God created peace and God gives peace. We experience God's peace in moments when we are free from anxiety and worry. Two characteristics many of us struggle with. Yet in those moments of clarity when our minds are not distracted with anxiety and worry, we are able to experience God's peace.
When I was first learning different "tools" to help me control my anxiety, the first thing I was taught was to breathe deeply. Deep breathing slows our bodies down, and triggers the parasympathetic nervous system. When we take deep breaths it signals our bodies to relax, and begins to slow our heart rate, and help control anxiety before it gets out of hand.
It's no wonder to me that deep breathing helps to bring peace to our minds and bodies. Our breath is our first connection to God, and since God created peace and gives peace, as we connect to our breath we also connect to the peace of God.
"God has called us to live in peace." (1 For. 7:15) So what does peaceful living look like? How do we cultivate peace in our lives so that we can experience God's peace on a daily basis?
St. Francis captured peace beautifully in his prayer.
"Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen."
As we cultivate peace in our lives, we will radiate God's peace to those around us. Peace is not always easy to cultivate, but as we grow in peace it will change our lives in ways noticeable to ourselves and to others.
Where would you like to experience God's peace in your life? Breathe deeply, and ask God to reveal those places of peace to you.