“Protect your peace!” That thought keeps reverberating in my head. I wonder if that’s even a thing in 2020? And yet, the voice is clear. So, I get out of bed, put on workout clothes, lace up my shoes, and go for a walk.
I had other things on my agenda. I had a test to take, counseling appointments to confirm, a suitcase left to unpack, and the list goes on. But, I knew that getting outdoors was vital for my sanity.
How do you protect your peace? I find that I have to lean on the ultimate source of peace, the Lord of Peace. In the Passion Translation, 2 Thessalonians 3:16 says,
Now, may the Lord himself, the Lord of peace, pour into you his peace in every circumstance and in every possible way. The Lord’s tangible presence be with you all.
Walking forces me to pay attention to my breathing, my posture, my thoughts. My focus is easily pulled in 1000 different directions if I allow my thoughts to race ahead of me. I stop and ask God to guide my thinking. My choice of playlist sets the tone for the next hour and 15 minutes. Five miles later, I am refreshed, motivated, and my heart is at peace.
There is a note that I wrote to myself tucked inside my journal. It reads, “Self-care is an activity that pulls your mind away from stress and DIRECTLY benefits you.”
How often do you engage in self-care? The practice of doing something, at least one thing, each day that directly benefits you is important. It’s important because you are important! I’ve found a few things that are helpful to me in providing self-care and protecting my peace. Perhaps one of them will work for you as well:
- go to sleep at the same time every night
- walk outdoors
- spend time reading the Bible each day
- listen to worship music
- breathe in while counting to three, hold it and count to three, and exhale to the count of three.
- practice breath prayers; breathe in and say to yourself, “His peace” and exhale and say, “floods my soul”
- make a gratitude list
- learn to say, “No.”
- be honest with yourself
- keep your word to yourself
One of the most important lessons that I’ve learned from working with women and children who’ve been abused, exploited, or experienced some type of trauma, is that I cannot help others if I’m overwhelmed myself. Self-care is vital. For me and you.
The guiding word for this second week of Advent is peace. Cry out to the Lord of Peace and let Him saturate your soul with His presence.
Let’s Reflect: read over the list of suggested self-care practices. Choose at least one to implement this week. If nothing on the list stands out for you then write out a few of your own and put one of them into practice this week.
Let’s Pray: Lord of Peace, we worship You! We are grateful that You can pour peace into every circumstance in every way that’s needed in our lives. We trust in You. We ask that Your tangible presence will fill our hearts, homes, and relationships. Show us how to protect our peace. Teach us how to care for and nurture ourselves. In Jesus’ name we ask. Amen.