We live in a loud and noisy world.
Everyday, there are constant demands for your time and your attention through advertising, your job, your family, social media, the news, traffic, not to mention politicians and what seems like 24 hr year round elections now.
Not long ago, I was doing some work outside and we had our hammer drills running, which are loud. Someone across the street was having a tree cut down so there were chainsaws and a chipper running. Another person had music blaring out of their garage. There were multiple people mowing their yard. Kids were yelling and screaming from a nearby elementary, and there were sirens blaring from two different directions. Not exactly the epitome of a “peaceful” neighborhood.
It can be difficult to focus with all the noise. It can be difficult to have peace.
The truth is, much of modern society is designed to keep you from being at peace.
The media needs you worried and concerned so you keep watching. Politicians from every side want you scared so you keep voting for them and giving money to their cause. Social media is screaming for your attention. Advertisers are constantly trying to make you feel inadequate or that you are missing something so you will buy their products. And on and on and on it goes.
We are too often in a hurry to get to the next thing.
- 73% of people exhibit physical and psychological symptoms of stress, (1)
- hyper-tension is on the rise
- suicide rates are climbing
Is it any wonder that more people than ever are on anti-anxiety medicine?
- Over half of American adults take an average of four prescription pills per day. (2)
- Since 1997, prescription drug use has increased 85%. (2)
- 1 in 6 adults is on some form of psychiatric drug, mostly anti-depressant or anxiety related medicines. (3)
Peace, calm, an overall sense of satisfaction, and happiness are harder and harder to come by in this world.
We often think of peace as calm and quiet. That is a wonderful form of peace. I believe that is one of the reasons why there is an increased interest in outdoors activities like hiking and camping and kayaking. People are seeking peace and quiet connection.
There are even technology free zones popping up, restaurants and places that prohibit the use of phones and tablets and laptops. All these in an effort to create connection and a more peaceful environment.
Not long ago, there were four of us men that loaded up my truck with canoes and gear for an 8 day fishing trip. We drove 1000 miles northwest to the boundary waters of Canada on the northern border of Minnesota.
We went about 20 miles by canoe and portage (which is where you carry your canoe and gear over land from one lake to the next), until we reached an island in the middle of a lake and that is where we set up camp.
Here’s the thing, we were completely on our own; no electricity, no amenities, no nearby stores, no people, no cell service. The only man made sounds were us, 6 other people who canoed past us, and the one plane that flew low enough to hear. That was it for 7 days.
While most of you would not want to deal with the rugged camping conditions and what it took to get there, many like the idea of the peaceful setting. I mean this was the view from my hammock!
For many people, that is what is viewed as peace; away from it all, slower pace, quiet, calm.
While I was there I actually saw a better definition of peace than that.
Can you find the peace in this photo?
Yes, that is a trapped canoe that has been there for many years. And I know that the rush of water, the crushing of the canoe, and the downed trees looks like anything but the definition of peace.
Ever felt like that canoe? Life just keeps coming and the pressure gets greater and greater and you are trapped and being crushed. And. It. Never. Stops.
Many of us find ourselves there with constant noise and motion and you stuck in the middle.
Once in a while we need to get away and change the setting for a few days. This is true, but the trick is NOT escape. Most days, we need to find peace in what is, not in what we wish was.
Let’s zoom in on the photo to see the peace.
In the middle of all the noise and the rushing water is this little pool of calm water. That is real peace.
Real peace carries us through the chaos. Real peace is finding rest for your soul in the busyness of everyday life. Real peace is finding quiet in your heart among the noise.
So how do we find real peace?
It starts with admitting we can’t control everything.
On Thursday afternoon of our time in Canada, a storm blew in and got worse and worse as the night wore on. One of our two tents had failed and we all four ended up in one tent.
Outside the wind blew gusts over 45 miles an hour, it rained and rained and rained. There was some thunder and lightning and there we were on a little island in the middle of a lake miles from civilization on our own. In a tent. Yet, we laughed and we even all slept in peace. Why? We chose peace.
We couldn’t control the storm. We did what we could to provide shelter and then that was it. At that point, all we could do was control our response to the storm. We chose peace.
You can’t control everything. You can only do what you can and then choose your response.
Peace come from gratitude.
Gratitude is a rare thing. Our society is way too obsessed with what we don’t have and what someone else says we need.
One of my clients has a sign hanging in her kitchen that says, “Gratitude turns what you have into enough.”
When we choose to be thankful for what we have instead of lamenting what we do not, we find so much more peace in life. We all have so much for which to be thankful.
Here’s the thing about storms, they always end. The storm lasted well into Friday, but then when the storm was gone, it was beautiful with crisp blue skies, even a giant rainbow and then Saturday morning we saw this.
Whatever storm you are in, will end. Whatever chaos exists in your life, you can find peace.
Choose peace. Choose a quiet heart. Choose to find peace every day. Even in the noise.
I am a person of faith. I know not everyone believes the way I do, but if you want to know more about finding peace from my faith perspective, keep reading.
While there are many complicated factors involved including physiology, chemistry, genetics, and such, I believe much of the issue people deal with every day related to peace is a spiritual issue. Regardless of your beliefs, here are some things to consider to help you find peace.
God knew this is something we would deal with. There are 429 mentions of peace in Holy scripture.
Here are a few…
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Numbers 6:26 “The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.”
Isaiah 32:17 “The work of righteousness will be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever.”
Romans 5:1 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
2 Thessalonians 3:16 “Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all.”
I believe real peace comes from God.
It is sustained through prayer and a life following the purpose God has for you.
- (1) https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/mental-health/stress/related/stress-statistics/#gref
- (2) https://www.consumerreports.org/prescription-drugs/too-many-meds-americas-love-affair-with-prescription-medication/
- (3) https://www.advisory.com/daily-briefing/2016/12/14/what-psychiatric-drugs-are-americans-taking