Dwelling with God leads to peace spilling into our communities

Written by Sarah Evangeline

When the pandemic hit, it was an unknown for all of us. I felt my whole body overcome with intense fear. The worst possible scenarios ran through my mind. I experienced panic attacks followed by a season of loneliness and grief. I had to grieve the loss of a best friend and the life I had before. I had to let go of the expectations I placed on myself just so I could get out of bed in the morning.

Our minds tell our bodies the unknown is scary and uncomfortable, so we overlay the present with past experiences. Amid chaos, uncertainty, and fear, I had to decide to shift my perspective beyond the circumstance or conditions around me. I couldn’t wait for something on the outside to change how I felt on the inside. I craved inner peace and I learned the hard way that the change had to start inside me.

Once I took time to be still before my day began, the peace of God’s presence naturally flowed into the rest of my life. I became more motivated for each new day—living in the future, not being stuck in the past.

I started praying with coworkers in the hallway as I worked frontline for The Salvation Army. Now, when a coworker asks me how I am, we sit down and chat it out with true intentionality. I’ve begun checking in on my neighbours. I love sitting on my porch with a cup of tea as we laugh and share our stories.

Even as I form goals and ambitions, I let life unfold without trying to control the outcome. I embrace each day in all its forms, breathing deep. This helps me respond rather than react. I find rest without any guilt, trusting my God walks before me.

One of the greatest lessons I learned throughout this past year is how to take life one day at a time instead of rushing it. Every day is a new day to share God’s peace in everything we do. Our whole day can become a devotion of praise.

I know it’s a lot easier said than done, which is why it’s important to learn that discipline comes before motivation. Sometimes, we aren’t motivated to take time to sit still, to put our phones away, and be uncomfortable with silence.

We need to fall in love with the result so we will fall in love with the process. When we desire the result of what the discipline gives us, this motivates us to take part in the process.

I desired inner peace so I could enjoy my day-to-day life more. I wanted to wake up and get out of bed knowing my day would be okay instead of dreading what could possibly come next. Do you desire what peace will give you?

Living with peace in our hearts doesn’t happen in one moment. It’s a gradual journey, a trust walk of letting God guide us every day.

Look up as you go about your day. What do you see? Who do you see? You get to decide how you view your life and the people in it. When our perspectives and hearts are transformed by Christ’s peace, the way we live has a ripple-effect to those around us.

Journal prompts for living with peace:

  • What’s something kind and selfless you did for someone recently?
  • What’s something someone else did that inspired you in the last few days?
  • Is there someone in your life you’re thankful for? How can you express your gratitude for them?
  • What’s something you witnessed recently that reminded you life is still good?
  • Is there a friend you can call to see if they’re okay?

Set aside time every day to sit intentionally in the Lord’s presence.

Say this out loud: I will let go of things outside my control and decide how I want to think on the inside. I will choose peace and gratitude. I will live moment by moment, grateful for a new day. I will let the peace of the Lord flow into my home, community, and work so they too can desire the hope peace gives.