Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
Is it really possible to be at peace with yourself? That’s a tough question and one that strikes at the heart of who we are.
I read this interesting quote, If we want to make peace, with ourselves and with the world at large, we have to look closely at the source of all of our wars. And I think that means us—you and me.
The biggest problem we have is within ourselves. We are complex human beings with a wide range of emotions to deal with every single minute. You can choose to be happy or sad, relaxed or uptight, friendly or unapproachable. The amazing thing is that once you learn how to be at peace yourself, you can be at peace with others. Not always easy, but it is possible. All too often we get down on ourselves and we become our own worst enemy.
Life Cannot Be Controlled
The problem is that life can’t always be controlled or manipulated according to our own agenda. It just doesn’t work that way. Sometimes we get angry or lash out when life turns sour, or we are rejected for some reason. It hurts, it’s unfair, and we become agitated and upset. What explains the unfairness of life and unpredictable events that throw us out of our routine?
There are many situations in which we have no control over what happens, no ability to affect the outcome, but no matter what occurs it is possible to stay balanced. Such equanimity gives us strength and a sense of being unshakable in a world that is constantly making demands and creating challenges. We never know what is going to take place or when. Nothing is predictable, permanent, secure, controllable, or dependable. Everything is subject to change in every moment. When we are at peace within ourselves we can embrace such change with greater sanity and dignity.
How often have you felt at war with yourself? Reprimanding yourself for something you did (or didn’t do) and you replay self-destructive messages over and over in your head, messages you’d picked up from your parents, teachers, TV or any other major influence in your life. It seems the last thing society wants—and that includes you—is to be at peace with yourself.
The amazing fact is this: God has our best interests at heart.
But deep inside you and me is a place of peace and rest. But it takes stillness, quietness, and a faith in a loving God. The amazing fact is this: God has our best interests at heart. And nothing could be better.
Why not make a decision to like yourself. This may sound funny to ask, but what kind of relationship do you have with yourself?
Start Getting Along with Yourself
The truth is you can’t get along with anyone else until you get along with you. Sometimes there’s a lot of self-loathing going on, and we need God’s grace to remove the feeling of ‘I hate myself’, especially those who may have been abused as children. It can take a long time for inner healing to take place.
I encourage you to find out what God says about you in his Word. Ask God to help you change your self-image. Because enjoying life and enjoying other people all begins with knowing who God says you are and truly liking yourself.
Comparing and competing with other people is one of the fastest ways to lose your peace and joy.
But here’s the big one. Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparing and competing with other people is one of the fastest ways to lose your peace and joy. There is such freedom in learning to be happy with who you are, without being jealous of someone else’s skills or achievements.
Accept other people just the way they are. Sometimes we wear ourselves out trying to change people. We think they should be like us. That’s impossible. We are all born with different God-given personalities and were never meant to be the same.
How often have marriages come apart when one tried to change the other? It doesn’t work. Sure, we all have areas where we truly need to change, but only God can change us. The best thing we can do for others is to pray for them and accept them right where they are.
Let God Have Control of Your Life
Proverbs 16:9 (Amplified Bible) says, “A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure.”
You may have a plan for your life but God may have a better plan. He is smarter than we are, He wants us to place our trust in His great plan for our lives.
I have heard someone say that trust requires unanswered questions. In the moment, we may not always understand ‘why’, but like the Psalmist David we can say, “My times are in Your hands” (Psalm 31:15 – AMPC). Later on, we’ll look back and discover the Lord had our best in mind all along.
I encourage you to continue trusting God even when things don’t make sense. It’s one sure way to enjoy your life and experience more peace than ever before.
Millions of people pray the Serenity Prayer, which is based on the Lord’s Prayer, but most have never read the last eight lines of the prayer:
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it;
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
That’s where the power is! There is power when you surrender to God the very things you’ve been trying to take control of from him.