As we remember and honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. every January, I thought it only befitting that I honor him and his legacy of PEACE with my personal search for peace in my life. My pursuit started when some years ago, I realized that I was really tired of being “sick and tired!” Sick and tired of all the drama and stress that had become a normal part of my everyday life. I came to this realization only because I finally took the time to take a good long look at myself and my relationships which included both those at home and at work and I didn’t like what I saw. It was at that point that I made a conscious decision to start diligently seeking to have peace in my life and in the midst of my relationships. But how do I do that? I started referring back to the many lessons learned through all of the ministries that I have been privileged to be a part of over the years since I started seeking a personal relationship with God. And one common thread that connects all of them is the fact that I can find the solution to how to handle the issues in my life if I just rely on God’s word and to also be willing to accept responsibility and face the truth about my disobedience to it. Once I
started reading and studying His word, I realized that most of us (including me at the time), don’t know that we have actually already been given peace. “What,” you say! Yes, it’s true. The problem is that we don’t know how to apply it in
our lives. Ok, so now I realized that I had to re-think how I was praying. Instead of repeatedly asking God to give me peace (something that I already have), I had to start asking Him to help me with being able to maintain peace when I am faced with challenges and met with opposition.
Now that I’ve learned how to pray, I had to make sure that if I was going to go to God and petition Him with my request, I had to make doubly sure that my relationship with Him was in order. This meant that I had to be willing to fully trust Him to handle the situations in my life while I maintained calmness and peace as He worked. By doing so, I realized that this showed God I had faith that He can handle the petitions of my heart. What sense does it make to pray and ask God for His help with dealing with a situation and then turn around and take it back and try to handle it yourself? Good question!
Moving on to the next challenge. FYI, this quest for peace doesn’t get any easier. If you ask me, this is the hardest challenge of them all! Now that I felt that I had peace with God and had finally learned how to trust and lean on
him, I had to face myself and be held accountable for my actions. I had to humble myself and face the good, the bad and the ugly of it all! I knew that it wouldn’t be pretty but I was willing to swallow my pride and humble myself in search of authentic peace in my life! Authentic peace is when your “inside” matches your “outside.” In other words, I had to learn how to keep the “strife” out of my life. What’s strife? Strife can be defined as bickering, arguing or any heated disagreement. It has taken me years to finally get to the point where I could hold my tongue. But I will never forget when I finally realized that I had gotten it. My husband and I were in the midst of a heated disagreement and it was beginning to escalate when I heard God speak into my spirit, “That’s not peace.” Well, the next statement that I made probably shocked me more than it shocked my husband! I simply said to him, “I want PEACE more than I need to be right.” Just to let you in on a little secret, being right is highly overrated! Immediately, that diffused the situation and we were able to have a rationale and calm discussion. By my willingness to be the one to go the extra mile to be the “peacemaker,” I am more aware of how I respond which helps me to maintain peace in the midst of challenges. By no means is this an easy task, and I continue to be challenged on a regular basis. But remembering one key
thing has helped me to remain peaceful more than not. What I have come to know is that God does not hold us accountable for what others may do to us, but He will hold us accountable for how we choose to respond in those
situations. WOW!
While I was soul searching, God really dropped a big one on me. He revealed to me that my bad behavior was also being mimicked by my children. I had to think about that one but when I started paying attention to how I interacted with my children, I was able to see it for myself and I knew that He was right. When I stood back and took a look at it, I
didn’t like what I saw again. Both of my children were treating and talking badly to one another because they were doing what they had learned to do from watching me. Ouch! That one hurt! As a result of God revealing this too me, I am now more aware of how I interact with them and what and how I speak to them. I ask God daily to help me to guard against my tongue, heart, thoughts and actions so that I am more careful to speak life and not death into the lives of my children with my words or by my actions. Anyone who has children will understand how challenging raising them can be. It is an awesome and rewarding  responsibility nonetheless! Because of this, it is in those times when I am tired or frustrated, that I have learned to stop and take a deep breadth before I respond to one of the millions of
questions my 4 yr. old asks on a daily basis! LOL! I want to be responsible for planting seeds of love in them and not make them victims of my character flaws.
Once I was able to examine my home relationships under the microscope, I was then able to carry what I learned about myself over into the workplace. I learned that I didn’t need to add my “two cents” into conversations that were
already heated and headed in negative directions. I was convicted that I needed to learn how to become more of a  listener and not so anxious to add fuel to the fire when somebody is just trying to blow off steam. I
also made a decision to not bring home the drama and negativity from the office into my home. As a result, my stress level dropped significantly and I was able to then come home with a renewed spirit and loving attitude towards my husband and children.
Learning how to walk in peace is not an easy task by no means. But what I do know, is that as long as I continue to seek it diligently on a daily basis, God will continue to grant me the patience and wisdom needed to apply it in my
everyday life. I truly believe in my heart, that because I learned how to seek His peace, it made all the difference in my attitude when I found out that I was being laid off. In that moment, I knew and felt God’s presence as He spoke to
me “Peace Be Still, I got you!” It was my ability to hear from God in the midst of what most people would consider a devastating experience, that He saw my trust in Him and then saw fit to bless me with a vision which has enabled me to now confess to all those who will listen that “There is Life After Layoff!”
 


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