As Christians, we know that finding peace starts with a relationship with Jesus. But, sometimes even if we have a strong faith, we can get sidetracked. This especially happens during busy times of year, such as the fall when school starts and the holiday season hits.
Suddenly our peace flees us and we feel just as stressed and anxious as everyone else. And then, grumpiness sets in. Resentments resurface and we complain. When we don’t have peace about our circumstances and relationships, it’s hard to be happy. Unfortunately, the holiday season has a way of reminding us of our financial challenges and our family troubles. Finding peace again is essential to enjoying the real meaning of Christmas and forgiving others who hurt us. Peace is the foundation on which everything else rests. So, obviously we need to refocus on Jesus. How do we do that?
Finding peace starts with Jesus
Worship to change focus
One of my favorite ways to shift my focus back to Christ is through worship. Worship music that emphasizes his care and love for us really helps change the mood. It also helps crowd out negative thoughts and emotions. There’s a reason they say, “Music soothes the savage beast.” It truly can have a remarkably calming effect when you’re feeling cranky or stressed out. One of the reasons music is so powerful is its connection to our emotions. The right music can instill feelings in us simply through a song. So, music that focuses on Jesus can help us in finding peace again.
It’s also been shown to have an effect on physiological functions. Music can influence our heart rate, pulse, and blood pressure. It can lower levels of stress hormones in our bodies. Slow, quiet music is usually best for inspiring a calm mood, but you can experiment to find what works for you. This is even true for worship music. Try different styles and genres to see how it affects your sense of calming peace.
Meditation to Change Focus
One of the keys to finding peace is meditating on God’s Word. This doesn’t mean that we need to spend hours studying the Bible or praying. It simple means keeping his Word always before us and repeating it to ourselves throughout the day. This might mean putting memory cards in high frequency places or it might mean chanting under our breath. Or, it may take on a different form. But, no matter which form our meditation takes, the main point of such exercises is to focus attention on Jesus, eliminating distractions and intrusive thoughts. We need to let our circumstances melt away.
The Bible in Psalms 1:1 says, “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”
God promises that if we meditate on his Word, we will prosper (do not misinterpret this to mean wealth). The Holy Spirit will enable us to let go of the anxiety and stress over our circumstances and relationships and experience his peace. But, we must do this regularly and often, not just once in a while.
Extra benefits of meditation
Meditation also offers a wide range of other benefits, not just mental and spiritual ones. And, the effects are long-lasting. When you meditate on God’s Word, you’ll find yourself feeling calmer and noting improvements in your physical well-being long after your meditation session ends. Meditation on who God is, his Word, and his presence helps to diminish the mental overload that can overwhelm you (Luke 10:40-41), leading to less stress. This renewed state can often provide you with clarity when it comes to the issues you face throughout your life. You will be better equipped to know and understand what God is doing in your life.
Your physical health will improve, too. Some of the health benefits of meditation include decreased depression symptoms, lessened anxiety, reduction in chronic pain, improved sleep, and less frequent tension headaches, among others.
Finding Peace=More Joy
Focusing on Jesus requires us to take our focus off of the things that make us sad, anxious, stressed out, frustrated, disappointed, worried, and angry. And, Jesus promises us peace when we abide in him. When we no longer focus on all those negative things, our minds are free to focus on all the good things. We show more gratitude and kindness. And, we find ourselves soaking in a quiet joy, the joy that Jesus offers us that transcends our circumstances.
Don’t know where to start? Want a tool to help you meditate on God’s Word, focus on gratitude, and deepen your faith? Check out our 30 Day Gratitude Devotional Journal. Using an inductive style approach, it offers a gratitude centered Bible verse each day along with writing prompts for guided journaling about what Jesus says to you through the verse, life application, and prayer.