How to practice living in peace.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace” (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT).

I’m pretty excited to share how I’ve started experiencing God’s peace through 4 practical steps. I don’t know about you, but I love a practical approach to almost everything, especially when my emotions are involved. I may not want to hear or do the practical approach in the midst of those high emotions but I certainly enjoy practicing them to prevent similar situations from happening. I’m one that can over think certain things and get riled up over nothing sometimes. And if I’m being honest, a lot of those over thinking and analyzing moments can be constructive but they usually stem from worry or fear for me. I know this isn’t something new but if we learned to take responsibility for the things we can control (like our thoughts) and lean on God’s promises for what we can’t, you’d be amazed at how much more peaceful life can be! Now that’s the good kind of analyzing I’m talking about – taking the time to read God’s promises and think through them versus just liking and reposting some inspirational quote.

I’d like to dive into one of my favorite scriptures that God uses to give us a practical approach to receiving his peace through Paul’s straight-forward instructions.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace.” (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT).

1. Don’t worry about anything.

Easier said that done, right? Let’s start by actually thinking about what worries us. I caught myself initially saying “uh, that’s impossible, I worry all of the time.” It’s become a a bad habit that I’d like to replace with peace. So I’ve decided to take a new approach in this and rather than feeling defeated, I’m inviting God into this space and asking him to reveal to me what the root of my worry is exactly. Sometimes God reminds me through verses I halfway memorize. I wasn’t blessed with a photographic memory but I do know that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil 4:13)! And if I can do all things in his strength then surely I can learn to not worry.

I’m not on the other side of it yet but I can say I’ve been practicing this whole replacing my thoughts thing and the first step has been recognizing the lie (which we can also consider the worry). Check out a recent post of mine that teaches how to reshape your thoughts. So, again, what are we really worried about? Getting a raise? Buying a house? Finding a partner? What people think? What if we fail? Will this sickness ever go away?

I challenge you to recognize what you’re worrying about and make the decision to give that worry to God.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace.” (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT).

2. Pray about everything.

Now that we have recognized what we are worrying about, let’s hand it over to the One who can actually overcome it. I love this part. And I think it’s extremely important to practice this before the worry sets in. Even if you’re not a worrier by nature and you have nothing to worry about right now there will come a time that you may have a reason to worry about something. Just like preparing for a marathon, you can’t show up the day of and expect to make it through if you didn’t put in the practice to reach the finish line. Waiting until the last-minute or the heat of the moment to change is not the best approach to sustaining a life-changing response to anything, especially worry. The second a worry pops into your mind just ask God to reveal what it is.

The first thing I’ve learned to do in the mornings is invite God into my thoughts. I ask Him to reveal His truth and make it known when the enemy is trying to make me believe something that simply isn’t from God. One thing I’ve come to believe recently is how sly the enemy is. The enemy knows me better than I do sometimes. He knows how to get 10 steps ahead of me and persuade me into my old ways, my old thinking, my old habits. He knows how to tempt me with good enough, keeping me from God’s best. He knows exactly how I have fallen for his tricks before and he gets better at setting the traps. So I try to desperately seek God’s counsel in His ways versus what I think I want or what the enemy wants for me. This happens through continual conversations I have with God in my mind or in my journal. I do my best to have a conversation with God before myself or anyone else. I can’t trust my own thoughts or someone else’s opinion more than I can trust God and his word. So i choose to pray. Just like Phil. 4:6 says, pray about everything! This doesn’t mean all of my prayers are answered immediately or that God is responding to me like having a conversation with someone. However, the more I pray and the more I let him lead me the more I get to know him and the enemy as well. It gives me an advantage to getting ahead of my worry and prepares me for what’s next. Although, I haven’t mastered every thought yet, I do think it is highly important to celebrate the process!

3. Tell God what you need.

This is actually the hardest one for me. Asking for what I need. I’m not sure why I think I have to be so independent and not ask for help but I definitely struggle with this one. Even worse, telling God what I need! Who am I to tell God what I need when he knows me and exactly what I need before I even ask? I get “worried” I’ll ask for the wrong thing. But, just like 1 & 2, it serves a practical purpose and is a vital step into experiencing God’s peace. I love how Matthew puts it in Matthew 7:7…

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

I have to spend time on 3. While you might find all 4 steps easy or others more difficult than some, this has been my challenge. Luckily, I enjoy challenges and like I said earlier, I can celebrate the process of the small victories and even the failures. It’s not always easy to do. In fact, it’s rarely ever easy. But it is rewarding! Practice asking God for what you need even if you have to pray about him revealing your needs to you like I do.

4. Thank him for all he has done.

This one is my favorite! Practicing gratitude is so effective. I am most fruitful when I thank God. It’s somewhat comical how immediate thankfulness is. Whenever I am stressed about anything and I take a second to ask God to show me the good in it and it changes my perspective on the spot. And for the times there is no good to be seen in a situation? I simply think on the basics and let those guide me into thankfulness. I just thank God for what he has given me. If you’re in good health, have a steady job, a family, a stable relationship, a trustworthy vehicle, a friend to call when you’re down, a dog to see when you get home, a bed to rest at night etc. Thinking of things God has given us and thanking him for them reveals a humility in us that produces other fruits also!

Paul reminds us in 1 Thessalonians that it is God’s will for us to be thankful! I ask God all of the time what his will for my life is and some may see this as being told what to do but I love when he gives us direction.

“…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

– 1 Thessalonians 5:18

My prayer for you is to give yourself grace as you apply these principles in seeking God’s peace in your life!

xo kristie.png

phil 4_6-7

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