Practical tips for finding Peace in a chaotic day.
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." --Isaiah 26:3
The word carries with it an implication of quietness, restfulness, contentment. Maybe you imagine sitting on a beach by yourself or relaxing in a hammock with nothing surrounding you but trees and chirping birds. Many of us may look forward to a peaceful vacation or even a few peaceful (a.k.a., quiet) moments during the day.
But in this verse and many others in the Bible, we are told that we can have peace all the time! That may be difficult to imagine, as we live in a world that is full of constant noise, busyness, and worries.
But this article isn't really about peace. It is about what Isaiah 26:3 says leads to peace: fixing our attention and thoughts on God. I want to share a list of simple things that we can do to turn our thoughts to God as we go about our daily activities.
1. Decorate with Scripture.
This is probably the easiest idea on my list. Wall art and decorative trinkets printed with Bible verses or quotes about God are plenteous! Place them around your house in areas where they will often be seen, like on the bedstand, bathroom sink, or desk. We have a framed verse at the end of our hallway and another small Scripture decoration near the kitchen sink, just to name a couple places.
My sister gifted us a couple framed verses from a simple coloring book. (One lives right beside the fruit basket, so our kids can see it several times a day!)
Letter boards are popular decorative items, as well as chalkboards. The great thing about those is that you can change up what they say, put a favorite quote on them one week and a verse that you're trying to memorize another week.
Whether you spend most of the day at home or only mornings and evenings, having Scripture in noticeable places around the house can help turn your thoughts to God.
2. Listen to music or podcasts.
Having something to listen to can help us complete mundane tasks like cleaning the house and can also aid in other activities like exercising. Instead of turning on your favorite movie soundtrack or political debate, listen to some music or a podcast that focuses on God and spiritual matters. Whether you're driving down the road or washing dishes, this is a simple action that can help you think about God.
3. Place helpful verses or quotes where you need them most.
This idea was suggested by a friend. She keeps a poem in her car to help her focus on God when she is anxious about an upcoming situation or when she has had to deal with something difficult.
Another idea similar to this is to write verses on sticky notes to put in various places as reminders or for encouragement. For example, put verses that have to do with the morning (such as Psalm 5:3, "My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord.") or nighttime (Psalm 4:8, "I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.") on the bathroom mirror, where you will see them as you get ready for the day or for bed.
If you do a lot of work at the computer, you could post Colossians 3:23 at your desk to remind you to work heartily for the Lord. Write down a verse that acknowledges God's provision and put it in the place where you work through your budget. As you go throughout your day, think about the places where you spend your time and find verses that will encourage you in those specific activities!
The ideas I've listed so far take very little effort. These next few will take a little more time and intentional thought. But as I have to remind my kids often, if we want greater results, we must put in greater effort and patience!
4. Pray for missionaries.
Here's a suggestion for using all the prayer cards that you (or your kids) collect when missionaries visit your church! Make a habit of praying for a missionary each day. Find a regular time and place that works best for you. Maybe it's in the car on the way to school or work. Maybe it's at the breakfast or dinner table. Maybe it's at bedtime right before you tuck the kids in or lay your own head down on your pillow. Wherever the place is that works best for you, put the stack of missionary cards nearby to help you remember to pray.
5. Make mental associations to help you meditate on Scripture.
I often make mental notes or object associations mainly to help myself remember things. I'll do it when I need to remember to add something to my shopping list or take something to someone. Sort of like the old practice of tying a string around your finger as a reminder!
You can pick an object, time of day, or activity to remind you to meditate on Scripture. To suggest a few common activities, you could determine to think about a verse or work on memorizing it before taking the first bite of food at each meal, before visiting that social media site, or right after brushing your teeth. You could decide to do it at the top of every hour, or you could place coins in strategic places as a visual reminder.
Don't give up if you forget! Keep working on it every day or try a different idea, and you can eventually turn it into a habit!
6. Take time to be quiet.
We are almost constantly surrounded by noise. People talking, music playing, cars driving. Even our own thoughts can be "noisy" as we think about our schedule for the next day, our to-do list, friends or family who are sick, financial worries, the next thing we want to buy, and the list goes on.
We need to be intentional about having a time when we can clear our minds of the noise, even if it's only for a few minutes each day. We need to leave our worries in God's hands because He cares for us (Philippians 4:6-7, 1 Peter 5:7), and we need to ask for His wisdom (James 1:5). We must pray that He will help us see ourselves, others, and the situations around us the way that He sees them, because He alone can give lasting peace (John 14:27).
As Isaiah 26:3 says, focusing our thoughts on God leads to true peace. Sometimes we need practical ideas for accomplishing a broad goal, and I hope this list has been helpful in that regard!