I recently read an article by a woman who was trying to find peace in her life. She talked about how peace was the real difference between Martha and Mary. It wasn’t Martha’s work that was the lesser portion, but that she went about it with agitation and frustration with the lack of help she was getting from her sister.
How many times do we find ourselves agitated and frustrated?
How many times do we tense up and let the work we have and our relations with other people bind us so tightly that we aren’t free to love and give charitably?
“Guard your peace.” This line has been on my mind since I read the words. It reminds me that I have the power to nurture peace in my heart. I have the power to let Christ into every situation I find myself in, no matter how it makes me feel. I have the power to remember that Christ is present in all things, but I have to let Him be. I have to see Him in my work, in my troubles, in the people that surround me, and all throughout my day. I must guard my peace that comes in and through Him.
If you find yourself needing these words, turn to Christ and let Him in.
Let Him love you.
Let Him help you.
Guard your peace.
This is what it means to be a Mary in a Martha world.
Below are 5 Ways I’ve learned to guard my peace. I hope they help you, too!
-1-Cultivate Silence Each Day:
We all have a desperate need for silence, yet it’s something that most of us not only ignore, but forcefully push to the side. Instead, we turn to things that we think will fill us: our phones, podcasts, TV shows, background music, news, conversations, social media. We use these things to drown out silence, all the while unaware that these things–when left unbridled- end up causing us anxiety and unrest in our hearts and minds. We have become so addicted to noise and static that it’s become nearly impossible for us to rest in silence.
God speaks to us in the still and quiet recesses of our hearts.
Cardinal Robert Sarah says that silence makes man more similar to God because God Himself is silence and talks in silence. If this is how we encounter God, who is the author of Peace, we must immerse ourselves in the classroom of silence.
Find time every day to make room for silence. Turn off the distractions and find a quiet place where you can be alone with God. Silence quiets our hearts and calms our anxieties because it puts us in the presence of God. Without God, and without silence, we are lost.
-2-Make Time for Prayer:
Prayer is to our soul what exercise is to our bodies. If we don’t make time for it, our souls suffer. Our souls become agitated and restless. In our hearts we crave God, and when we allow our lives to go on without making any time for God, we end up trying to fill the God-shaped hole in our hearts with all sorts of empty things. Money, power, honor, success, pleasure…none of these things have the power to transform our hearts and minds and to make us into the people that we were created to be. We were created to be in union with God, and prayer is the means by which we enter into communion with Him.
Through prayer our relationship with God is nurtured and strengthened. To neglect it is to starve our souls of that which feeds our spirits.
Set aside at least fifteen to twenty minutes a day to open up Scripture, sit with a prayer book, pray a rosary, or read some spiritual writings. I promise you, it will transform your life.
-3- Identify Stress Triggers
So many of the decisions we make out of habit are choices that are actually causing us a ton of anxiety. Think about it: How often have you found yourself going to bed much later than you know is good for you simply because you have a habit of staying up late? How often do you choose to watch TV for far longer than you should or choose to watch shows you know are not feeding your soul, simply because you feel invested in them? How much time do you spend scrolling social media or the internet, when you know it will leave you uneasy afterwards?
Look through your day and identify stress triggers. Does staying up late cause you to wake up lethargic and grumpy? Does watching smutty reality TV make you anxious and judgmental? Do you feel envious after too much time on social media, and insecure about your own qualities and worth?
Bad habits like these end up determining how we feel. Be conscious of the moments when you are overindulging in things that will ultimately cause you stress, and make it a point to cut yourself off, even when it’s difficult.
Identify the things that cause you stress throughout your day. Make better choices for yourself. Don’t be afraid to change a habit you have simply because you’ve been practicing that habit for years.
-4- Make a Daily Examination of Conscience
A great way to guard your peace is by making an examination of conscience at the end of each day. This is a great practice because it allows you to identify the moments throughout your day when you let God in, and also reminds you of the moments you failed to open your life to God. This practice will call you to be more intentional about the day you are about to wake up to.
Before going to bed look back throughout your day. Be grateful for all the moments God was with you, be thoughtful about the things you could’ve done better, and make a resolution to be intentional with the next day to come.
-5- Go to Confession
Sin is a huge cause for anxiety. We were created for communion with God and since sin separates us from communion with him, sin has the power to steal our peace.
Going to Confession is the best way to safeguard your peace. The power of Reconciliation brings peace, because it restores us to the heart of the Father and empowers us with the grace we need to overcome the things that bring us pain, cause us sorrow and self doubt, and make us anxious.
Go to Confession as soon as you can. God will meet you there and bring your heart the much needed peace you need. Remember these wise words my priest told me in Confession recently: “Jesus is not angry with you…Jesus is WAITING for you, because he LOVES you.”
I hope this helps! Is there something you do that helps bring you peace? Let me know in the comments below! Keep fighting the good fight, and remember St. Therese’s words: “Let us go forward in peace, our eyes upon heaven, the only one goal of our labors.”
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