For several months I’ve written blogs on topics related to finding peace in life. I could keep going, but it’s time to step back and put it all together. Here are my Seven Keys to peace.
Know, love, and follow Jesus.
This is our starting (and end) point. Our hearts are restless with a yearning that only God can fill. Following Christ is THE healthiest way to live because that’s how God designed us. But God doesn’t expect us to go it alone. He aids us on the journey—healing us by His grace and through the action of the Holy Spirit. He’s given us the Church through which He aids us and is present to us. Peace is a gift from God and not manufactured by us. And while you can try to apply the other six keys on your own, they really won’t make sense unless you have a relationship with Jesus.
This relationship is more than making a decision or an intellectual assent to belief. We trust in the Lord with our lives—with everything! We seek to imitate Jesus and to become like Him. We love and serve Him. You can’t do this half-way. You have to give your whole heart and life to Christ.
Live by the reality principle.
God is our Creator. It is He—not the people around us, the society we live in, or our own psyche—that defines what is true and really real. He made us in His image. In Him we have incredible value, a truth often unrecognized by this world. He loves us and cares for us. He calls us to share in His divine life. These truths change everything. No one and no experience or trauma in life can take these away.
Because God sees us as we really are and loves us just the same, we can be authentic and let go of the defense mechanisms we use to survive but keep us from really living. Getting there may take time, but the Spirit helps us move at the right pace.
One of the things that drew me to faith was the recognition that Jesus showed us the healthiest and best way to live: to love God and others. The opposite is to live for oneself; to live selfishly. You cannot live a self-centered life and be at peace.
Fill yourself with what is godly.
GIGO. Garbage in, garbage out. Godly in, godly out. If you want to be filled with light instead of darkness, then consume what is wholesome and good. In the same way, direct your thoughts to what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and gracious instead of what is illusory, degrading, selfish, filthy, evil, and destructive.
Let go of trying to control life, others, and even God. Let go of bitterness and pain. Let go of the desire for more stuff, money, love or whatever. Once you let go, then surrender to God.
Live by grace.
Say “no” to the accounting way of life—trying to earn points and favor from others. It is God who supplies. Live with gratitude. Make your one desire that of pleasing and honoring God, and the rest will follow. Turn to Him in prayer. Receive His grace in the Sacraments.
Live a life of continual conversion.
We are broken people who live in a broken world. If our goal is to become like Jesus, something’s got to change, and that someone is us. Conversion, or change toward godliness, is how God heals and perfects us. At times the change process can be hard and painful, but it is good and true, and every time we come out better. It takes a firm commitment and cooperation on our part to see it through.
Peace be with you!
(The featured image is from Pixabay.)