If you’re like me, you really dislike New Year’s resolutions. (Sigh. Another chance to fail at something.) But this year is different. I’m actually excited to make the following resolution...
I was considering making a bucket list- you know, the once-in-a-lifetime things you want to do before you die. However, I realized that the focus of a bucket list is seeking thrills or one-time experiences. While I think that a bucket list has value, I realized that I am seeking something else at this time in my life. I began to formulate an idea for a different kind of list, based around this powerful question: “What activities bring me peace?”
Peace is defined in the dictionary as “freedom from disturbance; tranquility.” I experience peace when there is synchronicity between my goals and my actions. When people ask me about my religious discernment and want to know how I knew what my true vocation was, my answer is always “peace.” Following peace has never led me astray. Following peace is partially gut instinct and partially intellectual knowledge. It’s deeper than thrills or momentary happiness. Peace is God’s gift when you put yourself in his presence, and there is absolutely nothing better.
Doing things that contribute to the legacy I want to leave when I die bring me peace. Doing things that contribute to the person of excellence, discipline, character and holiness that I want to become bring me peace.
What activities bring you peace? The answer is probably not “things that are easy to do.” At the end of a long day, working on my speaking ministry or praying or working out are often the last things that feel easy because they take effort. Netflix and Facebook beckon temptingly, and I find myself justifying them with, “I really deserve to just chill out.” Sometimes I obsessively answer emails as soon as they come in, or fill my time with ‘busy work’ around the house that is necessary on some level but does not bring me peace. However, when I prioritize activities that I truly love to do but that are harder to get started than time-wasting activities, I experience peace. I feel a deep fulfillment and energy when I craft and practice a new presentation that I hope will help others deepen their relationship with Christ, that mindlessly surfing the internet can never give me. Diligent preparation before giving my talks, reading the bible and praying, writing a love letter to my husband, taking my baby out for a nature walk, and taking care of my body by exercising are just a few of the kinds of things that bring me peace.
So, what brings you peace? A few things probably spring to mind right away. Make a list! Write them down! You’ll feel better immediately just by identifying them. They will be unique and personal to your own life, but here are a few that might make your list:
Working toward that dream/passion that you often think about
Quality time with your children and spouse
Mapping out and organizing your week/month/year
Acts of service
Cleaning/organizing projects that are never urgent, but necessary
Envision the person you will be if you regularly do these things that bring you peace. That better version of yourself is infinitely worth striving for. Saints are not made by following internet rabbit holes. Every time you have the option to choose time-wasting activities or peace-bringing activities in the New Year, remind yourself of that better person you want to be. As fellow motivational speaker Leah Darrow brilliantly said, “Heaven is not made up of couch potatoes.”
What must you change to shrink the time-wasting activities or “busy work” and enhance the time you spend on activities that bring you peace?
If you’re interested in turbo-charging your motivation to spend your time doing the things that bring you peace in the new year, read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey and Resisting Happiness by Matthew Kelly.
Thank you so much for reading, and please leave a comment on the following question:
What one activity can I start doing right now to have more peace?