St. Seraphim of Sarov says, “Acquire the spirit of peace and a thousand souls around you will be saved.” How do we acquire this spirit of peace in the chaotic highway of our lives?
Practice gratitude. Find Christ in every moment. Incorporate statements of gratitude somewhere in your daily routine. Change your thoughts from, “I should be more grateful,” to, “I could be more grateful.”
Take time for silence. Our world puts great emphasis on productivity and efficiency. While these things are not inherently bad, they can be if we are pursuing them instead of taking time for God and others around us. Be intentional with planning stillness into your day. Even five minutes can help!
Take each thought captive. 2 Corinthians 10:5 instructs us to: “Take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ.” Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica also teaches about how our thoughts determine our lives. If our thoughts are not at peace, we cannot be at peace. If you start having negative thoughts about yourself or others, pause. Take a moment to reflect and ask yourself if this thought is representative of unconditional love. If it is not, try your best not to dwell on it. These thoughts draw us away from our true selves.
Shun comparison. Comparison really is the thief of joy… and also peace. We all have many unique talents and gifts to offer the world. When we compare ourselves to others, we cannot live fully into who we are created to be.
Don’t judge yourself. Judging ourselves can sometimes be confused with humility. It can feel like we are trying to improve, but we are really just beating ourselves up. This judgment brings us farther away from peace and from Christ. It is telling God that we don’t believe he really can forgive us. Don’t be discouraged if you have days where you aren’t grateful, don’t take time for silence, or dwell in negative thoughts. This happens to us all. Part of the beauty of life is that we get a new start to each day!
Pay attention to what disturbs your peace. Again, do not judge yourself when your peace is disturbed by something. Talk with a trusted mentor about how to address the issues in your life. Being stressed or anxious at times is a normal part of being human. You are never alone in anything.
When you feel the spirit of peace, thank God. Really, take a moment to thank God for allowing you to find stillness in our world. Do not worry about the next moment. Truly focus on the present and rest in the knowledge that you are loved deeply and unconditionally. Then, go out and love others in the same way!
– Anna Spencer
Anna is a YES leader who just graduated from Kansas State University, is applying to Physician Assistant school, and is passionate about public health.