Essays on Faith: Is peace of mind possible?

Bad days respect no one. We all have them occasionally. My day was so unpleasant yesterday that, by late evening, I was ready to hide in a closet and not come out until someone sounded the all-clear.

Most of us feel weighed down by responsibilities at some time in our lives. We have financial obligations, family issues and health concerns that sometimes become too much for us and we begin to feel pressured.

Wishing for the busyness of life to miraculously disappear is pointless. Your yearnings will not transport you back to the simpler life that your ancestors enjoyed, but you can find moments of soothing quiet and solitude — and you must.

When you begin to feel overwhelmed with life’s demands, you need to push the pause button and retreat to that private place in your soul where it is only you and God. It is essential that you pull away from the world once in a while. Ideally, you could do this by lying on a beach in Hawaii, but, if that’s not possible, there are other ways that are just as beneficial.

I endured years of stressful times that threatened my health and well-being, but with the help of an understanding doctor and a strong faith in God, I overcame them. My doctor prescribed meditation and breathing exercises. I added scripture.

In a world full of noise, confusion and constant pressures, many people long for peace. Some give up the search thinking it impossible to find, but true peace of heart and mind is available to us through faith in Jesus Christ.

When I first read about the peace that passes all understanding, I wondered, “Is that peace possible for me? With all the stresses in my life, can I simply choose peace?”

The answer came to me as it often does via the still, small voice within.

“Of course you can. Nothing can disturb the calm peace of your soul. Outer circumstances have no power to cause distress unless you allow them that power. You can choose your thoughts. You can claim peace for your soul.”

When life seems to be moving at a faster pace each day, and we’re feeling the pull of its circumstances or we are immersed in a disagreement or drama, the love of God is our anchor and we treasure our times in silence with Him.

Entering into the silence, we set our cares and worries aside and surrender all thoughts of this world to God. Nothing is required of us but to know that serenity, love and harmony are found within.

Resting in the stillness for a few moments and allowing the presence of God to arise in us, we find that the tranquility soothes the mind and heart. As we return to face the situation at hand, we bring the peace of God with us and experience its transformative qualities.

As a river rushes downstream, it tumbles over rocks and flows around fallen logs. It is a busy current of power and energy. But deep below the surface, the water is calm and quiet, gently lending strength to the bustling activity at the surface. Likewise, deep within each of us is a center of peace, a quiet strength. When we pray, we draw on that peace and trust in the calmness and stability of God’s indwelling presence.

Although outer circumstances may sometimes appear chaotic, our strength comes from the center of our being where the stillness of our soul is undisturbed. If we are focused on worries or anxious about tomorrow, we may feel restless and uneasy. Yet the abiding peace of God has not left us. In a moment of prayer or meditation, we can return to our true nature and rediscover our inherent center of peace.

We are each blessed with a spiritual sanctuary available at all times. It is a quiet inner space where we can retreat from the hustle and bustle of the day and enter into the perfect love and peace of God. Immersed in the presence of the Christ, we find that we are more than at peace and serene.

We are peace and serenity.

So instead of waiting for the world to give you peace, why not give your peace to the world? Let kindness flow through you by way of your words and actions: To the person who is upset, be a patient listener. To the child who is fearful, be the soothing voice of composure. To the individual who is lonely, be a devoted friend. Fully participate in life from the peace of God within your soul. Be God’s harmony in expression.

Make every day a special day, one in which you choose to live in perfect peace.

Peggy Toney Horton lives in Nitro.

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Funerals for Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Ball, Sherman - 2 p.m., Spencer Chapel United Methodist Church.

Clay, Karen - Noon, Koontz Funeral Home, Hamlin.

Clonch, Daniel - 1 p.m., O'Dell Funeral Home, Montgomery.

Harvey, Joseph - 11 a.m., Donel C. Kinnard State Veterans Cemetery, Dunbar.

McClung, L. Bruce - Noon, Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Charleston.

Mills, Ambra - 1 p.m., Leonard Johnson Funeral Home, Marmet.

Pitsenbarger, Cindy - 7 p.m., Solid Rock Worship Center, Oak Hill.

Sowards, Teresa - 1 p.m., Keller Funeral Home, Dunbar.

Stilwell, Jason - 3 p.m., Strange Creek Cemetery, Strange Creek.

Vacheresse, Robert - 12:30 p.m., procession to leave Barlow Bonsall Funeral Home, Charleston.

Vaughan, Darlene - 10 a.m., Cross Lanes Baptist Church, Cross Lanes.