Finding Peace. Seeking Shalom.
Updated: Jul 15, 2020
Ah, peace. We throw it up, offer it out, and try and maintain it in our souls. We are two clicks away from creating a "good vibes" board on Pinterest if we want, but also 20 seconds away from losing peace if our phone doesn't load it fast enough.
Ah, peace. You convince us you are present in the next drink, or the next season of a show, or in the next misuse of our time. You may be there for a moment, but you don't ever last.
Oh, peace, replace anxiety. Please.
The word peace has a really broad meaning. It's associated with a lot of different things, hobbies, or places. Hence, the spa. The Hebrew word, Shalom, is something most TV shows say to make us laugh, but did you know that when people use it, especially in the Old Testament, it actually translates to wholeness, well-being, and fullness of blessing.
Did you also know that if you looked up 'Jesus' in the dictionary you would find the definition: "a man who is whole, well, and full of blessing."
Jesus IS the complete and perfect package of wholeness, wellness, and blessing a human person could ever be. This man is peace personified and He exists to help us reach the wholeness, well-being, and blessing He lived by. We want to be like this!
If we have Jesus.. if we think about Him, love Him, talk to Him, and depend on Him, His peace just flows in and we give that right back to the world, and our very self.
If you're anything like me you are intrigued, but need to break down these three powerful human nature meanings.
Wholeness: being unbroken or good mental and physical health.
This wholeness is both body and soul. So let's share practical ways to be whole.
Set a routine to follow at least 3-5 times a week -- schedules feed the soul
Drink 50+ ounces of water
Eat breakfast, everyday
Eat (at least) 2-3 fruits and veggies a day
Study something for 25 minutes of your day (a book, a topic, politics, social issues, health and fitness)
Play (workout, walk, hike, move)
Clean your room, car, or closet
Use lotion on your skin
Wash your face
State the obvious, you've been taught all this since pre-K, but I guess it's taught at a young age for a reason. Maintaining routines to establish order and balance in our lives, therefore in our minds, is so essential to peace. Most times we are lacking peace because our basic physical needs are not met or we are procrastinating cleaning, ha.
Not only that, but what you are doing now is beneficial in the long run. Whatever "seeds" (aka things up there^) you are planting now will bear fruit in the days to come.
It's time to plant physical GOODNESS.
Spiritual Ways to be whole:
Things to do daily (repetition is therapeutic & prayer is powerful)
A rosary a day
A divine mercy chaplet a day
A scripture a day (just use the days readings)
A devotion/prayer to a Saint
Things to do to protect your Peace, aka your relationship with Jesus:
Set boundaries with co-workers, friends, and family that overwhelm you
Don't be so available via text (limit the people you are available for)
Pray for those you are setting boundaries with
Take responsibility for what you allow yourself to sit around, hear, and listen to
Take a day to do nothing so you don't have to feel trapped in the pressure to "do"
Learn to rest not quit
Stop blaming/venting with others and turn to prayer
Hold your tongue in a moment of anger
Avoid situations that temp you and misguide you
You can say 'no'
Remove toxic relationships
Stand up for yourself (virtuously)
Take 20 minutes to pray for a goal or dream so you don't lose sight of it
Draw or Create
Repent your sins
Well-being: Comfortable, healthy, happy
Comfort. Security. Protection.
We are well in need of atmosphere's of protection. No one's manipulating you, messing with you, loving you for the wrong reasons, you are emotionally secure, therefore, happiness is naturally present within.
How many areas of your life, within your day-to-day routine, are you genuinely present -- not sitting on the edge of your seat waiting for someone, something, to erupt and disturb your peace? This is should not normal for us, and if it is, we are constantly anxious. Any realization you have of something or someone disturbing your peace must be brought to the light.
Unhealthy well-being looks like this:
Someone not protecting your privacy, time alone
(Feelings of) Punishment on yourself (or from others) for messing up
Withdrawing from a social life
Preoccupation with insecurities like your physical presence, weight, needing to wear makeup, etc
Situations pressuring you to discomfort
Never desiring alone time
Having no trustworthy friends or adults in your circle
Letting everyone be vulnerable with you, at any moment
Venting about the same issues, everyday without change
Spending hours upon hours on social media
Chasing desires that are bad for you
Negativity -- focusing on what is going wrong
Not investing in yourself
Always having to explain yourself, and always saying yes
Mental escape, fantasy, mindless drinking, and recreational drugs
So, our thoughts and environments invoke our emotions. If you are anxious or uneasy, and can't figure out why, chances are something is disturbing your well-being and it might not be you.
The foundation of your peace, aka your relationship with Jesus, has to be made, then grounded, and later protected. Set yourself solidly on Jesus' truth and you will solidify your actions because His grace will make itself manifested in you and teach you how to handle yourself.
Know truth. Protect truth. Preach to yourself some of the Gospel's goodness everyday, and focus on what you need.
Fullness of Blessing
'dis one is my favorite
Blessing: God's favor, love, and protection
In order to "advance towards God" aka, be holy, aka live as a Christian, you have to let God love you, bless you, and feed you. You have to let His blessing (in word, prayer, or others) affirm you and speak to you. If you are not receiving anything of Him or from Him, you are simply preaching and living a "good" life. This is not enough, there is room for more.
After seeking room and openness for greater wholeness and well-being from the lists above, you have now created room for God to make yourself a blessed being. A being infused with supernatural and divine Grace. This insane divinity is peace overload.
Love yourself for God's sake because He loves us more than we love ourselves.
He lays His life, breath, hands, and love on us. "In Him we live and move and have our being!" (Acts)
Holiness, this fullness of blessing, is not in "saying pretty things," or even thinking and feeling them, but allowing every Grace He gives us to soften and change our hearts to seeing, hearing, knowing, and loving His utter Goodness; His love. AND even the tough and emotional parts of your life may be the exact thing, the exact GIFT, to get you back in His arms. Which is where He wants you to be.
Receiving the blessing is not just "changing habits" but transforming your whole heart and mind. You are going beyond natural humanity, and going further into a fundamental level of knowing, living, loving, grasping reality, and seeing the world. All senses are revitalized and opened up to this ultimate praise and thanksgiving.
Praise, man! It's the euphoria of a concert or sports event. It's belting the lyrics of your fave song in the car with the windows down. It's dancing like no one is watching. These unique and rare human experiences take us on a new level, right?
Eventually when we learn how to receive the blessings, the goodness of life, we praise God in return. And to praise a perfect Being who does everything for our benefit, gives everything for love of us, and exists for our needs, only leaves us with deep, unshakable peace because He doesn't need it, we do.
We need to be filled with Love. We need to praise someone perfect in this godforsaken world to have peace in knowing it's all good.
Meet the Author:
Shannon is an energetic family girl who loves the Lord. She serves ministry in Philly and works closely to young girls and Theology of the Body. Shannon writes, prays, reads, and gets her fitness on in her free time. She is the Director of More Goodness Now and has a podcast in the same name that you can listen to here: anchor.fm/moregoodness