My word for 2020 was “steadfast.” I soon learned that in order to be steadfast, I had to find peace. Actually, I had to fight for peace in my life.
Three weeks before I left for the Athletes Unlimited tournament this past fall, I found myself growing anxious. The anxiety I was feeling was brought about by my wanting to do well and fearing failure. When I recognized this in myself, I reached out to a sports psychologist I know and he gave me the tools to help me deal with these feelings so I could compete at my best.
One of the things I realized was that discipline is a key ingredient to peace. I wrote out a mission for myself for the tournament that went beyond how I would play. I dedicated myself to practicing spiritual disciplines in order to allow me to live in a peaceful state. I knew that if I am at peace, I can then love God more freely and be a more useful vessel to the people around me. If I focus on God, I won’t be distracted by the things that cause me to look inward.
Peace is only found with a non-anxious presence. Jesus is that non-anxious presence in any and every circumstance. This is what I want to emulate. We are in a crazy time in our country — a time filled with unrest in all facets of life, including racial tension, political conflicts and COVID. I don’t want to ignore these things because they are all important, but my goal is to be a non-anxious presence in the midst of it all.
There have been plenty of times in my life when I have not allowed peace to rule my heart. But as I look back at those times, I find myself that much more motivated to practice allowing God’s peace to take over, no matter what is happening around me. If I can practice cheerful, willing, joyful obedience, I will then know the peace of God, the perspective He holds, and be able to trust in Him more deeply. And I know, from observing others who have the peace of God in their lives, that this speaks volumes to our world about what life with Christ is like. In this world where we don’t come across a lot of people who seem at peace, God gives His followers gifts which don’t depend on circumstances.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” — Philippians 4:6
Through prayer and supplication, the peace of God will be given to us. Get alone with God, rest in Him, and then listen to His voice. Develop the discipline to put your faith into action. God promises a peace that surpasses all understanding. So in a world where peace is impossible and doesn’t make any sense, we can share the hope of God.
This season, don’t allow the stress and anxiety to take over. Find joy in the little things. Enjoy your Christmas tree. Take in the simple joys of lights, music and laughter with family and friends. With simplicity in life and trust in God comes the peace He promises us.
— Janie Reed, USA Softball player
Janie Reed is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing articles and opinions. Check out Janie’s Increase profile here.
If you enjoyed this article, please share: