The Jack’s Winning Words blog today featured this saying – “We can have peace if we let go of wanting to change the past and wanting to control the future.” (Lester Levinson)
Out Pastor always says, “Go in peace, serve the Lord”, at the end of our church service. One of my favorite people, Pastor Doug McMunn of the Milford United Methodist Church often interjects, “Be at peace” into conversations. We also have been given a promise of a “peace that passes all understanding” when we join Jesus in Heaven.
So, what is this peace that is so important and how might we achieve it? I think today’s saying in Jack’s blog is the key – we must let go. The thing that we must let go of is our ego, the thing within us that drives us to try to understand and change the past and to control the future. Our inability to surrender to God’s will torments us and keeps us from achieving peace.
That constant need to understand and to control is our own ego inserting itself between us and God. I don’t think that there is anything particularly wrong with trying to understand and learn from something that happened in the past, but it is also necessary to let it go, to put it in the past and get on with life. Instead, we beat up ourselves for what we perceive were our mistakes or we blame others for their influence on the outcome of things. There is no peace to be found in playing the “coulda, woulda, shoudla” game over and over in our minds.
Even less peaceful is worrying about the future; fretting about what might happen and how we might be able to control things. Our minds are wonderful things, but left untethered they are as likely to come up with a nightmare, as they are to conjure up a pleasant dream. There is nothing wrong with having some contingency plans in place; however, dwelling on how to control every possible thing that could go wrong is both wasteful and fruitless and certainly not peaceful.
How can one break the grip of our ego’s and be more at peace? Instead of surrendering control of your life to your ego, you can surrender it to God and trust the direction that He is taking you. I’ve shared the little prayer that I use many time, but I truly believe that it is the key to achieving peace. I just stop myself, usually in the midst of what my ego is telling me is a crisis that I must somehow try to control, and quietly say to God, “Not my will but thy will be done.” I usually experience an immediate sense of peace and the crisis fades into the background noise of life. Try it. Maybe it will help you achieve peace, too.
So, as you go through the rest of the week, put your trust in God and, as Pastor McMunn would say…Be at peace.