Peace and Joy are probably the two most sought after commodities (if we can call them that) on the face of the earth. We might call them significance, being respected, self-esteem or having “made it”, but the reality that is sought after is Peace and Joy.
The following are 10 ways that I have found to increase my peace. Feel free to add your own.
1. Learn the art of saying “no” graciously.
You can never truly say “yes” without saying “no”. We all are limited to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. We cannot do everything, but we must do something. The key to peace is doing the right thing with our lives. When we know what we are supposed to say “yes” to, the “no” becomes easier.
2. Don’t wait for a vacation.
Don’t live your life so frenetically that a vacation is required to bring peace. Our daily lives should be filled and overflowing with peace. We were created to work 6 days and rest 1. A vacation should be about focused time with family, not a needed break in order to keep going.
3. Integrity. Always be who you are.
Peace in some ways can be defined as a lack of war. Seems obvious, I know, but let’s follow that thought through: Integrity is all about being whole/one/complete (comes from the same root word as integer – shout out to all the math fans out there). If you are someone different at work than you are at home, than you are at church – who are you really?
4. Improvement. Get better daily.
Perfection is impossible, but improvement is essential. If you are not growing you are dying. Not only should our existence in the world make it a better place, but we ourselves should be better for having lived the day before. Do not accept that status quo. Know where you are, where you are going…and keep walking.
5. Systems. Systematize areas of weakness so they cease to be worrisome.
We all have weaknesses. Blindspots. Systems have the potential to remove that nagging worry from the back of your mind that you are forgetting something…that you have left something undone…that you are about to fail. This could be as simple as sharing a calendar on google with your spouse or as complex as an annual checklist of facilities maintenance items. Whatever troubles you – create a system (with accountability) that will handle it.
6. Clean your desk.
For those who work at a desk this is literal. For those who do not, it is figurative. My day off is Friday, so by the end of every Thursday I work at leaving my desk clean. I don’t mean dust free (though I should probably do that as well), but everything that came to my desk has been dealt with, and therefore doesn’t have to live on in my mind over my “weekend”.
7. Reduce debt…reduce stress.
No explanation necessary. Just get it done.
8. Communicate with your spouse.
This person shares your life. Stop abusing them by leaving them in the dark, and you will no longer feel at odds with them and guilty for causing the problem. Share calendars, checkbooks and constantly update each other on both.
9. Finish things.
Unfinished projects are a necessity in order to prioritize your family over your work, but they should remain at the top of your to-do-list until they are completely done. They will nag, worry and frustrate you until you close the file on them, so break down big projects into achievable steps so that “progress” and “on schedule” are the way you view them.
10. Be centered on the center of the universe.
Try throwing a clay vessel without centering the clay first. It can’t be done. The vessel will pull itself apart as the wheel speeds up. God is the only healthy center, every other focus of life will tear you apart as life speeds up. Start on your knees, in His Word and the rest of the day will fit instead of fight.