“Let nothing disturb you. God alone suffices.”
— St. Teresa of Avila
We are to enter the rest of God. Hebrews 4:3a says, “Now we who have believed enter that rest.” And Philippians 4:6 tells us, “Be anxious for nothing, but in all things by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”
What is supplication? Yes, it means begging or asking for something humbly, but it also means trusting that our prayers are heard and leaning not on our own effort.
Proverbs 3:5 says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”
The Bible is full of passages about entering the rest that God gives. Unfortunately, the world does not follow much of what God said thousands of years ago, even though it still pertains abundantly well to today’s stresses and worries.
Proverbs 4:26-27 advises: “Watch the path of your feet, and all of your ways will be established. Do not turn to the right nor to the left. Turn your foot from evil.”
What do you want most? Take a moment and think about it. Is it a character trait? A goal? Is it to be like someone you look up to? What is it that you want most of all this year? Or even this month?
When I worked through a self-mastery class in 2014, one of the questions I was asked to sit and think about in my quiet time was: “What is it that you want more than anything else in all areas of your life?” How would you answer that? Wealth, health, prosperity? Abundance, friends, influence?
I answered: Peace. Peace is what I wanted in my life that year. I wanted it to touch every area of my life:
• Peace in relationships
• Peace in finances
• Peace of mind
• Peace in business
• Peace in my soul
I made it a “college” course to have peace in my life. I read all the peace verses in the Bible. I wrote them down in a notebook, yes with pen and paper and cursive writing! I listened to Fruit of the Spirit by Joyce Meyer and focused on the Peace CD over and over. I read more books on peace all year. Even to this day, I will go back and listen and read on this subject before any others. I now have peace! I am calm. I yell less at my kids. I didn’t say I don’t yell, ever. I said I yell less. I can be still and know that God is in charge. I can do my part and trust Him to take care of the rest.
I am comfortable with myself. I am okay with silence—with quiet time, reading time, and alone time with me. Is peace what you want? Or is it another character trait. Either way, great! Just choose what you need to focus on this month or this year and make it a “college” course. To be a master at anything takes about 10,000 hours. Invest in you.
Your Character Trait
Is the trait that you want most honesty? Kindness? Patience? What can you do first to focus on that daily? What resources can you find to read or listen to daily? Search Amazon, eBooks, your public or personal library. If you are a Bible reader or want to be, use Google to search the character trait online. Type in “Bible peace” and it will bring up many verses with the word peace. If you own a concordance, jump into the character. You can also get a concordance online or download one to your tablet or phone. It is a great resource for finding verses that relate directly to the term you want to know more about. Now, write the verses out longhand in the notebook. If you are not a natural student of the Bible, find another source to reference, and write out longhand in your notebook. Writing by hand has been shown to embed what we write into our memory more solidly than just reading or even reading over and over. As Mark Januszewski says, “If it is written, it is true.” There is a connection between the brain, the arm, the hand, the pen, and the words written.
What can you focus on this month? This quarter? This year?
In addition to the writing, write on your calendar at the top of each day. Since the beginning of this year, I have alternated each week with the words: influence, serve, humility. I wanted these traits in my life to be bigger and better this year. You can also post these words all over your house and car. Write them on 3×5 index cards. I love the colored index cards best. One of the best things I did for myself all year was to paint a picture and write the word in a unique way on the painting. I hung them all on my wall above my desk. I see them all the time. They are colorful, something that I am attracted to, and images that make me happy. My eye is drawn to them. I encourage you to find something creative that you do or used to do and bring it back into your life. Make time for it, even if just fifteen minutes each day. Mastering you and your future self takes time.
Next, add this picture to your mind and imagine yourself as master of this trait during your quiet time today and every day. If you have to imagine during your drive time, do it. But it is best when done during full silence with no distractions. Give yourself a smiley face or sticker each day when you focus on your character. When you write it on the top of your daily calendar page, it is easy to check, sticker, or smiley face that entry.
How is your progress? How will you track your progress? Count up how many stickers you have at the end of each month and write that number at the top of the next month. You can even give yourself a prize when you reach a certain number each month. Keep your prize simple: coffee out with spouse, child, or friend; ice cream; time to do a fun project. You name it. Have others around you made comments about changes they notice in you? Make a note of that on your calendar. Use a different colored sticker, maybe! Ask your coworkers, kids, spouse, or friends to notice and tell you when they see you displaying that character or if you are backsliding. Try again the next day.