By Mariah Mulderink
My husband is really good at not caring. Now, before you think I have the worst husband ever (or am I really rude) let me explain. My husband is really good at letting things go. It is almost like a super power the way that negative things just bounce right off of him. Any sort of disagreement, negative interaction, disappointment, hardship, etc my husband is able to do what he can to reconcile things and then moves on. Or he simply leaves that thing in a box and returns to it when the time is right. He does not carry the weight with him into every other part of his life. He does not obsess over it. He doesn’t hold things against people. He is the epitome of “forgive and forget.”
Does it sound like I’m jealous? Well, that is because I am! Let’s say, I have a negative conversation with a friend...oh my goodness, I could obsess over every word from that conversation; I might go to sleep thinking about it; and even once it is resolved, I might never forget about it. I watch my husband and I just wish I could not care! I just wish I could live in peace.
Well, friend, I could. Recently, our pastor talked in his homily about not letting others steal our peace. He talked about how we have complete control over our inner peace. When we get worked up about relationships, work, politics, and so many other things we are allowing those things to steal our peace. In fact, it is essential that our peace is not taken from us because peace allows us to remain centered on what truly matters. It allows us to maintain connection to Christ. Personally, I know that when I am lacking in inner peace, I struggle a lot with prayer. I struggle in relationships. On the contrary when I do have peace, I am able to focus on what is in front of me and what is most important.
This is not to say that work, relationships, politics, and so much more are not important. Of course they are! If there is an opportunity to act, support, or heal, then we ought to take it. However, just like my husband, you can care deeply about something or someone and still maintain peace even when there is conflict with that person or with that thing. You can act and maintain peace. You can be passionate about something and maintain peace. You can fight for something and even still remain at peace.
Think of Christ. Christ loves every single person ever created. He cares for our well-being. He wants the very best for us. However, our lives are not always perfect. We suffer. We sin. We push Christ away. Does this rob Christ of peace? No. Does He stop loving us and caring about us? Absolutely not!
So how do you maintain peace? How do you strive after the example of Christ and maintain peace in the face of suffering, conflict, and sin? Well, the question I ask myself when faced with some sort of turmoil or conflict is “Does this take away the possibility of Heaven for me?” If not, then why let it take my peace? Basically, focus on what is most important: Christ. If your eyes are on Christ and He is at the center of all you do then your peace will remain. If you hold onto Him, you can face any hardship or deal with any disappointment or fight for what is good. Christ is our peace.
Now, my last encouragement here is this: begin again. This has been a focus in a lot of Chews Life’s content lately. You can read more about it here. And it applies here as well. I have hopefully just offered you some good advice on why peace is so important and how to maintain it. However, you will fail...as we all do. You will lose your peace and it will be OK if you allow yourself to begin again. Learning how to hold onto your peace requires practice. It is a habit that you must work for. Working for this will require you to begin again at least once and maybe many more times. The Prayer to St. Jude for Peace is a prayer that has helped me strive for peace.
Trust in Christ. He wants this for you. He wants you to know peace. In peace we are so much better able to serve Him and do His will.
Mariah Mulderink is wife, mom, Masters in Theology student, and marketing director for Chews Life. Her greatest joys are her faith, her family, her friends, and any chance to be competitive. For her, one of the greatest privileges she has received is the opportunity to pursue her Masters in Theology. Studying the faith is not only fascinating but is also a beautiful way to know God better. She hopes her studies and her faith will always equip her to share Christ in her work and with every person she meets.
You can find out more about her here.