Having a sense of peace

Photo of river and sky invoke a sense of peace.

Nature can help us maintain a sense of peace.

Sometimes having a sense of peace in this world is hard to do. Of course we hear that we should keep our sense of peace about us. Christ said He gave us His peace. Other times, however, we are enveloped in peace, like a field of energy surrounding us, emanating from within. It might sound a little woo-woo, but it’s real nonetheless. You’ve probably experienced that yourself.

Sense of peace amid turmoil

The kids are fighting, the baby is crying, the insurance company is denying your claim, your spouse just got fired, the house is a wreck, and you have company coming over in ten minutes. It may be “natural” to scream and pull your hair out, and you may find yourself doing just that.

You may also feel as if you’re standing in the eye of the hurricane, aware of, but not controlled by, the things going on around you. This is one of the goals of Orthodoxy: to maintain a sense of peace, no matter what is going on in our lives. I think it’s a result of theosis and taming the passions. I am no expert on Orthodoxy, though, let me tell you.

How to have a sense of peace

I don’t have any silver bullet or magic pill to make that happen for you, or even for myself. There are still times when I feel shaken up, angry, or afraid, such as every time my cyberstalker sends someone else to contact me for him. Also, there are times when I can’t see the next step in the path, or when nothing seems to work, and I’m frustrated.

Getting out into nature, even if it’s just for a few minutes, almost always helps me. Sometimes standing in front of our icon wall and praying helps the way I feel, and sometimes it doesn’t. Notice I said “how I feel,” not “how things are.” Feelings, while important, aren’t the most important thing sometimes. Sometimes what we do is more important than what we feel, and sometimes things can be getting better even when it doesn’t feel like they are.

I have suffered from depression and anxiety my entire life, stemming from severe abuse with no way out. Trusting God is HARD for me. I can CHOOSE to do it, but I might not FEEL it. That’s okay, because the feeling follows the choice. It might take a while, but it comes. I have to do it over and over. Perhaps someday it will be automatic, but for now… I have to make the choice. Trusting God, for me, is what provides that sense of peace. Not all of the Saints had that abiding sense of peace, but many did. I hope one day it just stays with me. Until then, I choose to step into it whenever I can. If it doesn’t come naturally to you, may you do the same. I wish you a deep and abiding sense of peace.