I have really been loving the #lighttheworld campaign the church is encouraging us to do. Today’s #lighttheworld step is “Jesus Calmed the Storm and So Can You“. I’m one of those people that really need religion. I’m not naturally patient or selfless. I’m prone to anger, temper, and get stressed out and lash out at people too much. Especially when I’m cutting calories. 🙁 I’m grateful for what I learn in the LDS church that helps me with these things and also specifically for the #lighttheworld campaign for helping me focus on this today. This is my list of 8 ways to find peace.
1. Proper understanding of LDS doctrine of grace and works. Jesus gave the parable of the talents. But he also gave the parable of the workers. We have high expectations. We have high standards. Set high goals and work your best to achieve them. We strive our best to rise to a model of perfection. Yet we know we are “covered” by the grace of Jesus Christ. Those in the covenant of Christ are described as exercising faith and repenting of sins until the end. Being in the covenant of Christ means you’re repenting, it doesn’t mean you’re perfect. There is no shame or guilt for falling short. Just pick yourself up, bounce back, and try again. Didn’t do it right the first time? Of course not, try again. Didn’t get it right the second time? Duh, you’re not supposed to. Try again. Didn’t get it right the 1,452nd time? You’re still mortal, right? Of course, you didn’t get it right yet. Keep trying.
2. Live in the moment. Don’t obsess about your past. And don’t worry too much about the future. Think of what you can learn from this Taoist fable.
One day, while walking through the wilderness, a man encountered a vicious tiger. He ran for his life, and the tiger gave chase.
The man came to the edge of a cliff, and the tiger was almost upon him. Having no choice, he held on to a vine with both hands and climbed down.
Halfway down the cliff, the man looked up and saw the tiger at the top, baring its fangs. He looked down and saw another tiger at the bottom, waiting for his arrival and roaring at him. He was caught between the two.
Two rats, one white and one black, showed up on the vine above him. As if he didn’t have enough to worry about, they started gnawing on the vine.
He knew that as the rats kept gnawing, they would reach a point when the vine would no longer be able to support his weight. It would break and he would fall. He tried to shoo the rats away, but they kept coming back.
At that moment, he noticed a strawberry growing on the face of the cliff, not far away from him. It looked plump and ripe. Holding onto the vine with one hand and reaching out with the other, he plucked it.
With a tiger above, another below, and two rats continuing to gnaw on his vine, the man tasted the strawberry and found it absolutely delicious.
3. Listen to Johnny Cash’s Satisfied Mind. In it, he teaches how people who try to find satisfaction in wealth and fame and “things” may not be as satisfied as the simple folk.
4. This too Shall Pass. My mother’s wise words to me were “It will feel better after a warm meal, a shower, and a good night of sleep.” Og Mandino said it like this:
And how can I laugh when confrontedwith man, or deed, which offends meso as to bring forth my tears and curses?Four words I will train myself to sayuntil they become a habit so strongthat immediately they will appear in my mindwhenever good humor threatens to depart from me.These words, passed down from the ancients,
will carry me through every adversity
and maintain my life in balance.These are the four words:
“This too shall pass.”
5. Focus on others not yourself. When I find myself feeling getting angry or stressed or anxious, I find that I am usually inner-focused instead of outer-focused. Matthew 16: 25
25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
6. Remember our Savior commands the winds and waves in our lives. Matthew 8:23-26
23 And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.
24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.
25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.
26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
The Savior offers true peace.
7. Buddhist mindfulness practice can be very helpful. The idea behind this is to be aware of our emotions. Don’t judge them. Don’t cling to them. Watch them form and bubble up to the surface. Like we’re watching bubbles float up in a pond. Ah, there’s anger. Ah, there’s contentment. Ah, there’s disappointment. Watch them form. Watch them bubble up. Watch them come to the surface, and then poof, they are gone. Here are a few podcasts that have helped me.
8. As Adam Miller describes in Letters to a Young Mormon, don’t be afraid to “lose your story.”
Like everyone, you have a story you want your life to tell. You have your own way of doing things and your own way of thinking about things. But “my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55: 8– 9). As the heavens are higher than the earth, God’s work in your life is bigger than the story you’d like that life to tell. His life is bigger than your plans, goals, or fears. To save your life, you’ll have to lay down your stories and, minute by minute, day by day, give your life back to him. Preferring your stories to his life is sin….
God doesn’t love your story, he loves you….
Everyone knows that little blush of pleasure that comes when you feel like your life and your story match. And I’m sure you know the pinch of disappointment that follows when you feel like your life hasn’t measured up. These blushes and pinches tend to rule our daily lives. They push and pull and bully us from one plot point to the next. “Now I should be this,” we say, “now I should have this, now I should do this. . . .
But even if you can get a story to work for a while, you’ll still be afraid. And when it fails to meet the measure of life, as all stories do, you’ll feel ashamed and your shame and guilt will manifest once again in that familiar pinch of disappointment…
Jesus is not asking you to tell a better story or live your story more successfully, he’s asking you to lose that story. “Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10: 39 nrsv). Hell is when your story succeeds, not when it fails. Your suffocating story is the problem, not the solution. Surrender it and find your life….
Your story is heavy and hard to bear. “Come to me,” Jesus says, “all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11: 28– 30 nrsv). Put down the millstone of your story and take up the yoke of life instead. You will find Jesus’ rest only in the work of caring for life. Let his life manifest itself in yours rather than trying to impose your story on the life he gives.