“Have it your way.”
Did you know that Burger King has used this slogan since 1974? There is a reason why it has stood the test of time. It sums up our every desire. We all want to have it our way.
Life feels peaceful when everything goes according to our plan, when we hit every green light on our way into work, when our kids act the way they should, or when no one starts bothering us with their issues.
As a result, if things do not go our way, we often experience it as chaos.
Think about this for a second. If this is true, then for us to be at peace, everything must turn out the way we think it should.
When was the last time something in your life did not go as expected or a situation felt out of control? It was probably pretty recently!
That’s anxiety and it is present in us all the time. Interestingly, we did not need a pandemic to tell us about anxiety. We were anxious before any talk of COVID-19. Yet, the heightened level of anxiety we’re feeling right now can help us become more present to our emotions and nudge us to determine how we want to show up in the world.
Shouldn’t we be at peace even if things do not go our way? Traffic jams, miscommunications, downsizing, accidents, pandemics, and other catastrophes will happen. So, how do we find peace amid the chaos?
Deciding How We Want to Think
In Matthew 6:33, Jesus says, “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness.” It’s no coincidence that he says this after saying “Do not worry” in verse 25.
Similarly, in Philippians 4:8 Paul says, “…whatever is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.” Paul makes this statement only after he says, “Do not be anxious about anything.” Both Jesus and Paul are addressing our needs by suggesting a “renewing of your mind.”
This is a difficult time for many of us as we all manage ourselves through the uncertainty of this unexpected pandemic. Our thoughts can empower or disempower us to act out of peace or panic.
How can we rethink our outcomes by placing our mindset on the kingdom of God or “whatever is excellent or praiseworthy”?
We get to decide what’s worth spending our time thinking about and moving toward. For this reason, can we find time to work towards patience? Can we see an opportunity to connect on a different level? Can we look for opportunities for creativity?
Consider looking someone in the eyes and praying for them instead of only walking by. Evaluate areas for generosity. Connect with a distant friend or family member.
Deciding How We Want to Grow
What if there were opportunities in this pandemic for us to experience more peace?
- For some of us, we are learning to slow down. Have you gone for a walk lately?
- Some of us depend too much on being with others to find value. What kind of value can you find in being alone?
- For some, we have used work as a means to distract us from our kids or spouses. Can we see their beauty and why God brought them to us?
- For some of us, we need to share space. Instead of feeling impatient, irritated, or annoyed, how can we rethink the opportunity we have in front of us? Try going on an “in-home” date with your child or spouse. Ask questions intentionally about their day.
- Many of us are in financial predicaments. How can we trust God in these moments?
- Sometimes to help us think outside our perspective, it is helpful to phone a friend. Is there someone that can help us to see a problem from a different angle?
This list can go on and on, but one point is clear and available to all of us: at this moment in time we all have the opportunity to decide who we want to be and how we want to grow. We can find peace amid the chaos.
Faithwalking - June 5 & 6
About the Author
Chris Knudsen serves as the Lead Coordinator for Faithwalking in the Vineyard, a spiritual formation process that helps participants to experience ongoing transformation and develop effective practices for missional living. Originally from Columbus, Ohio, and a graduate of The Ohio State University, Chris moved to Colorado in 2005 with his wife Becca to pursue education and ministry. Prior to moving to Colorado, he was involved in the Grove City Vineyard and served as a Young Life Leader for five years in Columbus, Ohio. Chris and his wife Becca, whom he met in middle school, were married in 2004. They have two children, Eloise and Soren.
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