My uncle had a little saying that helped keep him sane. He would ask himself: “How much is your peace worth?”
I’ve tried it and it comes in handy in a variety of situations, like when I am beating myself up when I find I have overpaid for something. Or agonizing over a missed opportunity. Or sinking into regret over a blunder in the past. Or worrying when I feel I must say no to an invitation, an offer or a demand. All of these cost me a certain amount of peace.
How much is your peace worth? If we stop to think about it we will find it is worth quite a bit, and we will be surprised how much of it we just give away to unworthy causes or pour into bottomless pits.
Living a peace-filled life these days may be the ultimate counter-cultural act of defiance. It is not easy, but we can make it easier.
It helps to recognize that our peace is always under attack. The Enemy is after your peace in the same way the market is after your money and the TV and internet are after your time.
St. Paul says the peace of God “will guard our hearts and minds.” But we also need to guard our peace. God replenishes our peace, but if we waste it we won’t have it when we need it and our hearts and minds will be vulnerable to attack.
Have you ever thought of peace as a protection to your heart and mind? How many bad decisions have you made when you were anxious? Yeah. Me too.
We need to create a “peace budget.” Like the old saying, “I woke up today with only one nerve left and now you are getting on it,” sometimes we wake up with our “peace tank” near empty. We are going run out long before the day is over. It doesn’t have to happen, but it will if we do not take intentional measures.
One of the things people always notice about St. Peter’s is an atmosphere of peace. That’s encouraging. Peace is one of the most delicious and nutritious fruits of the Spirit.
Where do you think the Enemy is most likely to attack us?
The peace that we feel when we are all together is the aggregate of the peace we are allowing God to give us individually and in our core relationships, plus the wonderful Holy Spirit multiplication factor when two or more are gathered in Christ’s name.
Have you lived long enough and suffered enough to know that peace does not come from trying to please or to get along with everybody or from imitating others, or never saying, “No”?
It’s actually quite the opposite. Peace comes from doing the hard work of defining what is truly essential to you — as a follower of Jesus — and then calmly, lovingly sticking to it, even at the risk of being different (you surely will be!) or offending someone or missing out on the next cool thing.
Jesus knew what was essential and He calmly stuck to it. He can help us do the same.
This short video provides some helpful pointers from the secular world, but the principles apply to us. The second longer one with the author fleshes it out more thoroughly.