is and what it can do to a person.
Fast forward to my pre-golden years as I finally started to find my path in life and that path has led me directly to Jesus. Something very interesting and quite unthinkable happened to me – I began to worry less until I have reached a point in my life where I find myself longing and reveling in the peace of Christ. It has taken me the better part of a lifetime to even begin to feel at peace in my life. I used to stress over it all family, money, success, people’s perception of me and frankly I look back and wish I had half of those wasted cycles back. So much energy wasted on most occasions on things I had absolutely no control over. What a waste of energy. I am sure I am not alone in that experience. The world these days values things like success, money, perception and the underlying message is if you want your life to be complete, you need this gadget, or this car, or you need to look like a model. So much pressure and for what? Maybe a few minutes of peace and contentment until you find out the world now values something else and all of a sudden you’re back on the treadmill of life running like crazy and going nowhere. How many of us has said “there has got to be a better way’. I am here to tell you – there is and His name is Jesus.
Here’s an interesting reading from Matthew 6:25-34
25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
What a tremendously powerful message in that scripture reading. We have three basic choices – we can live in the past, the present, or the future. When I look back I see most of my life stuck in the past and worrying about mistakes I have made or things I have done that I didn’t want others to know about. When I wasn’t worried about the past, I was worried about the future – would my kids be ok, would I make enough money to live comfortably, or would I and my family remain healthy as we got older. It amazes me sometimes as to how much time and energy I spent worrying about the past and the future. The scripture reading above offers one question that I think we can all answer with a resounding NOT ME:
“And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?”
The past doesn’t exist anymore. Sure we can learn from it and use our experience to avoid repeating mistakes we have made, but we need to learn to love ourselves as God loves us. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is known as a “Sacrament of Healing”. God forgives our sins and lifts the weight from our shoulders. For those of you who are struggling with things that have happened in your past I pray for you, but I also ask you to consider the healing sacrament of Reconciliation. I learned that owning up to my past mistakes, asking forgiveness from those that I have hurt, and confessing my sins during Reconciliation began to help me lift that weight off my shoulders, Worrying about the past is a waste of time and energy since there is absolutely nothing you can do to change the past. You can try and make up for past mistakes, but you can’t undo what has been done. Ask Jesus for that forgiveness you need and try and move on.
The future doesn’t exist yet. Worrying will only sap our energy and impact our mindset potentially making things worse for us as we go forward. Jesus asks us to trust Him and to bring your needs and your problems to Jesus. As is written in Matthew 11:28-30:
“28“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30“For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Jesus wants us to find the peace that only He can give. By bringing our needs and our problems to Jesus we “lighten our burden” and by trusting that God will do what is best for us we can find a more peaceful existence. We may not always like or agree with what God has in store for us, but inevitably we come to realize and acknowledge that in the end God knows what is best for us.
This leaves us with the present. I am sure everyone has heard the expression “live in the present”, but how many of us actually do? How many of us take today and live life to its fullest? Take time during your busy day to see God at work in you, in others, and in the simplicity of our daily lives. Take time to reflect, spend time with loved ones, and in prayer with a God who loves us more than we can ever imagine and wants us all to be peaceful with the peace that only Jesus can give. Try it today. I welcome all to share any thoughts or past experiences that helped you to find Jesus’ peace in your lives.