Reaching For The Peace Of Jesus

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” Jn. 14:27 NASB

Christ gives us the peace that transcends the practices of hell on earth. We reach for that peace by resting in His presence – through prayer, godly deeds, and by meditating upon and acting out the gospel.

When we drag our feet in the ways of the world, we are experiencing / practicing the opposite – anger, which we know is a form of fear. It’s man-made.

God practices anger but His is an entirely different form. If we practiced His (righteous) anger, we’d understand that it is a thought-energy construct that is meant to stir us up to take action to either help ourselves or others when we / they are facing a harmful (unrighteous) situation.

However, the anger that most people practice is a type that was unconsciously modeled after what one saw or experienced as a child. This ‘worldly’ anger only shows up because you already have it stored within you. But if you stop cultivating it, the anger will dissipate.

Most anger exists within the framework of relationship. So, the first thing to do is to eradicate anger from your relationship with yourself. You know how to do it: Sit still and look at your anger, recognize the roots of it, forgive yourself for projecting that anger upon yourself and others, and start looking at things through God’s eyes.

Our behaviors consist of the manifestations of our assumptions about life. Our assumptions lead to rigid self-righteous belief systems and dogma that we fortify through our self-justifying anger – all of which are the stuff wars are fought over. Thus, the most loving thing we can do is to dissolve those beliefs so we can stop acting them out.

When we react with anger, we’re like a cornered animal – unconsciously dangerous to those around us and ourselves.

But now, we are on the hunt for clarification about why we act the way we act.

Sit still and look at your anger. Acknowledge it as an emotion, nothing more. Claim your experience, saying to yourself, ‘I am feeling anger,’ not ‘I am angry.’ You are not your emotions. Look at the sequence of thoughts you entertain before your anger manifests by asking yourself, ‘What internal dialogue am I listening to right now?’ It will always be something that you haven’t been accepting about yourself. You have connected whatever that is, to an emotion and every time that comes up, your buttons are pushed.

In our examination (meditation), we lovingly look to extricate ourselves from this aspect of our unconscious training from that voice in our head that is trying to control us.

Focus on your breath to break that reactionary anger habit and act with intention towards a goal of understanding. Anger is always born from misunderstanding – either with regards to something about your persona or about the intentions of others.

Address the fear behind the anger by asking yourself, ‘Is there anything I need to be afraid of if I accept the unconditional love of Christ and love myself unconditionally as well?’ I can assure you there isn’t.

Continue with your inquiry about what you are not accepting about yourself – that false flaw you’ve been led to believe you have. Ask yourself, ‘Is that really so? Do I know that to be the truth?’ The lies will reveal themselves and your long-forgotten peace that was planted in you by God Himself will return.

Don’t deny (resist) your anger. Accept that part of you has been living angry. Instead, question why you have it.

Look at some of the most common roots of anger and what can be done about it:

1. You don’t like something.

The solution is to practice acceptance. Acceptance is not the same as resignation. To accept is to acknowledge the existence of something. To be resigned means to give up hope for any possibility of change. If there really is something you don’t like and it cannot be changed, you must change the way you relate to it.

There is no reason why you cannot be happy in any situation if you learn how to embrace whatever life offers without wasting one precious moment on things that steal your joy (e.g. anger). When you eliminate any ‘preferences’ that you believe must be met for you to feel happy, you can touch happiness in any moment. Then anger won’t be able to find a home in you, or at best, its stay will be short-lived.

2. You want life to be other than what it is.

The solution is to question the preferences you hold that you use in deciding what is true for you. Most of the time, we don’t know the true nature of life because we are walking unconsciously. Instead, commit to remain conscious continually. You will then be able to shed your assumptions and stop trying to change life and the people in it.

When you cast your distractions behind you, you’ll see what life (God) is offering you – even if it’s a lesson you don’t particularly want to learn. (Usually, those lessons are for showing you where and how you stop yourself from living a fully engaged, conscious life). If you choose to learn that lesson, you’ll be able to disarm that unworkable strategy and use that newfound wisdom to disarm your other strategies as well.

3. You see others as the enemy.

The solution is to realize that people all over the world are suffering in the same manner as you. Look at why these other people can rile you and what part of you is offended. Even if someone speaks or acts in a manner that is directly derogatory to you, they are only speaking / acting against the ‘image’ they have concocted about you or to the one you’re trying to project from your mask. Regardless, you can either correct their misconception or walk away – knowing that their opinion of you isn’t personal, therefore it’s meaningless.

You can also ask yourself (without judgment), ‘What may I have done to bring that behavior out of them?’ Or, you can consider that only people who are suffering would project that onto someone else, compassionately asking yourself, ‘What must they be going through that would make them treat another person this way?’

Respond to this person the way you’d want someone to respond to you ( See Lk. 6:31) if you were the hurting party – extending love, kindness and compassion with an open ear, without trying to judge or change them. Apply grace in the same way God grants grace to you.

Who doesn’t deserve love and acceptance? Especially when we all know intimately what that feels like.

4. You’re resentful for having to suppress your shameful secrets.

The solution is to confess, repent, atone and return to living from your spirit. It’s far better than punishing yourself or others and it restores healthy relationships. Breathe out compassion when you feel the anger. Send it towards all people who suffer from the same automatic ways of being. Wish them happiness and freedom. Make friends with everyone (beginning with yourself) – even if they don’t want to.

You are not a bad person. You’re just living your life the best way you know how – just like everybody else…

Happiness is what happens when we accept ourselves, when we love ourselves, when we embrace God through Christ – letting all that love and peace flow through us. Then we can see life as the as the incredible gift it is; and it’s always available when we stay in truth and reality, living as our genuine selves by walking with God.

Happiness is always available when we accept our experience rather than a belief about it – when we trust Who is inside of us. It’s there when we drop the suffering, drop the meaning-less meanings, take nothing personal, give up the ‘search for happiness’ and just be happy and at peace. It’s our natural state…

“These things I have spoken to you that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Jn. 16:33 NKJV

Goodnight and God bless.

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Discovering The Pattern That Separates You From God – Part 4

In the first 3 parts of this series, we plunged the depths of the meanings behind the first 9 of 29 questions (that hopefully you’ve already answered – see Your Personal Responsibility In Cleaning God’s House – Part 2) designed to see the pattern of life you live out that poses a barrier to your communion with God. Let’s continue…

10. Describe what you feel the future holds for you.

Are you waiting for a future where you finally get it all together? Guess what? No one ever gets it all together. You position yourself to get it together by walking in God’s ways. He brings you all together:

…He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you. Phil. 1:6 AMP

We are a work in progress. Life on Earth is a training ground. There is no goal. LIFE IS THE GOAL! It’s a journey where we put one spirit-led foot in front of the other until our Savior takes us home.

If you are waiting for any kind of a future, you are missing out on life because it only happens in the present moment – not in some nebulous future.

Waiting for a happy future? Doesn’t exist. Happiness comes from engaging in the present, making the decision to be happy regardless of your circumstances.

Looking for love and acceptance in the future? God gave you those things the moment He thought you into being. (Eph. 1:4) Regardless of what may have tarnished your past, God has redeemed you from it through the cleansing blood of His Son.

11. What meaning have you brought to life?

Do you wake each day with gratitude and an exuberant expectancy, or do you rise with wrenched guts and tears threatening to burst forth? If it is the former, you are living consciously, engaged in healing, giving and loving. If the latter, you’re living a life enmeshed with the meanings of the wounded child within. Don’t punish yourself for that. You are courageously working in this series so that the latter becomes the former. You deserve great love and compassion for your efforts.

12. Are you dissatisfied with life?

Your satisfaction or dissatisfaction with your life hinge upon the meaning(s) you bring to your life. That is not to downplay those real events in your life that unhinged you and brought real feelings of grief, pain, misery, disappointment or shame. Yet regardless of the reality or lack of it in your ‘events,’ it is the meanings that you create around them that determine your view of life and how you live it.

Thus, we can go to meditation and remind ourselves that nothing earthly is permanent. We snoop into our real or unreal roots (meanings) of our vision of life and our reactions to it, let them wash over us and bury them – knowing that we can construct new truth-based meanings of life that empower us to heal.

All situations have something to teach us. When we commit to learning what it is instead of running, our unworkable ‘stuff’ will be revealed and we can let that go. If, during our meditative examination, we think we’ve reached our limits and are standing on the edge of a frightful abyss, we can stop and breathe and look at where that false belief stems from. If we jump, we’ll land on solid ground in the present moment with one more fear behind us.

But this can only happen if we keep our eyes wide open in the presence of our vexation and let go of any efforts of trying to control the world. ‘Letting go’ allows us to be free to face life without fear. When we practice living at peace instead of indulging in drama and our responsive knee-jerk reactions, life is manageable.

Instead of sinking into suffering if we experience pain, we can offer ourselves love, compassion and kindness. If we feel loss, we can look at why we feel the need to cling by examining the meanings that motivate us to do that – our desires, aggressions and denials. We can see them for the conditioned lies that they are and let them go.

Once we learn the lesson that life is presenting, it will stop haunting us. Often, those lessons push our ‘hot buttons.’ This is a wonderful opportunity to learn why those hot buttons exist – a time to disqualify and eliminate more baseless beliefs. We can become walking pillars of peace in a world of pandemonium.

Other than our relationship with God and ourselves, all things come and go. They’re all on loan to us. So we can’t really lose anything; it wasn’t ours to begin with. Thus, we want to cherish our loved ones in the present moment, and tap into their love-print in our heart when they are not. We are never alone and true love never dies.

Change is not loss but opportunity for new possibilities.

13. What makes you angry?

The answer is simple. It is the same things that make you afraid. (See part 3 of this series.) You’ve already learned that anger kills (see Characteristics Of A Life When God Is Absent – Part 3). When you feel it manifest within you, stop and breathe, look at what you are listening to in your head and how you are also getting angry with yourself. Defuse and replace the meanings behind that commotion and practice forgiveness and acceptance for both you and the object of your anger.

14. What does everyone think about you?
15. What do you think is wrong with you?
16. Why don’t you accept yourself?
17. What secrets are you keeping?
18. What lies do you tell?

The answers to all of these questions have the same roots. They stem from the things you don’t accept about yourself and the lies you tell in an attempt to conceal them. (By the way, you really don’t know what anybody thinks of you.)

The ‘unacceptable things’ are either something you’ve done in the past that you’ve attached a negative meaning to, or a negative belief you took on as a child. The past cannot be changed. While you are examining your answers to these questions, it’s a good time to go to God for forgiveness:

He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy towards those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Ps. 103:10 – 12. NKJV

So let up on yourself. Look deep at any belief you may harbor that opposes your perfection and realize it is a lie…

We’re heading for the home stretch. Next time.
Goodnight and God bless.