It’s easy to be calm when major troubles or worries aren’t keeping us up at night. But these days, most of us have a lot on our minds.
Our world is plagued by violence, corruption, social unrest and economic uncertainty. We worry about food shortages, bank failures, natural disasters, disease outbreaks, government overreach and the potential threat of artificial intelligence. This is on top of personal trials with health, our job or relationships.
We all yearn for inner peace. But how can we possibly achieve that? It helps to understand what peace really is. It’s not merely an absence of disturbances or conflict. True peace of mind is not contingent on circumstances. We can find it even in the midst of trauma and upset. Ultimately, it’s a matter of looking to God for strength and guidance and seeing our situations more from His perspective. Here are six specific ways to gain peace of mind.
1. Cast your cares on God.
The starting point is to call on God through prayer. The Bible says, “Give all your worries and cares to God” (1 Peter 5:7, New Living Translation). Thinking we can handle things on our own will keep us from seeking God like we should.
A friend of mine learned this lesson when her husband was unemployed for two years and they came close to losing their house and having to file for bankruptcy. “We didn’t feel any peace until we realized, after we’d done everything we could on our end to stay afloat financially, how much was not in our control and how much we needed to trust God for the outcome,” my friend related.
Whatever is worrying us or weighing us down should be handed over to God, who will address the difficulties and needs of His followers in the very best way. He may not immediately fix or remove our concerns, but Psalm 50:15 says that God will deliver us if we call on Him. We do need to do our part to get through difficulties, but always look to God to take care of all the issues that truly are beyond our control. Just knowing that we don’t have to rely on our own abilities and resources to solve our problems, and that God will make up for where we lack, is extremely calming.
2. Meditate on God’s promises.
We should remind ourselves of the many promises in the Bible for God’s protection, deliverance and care for those who serve Him in the way He asks. The Bible tells us God will not fail or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6, 8; Psalm 37:28; John 14:18). God will finish the work He has started in us and will not give up on us (Philippians 1:6). When we ask God for help, He will meet our needs (Philippians 4:19).
This includes providing sustenance (Matthew 6:31-33), refuge (Psalm 91:2, 5-7), healing (James 5:14-16), and guidance and direction (Proverbs 16:9). Even when we get into trouble, God will give us the resources we need to make it through those times (1 Corinthians 10:13). By clinging to these precious promises, we can be at peace, no longer controlled by our fears and anxieties.
3. Reflect on God’s works.
It’s helpful to think about instances in the past where we could see the hand of God in our lives. We should all be able to recall times when God opened doors and intervened for us, bringing about solutions to stressful situations. For example, there might have been a time amid difficult economic circumstances when you landed just the right job or when the ideal property suddenly came on the real estate market after many months of searching, or when a personal health crisis miraculously improved, perhaps overnight. Remind yourself of how these events unfolded.
We might also reflect on ways God intervened in history, like how the Native Americans assisted the Pilgrims in their settlement of America or how the Allied forces were rescued at Dunkirk during World War II. Such stories can be very inspiring.
Of course, the Bible records many miraculous interventions by God, everything from the Israelites’ deliverance at the Red Sea to how Daniel was protected in the lions’ den. Directing our thoughts to God’s amazing acts of intervention will push worrying out of our minds.
4. Face the facts.
We should dwell on what’s constructive, right and good, as we’re told in Philippians 4:8. But that doesn’t mean we should ignore or refuse to acknowledge what’s unsettling or unpleasant. Being truly at peace requires facing reality. We can’t create pleasant circumstances by just ignoring what’s happening, pretending things are better than they are, or simply thinking “happy thoughts.”
Being well-informed about the situations we face helps us to plan, strategize and be prepared for possible difficult outcomes (Proverbs 22:3; 27:12). We’ll be less frantic and calmer if we’re ready for what’s coming. In facing the world scene, the Bible tells us what to watch for in terms of prophetic events, in part so we can be prepared physically and spiritually. In introducing His prophecy of troubling world events that would occur before His return, Jesus Christ said, “See that you are not troubled” (Matthew 24:6). Being aware of what will occur helps us to be at peace with what is happening.
Refusing to acknowledge the negative realities of this life—perhaps not even allowing ourselves to watch the news because it’s so unpleasant, or maybe spending a lot of time in the digital entertainment realm to “escape” the real world—may temporarily make us feel good. But it sets us up for being caught off guard or overtaken by potentially serious troubles.
5. Surround yourself with uplifting people.
The Bible warns us that “evil company corrupts good habits” (1 Corinthians 15:33). We can’t help but be influenced by the company we keep. If we mostly associate with people who are negative, chronic worriers or easily disturbed, we’ll likely become that way ourselves.
We should spend most of our time with upbeat individuals who are living their lives as constructively as they can and with a hope-filled mindset. If we find ourselves fretting about something, we need to be able to talk to people who will listen to our concerns and not pretend things are rosier than they are, but who will still see the positives of the situation and help steer us toward solutions. If we’re not thinking clearly, they’ll tell us, and will also assure us they’ll pray for us. This helps us stay calm and maintain a more “I-can-get-through-this” attitude.
6. Remember God’s “big picture.”
Recently a friend who received a serious cancer diagnosis expressed to me, “Well, if this is what God thinks I need to go through in order to be in His Kingdom, then so be it.” She was totally at peace with the health crisis she found herself in.
She knew that the circumstances we face right now will ultimately work together for good purposes—that God is using our trials to build in us the experience, character and wisdom necessary to be in His Kingdom (Romans 8:28; 5:3-4; Isaiah 64:8). God knows what’s best for us. He is focused on eternity, not just the here-and-now. We need to cultivate that same mindset (Romans 8:18; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
Doing so not only strengthens us when going through personal setbacks, but it also fills us with hope when we hear news coverage and commentary about all of society’s problems. The suffering over mankind’s history serves as a huge testimony to just how much we need Jesus Christ to return to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. Know that He will return (Matthew 24:30; Revelation 11:15; Daniel 2:44; Micah 1:3-4) and that when He does the world’s troubles will be solved. Things may be bad now, but they will get better, and we don’t have to look to fallible human beings to try to make this world a better place.
As long as we remember these truths, keep our focus on God’s Kingdom, continue to walk in His ways, and trust God to do what needs to be done to carry out His plans, we will find peace—even in this increasingly troubled world!