In today’s installment of the comic strip Pearls Before Swine the character Pig, when asked why he is so happy, replies, “I have chosen to become woefully uninformed.”
It is tempting to be like Pig and ignore the news that swirls all around us like a California wildfire. Yet one does not have to become uninformed or blissfully ignorant in order to be happy. In fact, I suspect that becoming woefully uninformed might leave one in an anxious state of concern about the unknown, sort of like a camper sitting around the fire listening to the sounds all around in the darkness and wondering about what (or who) is making them. Ignorance is not a state of comfort or bliss.
It is also not possible for one to know what is going on around them and yet not react to those things in any way. One must not be oblivious, but rather be mindful of those things and chose to react in a calm and reasoned way. The calm part of that response is important, because it allows and facilitates the reasoned response part. People who react to events in panic seldom make wise decisions and usually end up making things worse for themselves ands others.
But, how does one make calm, rational decisions?
I have opined here before about the need to make wise decisions and the usefulness of asking God for help in that process. I think I recommended adding a line to your prayers asking God to “help me make good decisions today”. Perhaps I should have added the phrase “help me to remain calm and” to the front end of that little prayer. Being calm equates to being at peace with yourself and your relationship to God. I know that I have related here the little phrase that local pastor Doug McMunn from the Milford United Methodist Church uses all the time – “be at peace”. Jesus used the phrase “Peace be with you” (John 20:19) when he met with his disciples after his resurrection. Earlier in John 14:27 He said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
Perhaps then, we should pray to first experience the peace that our belief in Jesus gives us and then tackle the issues that we face, untroubled and unafraid. One need not be blissfully ignorant about what is going on in the world, but one can be blissfully confident about their ability to get through the troubles and tests with God’s help. So, when you see and hear the news or face a problem in your life, stop to reconnect with God and be at peace, then you will be prepared to deal with those things.
Being at peace before taking action also negates the kneejerk reaction of taking revenge or getting even for something that make have just happen to you – perhaps a social slight or hurtful remark by someone. Being at peace with God and yourself allows you to instead focus your concern on the reason for that action or remark- the pain or misunderstanding that motivated it from the other person. It allows you to reply in concerned love not in hate.
So, start your day by being at peace with God and yourself through prayer. You do not have to become blissfully uninformed to be happy, but you do need to “be at peace”.