JOY and PEACE are words that are used a lot over the holidays, but I wonder how many people really ponder the significance of them. I purchased a sign a few months ago that I hung in my kitchen with the word “JOY” on it in gold letters. Of course, It’s meant to be a Christmas decoration, but I’ve decided to keep it there year-round as a reminder to myself and my family. I left it because I believe that we can become so focused on our problems and what we are lacking that it can weigh us down and rob us of joy.
The Webster Dictionary synonyms for JOY are delight, gaiety, and bliss. Other words for PEACE are serenity, tranquility and stillness. Romans 15:13 says, “ May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Finding JOY and PEACE requires effort and intention. Our part in this is taking time to be still in the presence of the Lord each day. It sometimes takes retraining our brains to focus on the good rather than the negative. When we overflow with joy and peace, we can’t help but pass it on to those around us. We can’t be thankful and negative at the same time. The presence of God is never heavy.
Joy can still be experienced in the middle of difficult times if we pursue it. As the apostle Paul said, “for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances… I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Phil 4:11-12)
What was Pauls’ secret? Joy was his choice; his faith was his source. He was intentional about learning to be content. We can choose fear, stress and negativity as our focal points, or we can choose faith, gratitude, and thoughts that fuel our joy.
Having a relationship with the Lord doesn’t mean we will live trouble-free lives. People can be difficult, and trouble is inevitable. John 16:33 says, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. We get to choose how we respond to trouble and how we interact with this world.
So, as you go through your day, meditate on the words joy and peace. Take a moment to be still with the Lord and try this simple breathing exercise.
Sit in a quiet place and get comfortable. Take a deep breath in through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. Do this a few times. Continue this deep, controlled breathing as you read the following:
Inhale JOY, exhale fear;
Inhale PEACE, exhale anger;
Inhale JOY, exhale depression;
Inhale PEACE, exhale confusion,
Inhale JOY, exhale unworthiness,
Inhale PEACE, exhale anxiety
Inhale JOY, exhale heaviness
Inhale PEACE, exhale the need to control everything
Inhale the Holy Spirit, exhale….
(repeat if needed)
Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
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