Peace Innovation

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Recently I was invited by a colleague from the Stanford Behavior Design Lab to be a part of a conversation about Peace Innovation.  From the first few moments of our time together I fell in love with the concept of designing real world interventions in order to create, cultivate and sustain a spirit of peace on a global scale. 

Much of what we discussed I can’t share here.  But what I can tell you is that this conversation reignited in me a desire to share what I’ve learned about peace and how important it is that we understand that peace must begin within the individual before it can spread to families, neighborhoods, communities, nations and into the world. 

Jesus talked about this when He told his disciples that He offers a peace unlike anything that the world offers, and once we have received this peace, we no longer need to be afraid or troubled. 

Think about how many of us long for this kind of peace.  A peace that surpasses all understanding and allows the bearer to transcend all the adversity that life on this unpredictable planet brings.  A peace that swells up from deep within, and is so much a part of your identity,  that you have a calm that’s contagious even through a storm.

I believe that this kind of personal peace innovation is possible. And the key is through the cultivation of tiny-habits specifically and intentionally created to increase personal peace within, one tiny decision at a time.    

A good place to start is with a question:  What choice do you need to make right now that will sow a seed of peace in your life? 

·       Maybe it’s considering for the first time that there’s someone or some situation that you need to forgive and let go of.

·       Maybe it’s taking a 5-minute walk today so you can victoriously begin to end the deeply personal war created by choosing a sedentary lifestyle? 

·       Maybe it’s giving one item away from the garage that’s overflowing with things you no longer need.

·       Maybe it’s reading one Scripture out loud every morning before you begin your day. 

·       Maybe it’s slowing down and taking a deep breath, accepting that you are not in control.

The seeds of peace are always waiting to be planted and watered.  They are each as unique as you are, and in time - they culminate into the same fruit:  A deep abiding peace that affects you and everyone around you for good in tiny countless ways.

Peace Innovation on a global scale begins with one tiny, loving choice, followed by another. 

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What real-world, practical intervention will you choose today to move toward peace?

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“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. So let not your heart be troubled or afraid.” – Jesus (John 14:27)

Thank you Wesley Eland on Unsplash for this beautiful photo! :-)

Sore Spots that Ache at Christmas

Photo: ‘Tough Times’ by Ben White on Unsplash

Photo: ‘Tough Times’ by Ben White on Unsplash

I love a good Christmas movie.  This year I decided to spend some time checking out some of the new releases on Netflix. I typed ‘Christmas’ into the search box and one of the first movies that popped was a 2017 Netflix Original production called ‘Christmas Inheritance.’  The synopsis reads: ‘Before she can inherit her father’s company, a young heiress is sent to a small town where she learns the value of helping others.’  It was 2am and my brain was tired so I decided to go for it.

One of my best things about walking by faith is that I know that God is always leading me, especially when it come to random, middle of the night moments of discovery.  Overall, the movie is a sweet, standard Christmas movie.  Just as the caption promised, the young heiress, Ellen Langford travels to the small town where her parents grew up and she does in fact discover what Christmas is really all about.

I was quite a bit into the movie when I said, ‘Lord, why am I watching this?’  A short while later, I received my answer when Ellen walks over to her new friend Jake who asks her why she decided to come back. She replies:

‘Even though there are some things that you can’t get over, maybe it’s easier if you’re not alone. If you’re with someone that you trust.’

This was worth the whole movie for me. What a great line and a powerful truth.  I think one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made in my healing journey is that I would often expect myself to somehow find the solution, or the ‘cure’ for my condition, especially if I was battling through a spell of extreme discouragement and struggle. I often thought that my breakthrough would be in the next chapter, podcast, or sermon and often that was true, but the reality is - there are somethings that we make it through that are so terrible, you can’t just ‘get over’ them.  And no matter how far you’ve progressed in recovery, there remains a sore spot that will always ache if disturbed.

It’s just the reality of life in this broken world.  The line from the movie reminded me of something that Robin Williams said, “I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up all alone.  It’s not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel all alone.”  

It’s so important that you make sure not to isolate yourself if you’re going through a season of discouragement and especially if you’re feeling despair.  If you’re going through it right now, I pray that you will reach out to the safe people in your life and let them know you need prayer.  Let them know that you’re hurting and give them the chance to come alongside you through this time of struggle. 

Christmas can be an especially painful time for many people.  I’m sorry for what you’ve been through and  I pray that you’ll believe that God is with you.  He will strengthen you and carry you through.  Please don’t give up hope.  If you don’t have any safe people that you can think of right now, I pray you’ll call the Somebody Cares Helpline or 800-273-8255.

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Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. – Isaiah 41:10

If you’re reading this and you suspect that someone you know may need encouragement, please do take the time to reach out.

 

Choose Hope

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One of my very best friends was devastated. She’d hoped against hope, she’d prayed, planned, studied, worked hard at two jobs while seeking a job that she loved in her field. Year after year this continued until finally it happened - She got the job! A new office, a new team - endless possibilities. I rejoiced for her, thanking God for answered prayers and blessing!

Three weeks later, they fired her.

The funding fell through and her position was dissolved. She was beyond disappointed, she was devastated and tempted to despair. As I prayed for her and reached out to encourage, I was reminded of so many times where I’d been where she was. And through it all, one thing remained: Through it all - God is faithful, constant and He is good. This world is full of uncertainty, but the gift of faith - is faith.

During my boxing training some years ago, my Coach Greg Young used to tell me, ‘You’re overthinking. You can’t think your way through a fight. You train hard, consistently, and you focus. In time, you’ll find it’s all instinct.’ Faith is just like this, you train hard and well and in time, even when you’re knocked down for the count, you always know it’s just the count…

I've learned that it's always good to remember, when you're facing a challenge that knocks the wind out of you, and you're tempted to choose despair, use whatever energy you have to choose hope.

Faith is faith, even when things get blurry.

You will get through this: Stronger, Wiser, Bolder, Better. You’re on your way to something great. Rest well, but never give up. And as you recover from whatever it is, I pray that you will choose faith.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. - Romans 15:13

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Join the ‘Quest for Joy ’ and share your thoughts and lessons learned about choosing hope!