Finding Peace

So many things can go wrong with our bodies, our finances, our future, our families, our country…there are a million ways to discover fear, none of which bring peace or happiness. The lack of peace is perhaps the most underestimated cause of anger, resentment, and lack of purpose in life. This past election season has been a parable of fear vs. peace, with an entire nation  stressed and fearful of what November would bring. What if you could live your life without fear, and be at peace today and all your tomorrows?

No matter who is in the White House or is Mayor of the next town over, no matter what war is threatening on the horizon, or who is in control of the world’s money supply, we can have peace now and look forward to the future with joy and optimism.

Peace does not just ‘happen’

Peace is something that must be worked for, both national peace and personal peace. It comes from putting down those dark glasses of fearlet-peace-begin-with-me and contention as a people and as an individual, and deciding that we want to be part of the solution, part of the light. It’s a no-brainer that once you turn on a light, the darkness recedes- and one person can shine and give off light that ripples outward way beyond what they ever realize. It takes only one person to start a movement towards light.

Where do I begin…

When we come to the conclusion that being negative, fearful and pessimistic about life isn’t working for us, how do we change? How do we make that incredible leap from fear to peace? We need to find a guide to help us find the light. We need a mentor; someone who knows us well, cares about our personal happiness and peace, and someone who has seen both the dark, and the light of peace. The best mentor to teach, explain and model peace is Jesus Christ, the prince of peace. Following the master mentor may mean getting out of your comfort zone and opening your mind and heart to new possibilities.  Accepting the gift of the atonement brings the gift of peace right along with it. The kind of meme-bible-john-peace-1342009-gallerypeace that sticks with you no matter what is going on around you, and the kind of peace that changes your view of life. It’s that peace that gives us the realization that this life matters, that what we say and do, and the relationships we form affect us much more than we ever thought- and that it is all good.

Does this life really matter?

My husband’s father passed away after suffering with cancer for some time. At one point, he was in the hospital with his two sons by his side. He had had an experience the previous evening that was very sacred to him, and he described it in detail to his sons. From that time on, he had no fear of death- he knew what it was like, and knew who would be meeting him on the other side of the veil. His death came peacefully not too many months after that experience, and not only did that tender mercy of the Lord, the gift of peace, bless him, it blessed his sons and others with the testimony of the reality of the atonement and resurrection. What happens in this life matters because this is not the end of our existence. Life goes on.

Being assured of resurrection makes life better now.

 The resurrection- life after death- is a ‘free’ gift for every person who has ever lived on this earth. Because of the atonement, you don’t die and then just cease to exist.  You lived before this earth life, and you will continue to live after this short period of mortality ends. Knowing that makes what we do here and now important. Knowing that makes the difference between fear and peace.

 Elder Dallin H. Oaks has taught that “the assurance of resurrection and immortality affects how we look on the physical challenges of mortality, how we live our mortal lives, and how we relate to those around us… the assurance of resurrection gives us the strength and perspective to endure the mortal challenges faced by each of us and by those we love…” (“Resurrection” Ensign, May 2000).

Those challenges can erode our peace and bring fear and uncertainty without an understanding of what happens after we leave tpeace-and-lovehis earth.

If I had one wish for every person on earth, it would be to feel at peace, today and your every tomorrow. My wish for you is that you feel that
God knows you as an individual child of His. Not only does He know you, He loves you and wants you to have peace and joy now, while you are on this earth, while you prepare to live the rest of your eternity.

 

Proclaim Peace! 

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4 Responses

  1. Ricki Shaffer says:

    I enjoyed this article very much. I love the Meme. ..Be the Peace you seek! It’s hard for me to explain to other the peace I feel. With my illness Life in general has been better Because of the peace in my soul. Even when my Hearts is Heavy, My soul is of good Cheer!

    • Margo says:

      Ricki, you are a choice individual. It CAN be difficult to explain the peace in our heart, but ‘by your fruits ye shall know them’ and just knowing you helps people understand inner peace.I love you, my friend!

  2. Autumn says:

    Hi Margo,

    I don’t know if this comment is too late to be helpful but I thought I’d chime in, give you something to ponder. Your audience in this post, again, seems to be someone who is already a person who believes in God. I’m curious what you would say to someone who either does not believe in God or does not believe in God in the same context as you do. I have to admit, one of the big draws of religion to me is that it does give you an answer to problems when things get really tough, like now, with these election results which are frightening. If one is looking to an afterlife as the ultimate destination then it is much easier to come to terms with a world that is so much less than perfect. I remember reading once in my college studies that the black churches in the deep south before the civil rights movement contributed to a lack of action of blacks against the injustice that they were facing. They preached that their members should seek only to please God and to think of the afterlife, rather than to fight the establishment. I think it’s possible, and even necessary, that one fully live in the world that we live in, and fight injustice where we see it, regardless of what our beliefs on God or the afterlife might be. Martin Luther King was a great example of this. He was both a man of God and one that fought for justice in our country. And I have to wonder, did he feel peace, or was it another feeling that propelled him to act. If one is too peaceful it can be too easy not to act.

    • Margo says:

      What insightful questions and thoughts you raise, Autumn!
      I’d like to start with the civil rights movement. Similar information about the black churches came from the research of Black sociologist Benjamin Mays. He believed that black preachers “Make God influential chiefly in the beyond, and in preparing a home for the faithful in the afterlife”. He stated that the black churches differed from white churches (even within the same ‘religion’) by encouraging “Negroes to feel that God will see to it that things work out all right; if not in this world, certainly in the world to come”. So, I would have to agree- it seems that the purpose of black leaders at that time was to encourage individual peace as well as to prevent revolt. It is possible, however, that they served an inspired purpose.

      The civil rights movement, came at a perfect moment in time. A nation of black people, and also sufficient white people, believed that the time had come to change. 100,000 black people marching on Washington in 1890 would undoubtedly have resulted in mass fear among whites, and bloodshed for the marchers. Fast forward to 1963. With Kennedy in the white house, and some white congressmen supporting the civil rights movement, as well as many white churches (at least in theory) and white activists anxious to be a part of change, it was the perfect time to change the heart of the nation.

      Believing that God gives inner peace does not stop a person from pursuing justice and peace in the world. If we look at the writings of the Apostles in the Bible, we learn that God requires action, and Christ advocates justice, mercy, compassion, service- and work. In James Chapter 2 in the New Testament of the Bible, we read that faith without works is dead. In other words, having faith in God is only the first part- the next part is action. That is what Martin Luther King did- he combined his faith in God with action to right the wrongs of the time.

      I cannot speak for other religions, but I do know that in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS), we are encouraged to follow Christ’s example of activism. We don’t threaten people nor throw stones or express hate and intolerance towards those who think differently. We also don’t just pray for people, we get out there and get involved in service to others. We see injustice and we work to fix it. We get involved, not only with our church members, but in our communities and in our nations (it is a world-wide church). We are taught to live in the world, but not of the world. We are here in this world for a purpose- not just to live and huddle in our homes and then go to heaven, but to learn, grow and serve while we are here….and to do it with joy and peace in our hearts. We LDS people will be found everywhere working for change- not in violent protests, but working to change hearts and to love those that are in need of comfort, as well as to be involved in the political process.

      I think your statement that “If one is too peaceful it can be too easy not to act” perhaps speaks not of the type of inner peace that I was referring to, but of a certain laid-back attitude of ‘it’s not my fight’. That’s the kind that lets injustice have a free-hand in society because the person is too busy in his own life.
      Backing up to the second idea you expressed, that religion gives answers, I would say a resounding “Yes” it does. Where better to find the answers than from the God that designed and planned our existence on the earth? Who better to listen to than our eternal Father in Heaven who loves you as much as you love your own child?

      Knowing that there IS an afterlife gives me not only the impetus, but the courage to do all I can do in this life to make things better for those around me. If I can’t do everything despite trying my best, I can rely on Jesus to make up the difference if I am following His gospel. Knowing that I am an eternal being gives my life focus and helps me keep my life priorities straight.

      To your question “What you would say to someone who either does not believe in God or does not believe in God in the same context as you do” I would suggest that person keeps an open mind, and tests the promise given in the Book of Mormon:
      “We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains, and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost. (See Moroni 10:3–5.)

      Faith starts as a desire to know.
      Above all, I would say: No matter who you are or what you believe, I care about you.
      Autumn, thank you so much for your very thoughtful reply!

      B.E. Mays, The Negro’s God (1938) p. 245 cited in Gunnar Myrdal, An American Dilemma (1944) p. 873

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