September is on its way out with false promises of summer still lingering with its predictable fog and nostalgic beauty on the Central Coast of California. With the passing of summer comes the expectation of a cool, crisp fall, its beauty unmistakable in the turning of leaves, and air that holds that unmistakable chill of winter following not far behind. I look at my life right now and the uncertainties that surround me on my journey and I wonder what the remainder of this year will look like. I face changes ahead. Not only with the exciting publication of my first book and all that is ahead with that endeavor, but with some personal things that sometimes have the opportunity to challenge my peace. Scary things. Will God come through this time? What if He asks me to do something I don’t want to do? Where do these thoughts come from? Surely not from the God I know. Then it has to be the enemy of my soul. He doesn’t want me to find peace. He is out to defeat me every single chance he gets. He cannot read my mind. He isn’t omniscient, like God is. He can only introduce the thoughts to see if you are going to agree with him. And he uses the same ones over and over again. The realization that I am at war with an enemy seems to drape across my mind every day. Ignoring it only brings me anguish and anxiety. So, what to do?
I figure if God says we can have perfect peace if our minds are stayed on Him, then there has to be a way to practice keeping my mind on Him. Peace is a fruit of the spirit; not my spirit but His Spirit. It is who He is. If I stay in His presence then that is where peace is. It is His peace I will walk in. Here are the five things I do to stay in that place.
1. ♥ I am endeavoring to be constantly alert to what I am thinking and what fills my thought life.
I have learned to recognize the negative thought as not from me. If it brings fear, anxiety, or worry into my head then I know it is not from me. Our enemy cannot read our minds but he certainly can bring thoughts in. If we agree with the thought by saying it and entertaining it a strong hold develops and before I know it I am obsessed with the thing. I immediately push it out of my head by saying “I love you Jesus” over and over until it leaves. Or if the Holy Spirit brings a scripture to mind then I repeat that over and over. Did you know you can’t think two thoughts at the same time? If you, by the force of your will, say His name or scripture in place of the thought enough times, the thought leaves. It cannot stay. If you are persistent and don’t give up saten will finally leave you for a while. Oh, he’ll be back but after a while he is easily recognized.
2. ♥ I start reading scripture that pertains to what I need at the moment.
Write them out and meditate on them. Pray them over yourself. Put yourself right into the scripture…”Lord, I thank you that because I dwell in your secret place of you, most high, I shall remain stable and fixed within your shadow..” “Thank you Lord for giving your angels charge over me to accompany me in all my ways, and thank you that even if a thousand fall by my side and 10 thousand my right hand, it will not come near me, for I will be inaccessible in that secret place.” (Psalm 91)
3. ♥ I refuse to allow negativity rule me.
Learn to guard your heart. Don’t fill it with things that bring you fear. Don’t allow people to do it either. There are all sorts of things the enemy provides for us to lose our footing; forwarded emails, facebook links, movies, TV, and gossip to name a few. What may bother one person may not bother someone else. So don’t judge others and what they are doing, just work on you and what you can tolerate and keep your peace.
4. ♥ I watch my words and what I am saying.
The power of life and death are in the tongue. You actually have the power to speak life into yourself and others lives or you can speak death. If you are speaking doubt of what God can do then guess what? You will believe it and there goes your peace.
5. ♥ Take deep breaths…in– of his fragrance of peace..out– with the toxic negativity of bondage, fear, and doubt.
Picture the darkness leaving your spirit, soul, and body each time you breathe out. Picture His breath entering into you as you breathe in. Use your imagination. Get in a quiet place, shut you mind down and focus on Him, and take a little time to just breath. In, slowly, of His peace; and out slowly with all the toxins.
If you will practice these things you will find His peace. You might find there are more ways that will work for you as well. I invite you to share!
You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You. Isaiah 26:3 amp.