This past Sunday we wrapped up our December series, "Experiencing Peace." The peace that God invites us to experience is a peace that sustains, rather than removes, us from the chaos and storms of our lives. This peace becomes possible as we learn to trust that NOTHING in our lives (past, present or future) is outside of the realm of God's love. God is continually offering His healing and redemption in our lives. Even wounds longs hidden, if brought to His tender care, can find redemption and purpose in His hands. Our most shameful and painful memories then become a conduit though which we experience God's love and healing. Our healed wounds become our greatest gift. They become for us a tangible experience of God's peace that guards our heart and transcends our understanding. This healing and redemption isn't only a gift for ourselves, but also as we share our lives, it becomes a conduit for healing to those around us.
In Philippians 4-6-9we are invited to bring to God all our worries and cares, to practice gratitude and to think on what is true, honorable, pure, lovely and good. We are encouraged to "dwell on" and "practice" these things so that the peace of God will be with us. God's peace is a gift. And yet, by "dwelling" and "practicing" we create space in our interior world to receive it. As we practice we find that we are able to be at peace and handle situations that used to baffle us. We find that we are in God's peace more than not and that He has done for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Invitation this week: When you feel anxiety, worry or stress set aside five to ten minutes when you can be alone in a quiet place. Choose a posture that is comfortable, perhaps sitting or lying down, and close your eyes.
Recall the stressful situation and "freeze-frame" the thoughts, feelings, and sensations that arise. Observe where and how the stress appears in your mind and body. // Shift your focus from your anxiety to your physical heart area. Imagine your heart pumping each breath through your body. Relax into your breathing and feel your heart warm. Hold your attention here for about ten seconds.
Now remember a happy time or picture someone you love. Feel the sensation that comes from such joy and love. Send that feeling to your whole being. // Then from that loving place ask your heart, "What would be an effective response to this situation? What would help reduce future stress?" // Listen to what your heart says. Visualize yourself taking this action and feeling peaceful. Say to yourself, "I am letting go of tension. Peace is within me."
When you are ready, open your eyes. You might want to journal about this experience so you can return to these insights later and act upon them. (adapted from HeartMath's "Freeze-Frame" technique)