Take These Steps to Find Inner Peace

By Judy Mills

Photo by Emily Fletke

Photo by Emily Fletke

I had to find inner peace.  The lack of it was affecting every area of my life.

The feelings of anxiety hit first in my work. Years of experience had prepared me for being part of an exciting new project — so why did I feel so inadequate?

But there I sat, staring at my computer screen, my body fidgeting, my heart racing — too fearful to stop trying and too anxious to work.

Like the chain reaction of a domino falling, the residual effects of my stressed-out emotions made the daily activities of life difficult. My typically structured day morphed into hours on our green sofa — remote in my hand and Netflix on the screen.

You may know what I’m talking about. The absence of inner peace is like a heavy burden on your chest while your mind swirls with half-formed thoughts. It’s a weight you can’t lift and a brain you can’t calm.  

An intense inner dialogue followed: “What’s wrong with me? Why am I so weak? Why can’t I suck it up? You’ve got to toughen up!”

If we were sitting together, I’d ask you: “Where do you go, what do you do when you experience such angst and distress?”  

I searched the Internet and found more articles on how to overcome anxiety than you and I could read in a lifetime. One write-up said peace isn’t a feeling; it’s a choice.

Yet I know from experience, I can feel peaceful. I’ve experienced it — even in circumstances that fought against it. Besides, I don’t think God intends for us to live without it. God says he’ll give us peace: Because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel.

I’ve sought inner peace in so many ways. Through the time mentioned above and others like it, here’s what I’m learning:

PEACE IS A PROCESS

Step 1: Believe in God’s goodness. This takes time. Sometimes trusting God takes hours, days, or much longer.

Step 2: Acknowledge what is overwhelming you. Call out the effect it’s having on your emotions. No sense denying it, so why try.

Step 3: Get precise about what it means to be loved by God, and what it means to know God is with you and for you. Look for specific promises. Turn to these truths found in the Bible and find hope.

Step 4: Let truth be the loudest voice in your head.  

PEACE IS A PROTECTOR

This season of self-doubt brought with it a paralyzing fear of “You can’t...You’re not… “ All were leading to one conclusion: “You’re the wrong person for this job.”  

When I finally turned to the exercise above, I discovered this truth: My kindness is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.

The statement hit me like a ton of bricks — in a good way! God would give me what I needed. He would empower me to do the work.  

The more I read the verse, the more release I felt.

Ripping out a page from my journal, I wrote it down and took the paper with me everywhere I went. I read it while waiting in Trader Joe’s checkout line and standing squashed on the subway train. I placed it beside my bed to read first thing in the morning and last thing at night.  

Whenever the anxious thoughts and feelings came, I’d pull out my coffee-stained and crumbled sheet of truth. It wasn’t long before clarity and a sense of well-being came. This calmness protected me and brought me out of the fear that caused so much anxiety.  

In what circumstance or fear do you need peace? What truth might lead you to it?