Peace is a Choice

Have you ever had a day where you don’t remember smiling?  Are you so driven by a to-do list that there’s no time to have fun in your day?  If there was a simple way to guarantee a smile every day would you do it?  Would you be willing to invest just 10 short minutes in order to create a daily high point?  If so, read on …

Recently, Bret and I went on a vacation to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.  A few days into the trip, we sat on our balcony overlooking the ocean and were struck by how peaceful life was at that moment.  The entire goal of the trip was to relax so there was no agenda and we had few plans during the day.  We got up when we wanted to, walked along the beach, listened to the birds and enjoyed each other’s company.  It is amazing how relaxing life is when you’re on vacation.

When we are home, our minds are usually full of stress.  It’s just normal stuff  – probably same stuff that you think about also – work, kids, future plans.  Our days are busy and planned.  We have a schedule and try to get as much accomplished in one day as is humanly possible.  We dread getting up and even the sound of the birds singing is an annoyance because it is a reminder that morning is coming.  Why are the birds in Indiana annoying and the birds in Jamaica sweet?  Why did we enjoy getting up early in Jamaica and do so without ever setting an alarm, but at home we plan in extra time so we can hit the snooze button multiple times to avoid getting up?

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Is there something magical about the plane door closing that turns off the stress of life?  Is there reinforcement in the door to the hotel room that keeps worries away?

I think the key is something called mindfulness – choosing to focus on what is around us and not worry about what we cannot control. And the key word is – choosing.  When we were in Jamaica, we were choosing to experience everything: seeing the flowers, hearing the birds, smelling the salty air, feeling the wind in our hair when we were on boat rides. But, at home, we are usually thinking about the to-do list, worrying about anything that goes wrong and not choosing to see the flowers, enjoy the birds or experience the joy around us.  We choose to ignore the good and get bogged down with stress.

Are the schedules of life stressing you out?  Are you so busy driving screaming kids around to swimming lessons, baseball practice and birthday parties that you are missing the fun in life? Are you so stressed about the choices that your teenager is making that you ignored the birds singing this morning?  How about taking 10 minutes and choosing to experience the joy that God has created and given to you today?  There may be radios blasting in the other room, kids fighting, dogs barking … but there can even be joy in that if we choose to look for it. God has given us many blessings, but sometimes we don’t choose to look for them.

Bret and I want to create a life that we don’t need to run away from.  I know that life will never be perfect; there will always be stress in life.   I am also not saying that we should just ignore the problems and stress of everyday living.  We have to deal with the problems of life – work, family, finances.  But let’s also choose to see the beauty in everyday living.

How can you be mindful today and experience the joy that God has given you in the middle of your crazy and chaotic life?  I would love to hear from you.  Please comment below and let’s help each other find peace today!

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