In April, I wrote about how a peaceful life doesn’t just happen but can be designed. We explored the idea that a person can choose whether to be a thermometer or a thermostat in any given situation – either letting circumstances control you and reacting (thermometer) or consciously controlling your emotions and choosing how to respond, therefore adjusting the “temperature” of the situation (thermostat). Establishing the habit of being a thermostat helps bring peace rather than tension into your life. It’s a great tool. (Sound of squealing brakes…)
Since that post in April, I’ve been working on the sequel – how to put together the pieces of your life in which you can actually design peace by making decisions that create the environment that allows you to feel peaceful. My intention was to draw in your mind the imagine of a jigsaw puzzle, where the finished product (Peace) was designed piece by piece. I came up with some real-life examples of specific things Dean & I and others have done that have led to an everyday life that is predominantly peaceful.
This endeavor did not bring me peace.
I wrote. I read and re-read. I cut. I added. I read again. I edited. Cycle after cycle after cycle. I just couldn’t get it right. I wasn’t frustrated, because I set my own deadlines. I haven’t felt pressured in any way, but I just wasn’t confident that what I was saying was what people needed to hear…what You might need to hear.
Take a moment, breathe, act
Dean and I are in Sedona, AZ as I write this. It’s been on our bucket list for years. The opportunity to come presented itself to us just a few weeks ago, and we jumped on it. We flew into Phoenix and drove up yesterday. Leaving Phoenix, we ran into a traffic jam on the freeway due to construction. Four lanes converging into one (ugh!!!); 4 mph for a 5 mile stretch of highway (Thank you, Waze app!). Years ago, this would have resulted in frustration, anger, aggressive measures and a resulting “bad day” on the road. But yesterday was different. We teamed up. We took a breath, became thermostats, and got into action. Dean found a place to get off the freeway, I jumped on Google maps to figure out how to navigate around it, we discussed options, and in a half hour or so we were past the traffic jam, driving up the road thinking “happiness is a gridlock in our rearview mirror.” We worked as a team and overcame the obstacle.
Marveling at how well we had worked together as a team and how we had maintained a positive attitude through it all, I realized what the missing piece was from the post. I had been trying to lay out the blueprints for a peaceful life that anyone could follow. But blueprints are worthless if the structure they design isn’t built on a strong foundation. For Dean & I, the cornerstone, the basis, of our foundation is our faith in God. The cement is the fact that we are on the same team. We have grown in our relationship by coming to the same page in the areas of life that can produce the most strife or peace – relationships, our home (physical), finances, spiritual walk, emotions, dreams, and expectations.
We chose peace. It is a journey that we started over 25 years ago (we’ve been married for almost 38) and has had its ups and downs. It’s a journey we are still on because life goes on.
We have grown, both individually and as a couple…not always at the same speed or in exactly the same way. But we have knit ourselves together into an unbeatable team with God as our team captain. We have worked together to shape our life into one in which we truly are at peace.
Proof is in the heart
Tomorrow, May 25th, will be the 6-month mark since Dustin died. We “should” feel sad. But while we miss him terribly, we choose to celebrate the gift of the 31 years God allowed us to have him with us on earth. This morning, as we began hiking up the Cathedral Rock trail in Sedona at 5:30 am, we said Good Morning to Dustin and praised God for the beauty of His creation. We marveled at His handiwork and felt humble and small against such a magnificent masterpiece. I imagined that Dustin was watching with a smile on his face. We sent Derek pictures because he loves to hike and so he could know that we’re okay (physically & emotionally). We aren’t sad; we are joyful because of the peace God has poured into our hearts. It’s proof to us that the peace we feel is real.
That is what I wish for everyone, and what I want you to know…that your life can be one that is peaceful, regardless of how far away that seems right now. You can design a life of peace. It takes God; it takes being on the same team – let that be the first area you design. Getting there takes having discussions and making decisions together. It may mean compromise. Pick an area you can work on together and do so as a team. Identify an area where there is some peace and start there. Let it be something easy. Experience success in making effective changes and move up from there. Seek help and advice from others around you who have the kind of life you want...it will most likely be different people for different areas. Seek wisdom and put what you learn into practice.
You can do this. God will help. Ask, and He will put people in your life to help you achieve it. But as the saying goes “God doesn’t drive a parked car.” You must put it in gear and take action to get things moving. You can do it. We did, and we know you can too.