I have struggled for years with a roller coaster faith. I’ve also struggled for years with allowing life to control my thoughts, attitudes, actions, and mood. I never really made the connection until recently. Maybe it has to do with reaching those middle years where we finally begin to let go of our immaturity and contemplate the goals we have yet to achieve. It’s amazing how fast life can fly by while we’re looking forward to the next big event. Then as year number forty approaches, where we are in life, where we wanted to be, and where we want to go become more and more critical and a re-evaluation happens. It was during just such a re-evaluation, a search for meaning and purpose, a desperate reaching out for help, hope, and peace that I discovered the answer had always been there, waiting: God.
We’ve had an on again/off again relationship over the past thirty-something years. There were times I trusted in Him, relied on Him, and hoped in Him. And then there were times I left Him waiting patiently in the wings while I lived my life however I saw fit, while things seemed to fall apart around me. Time and time again, He has forgiven me for ignoring Him, blaming Him, and denying Him. I am indeed grateful for His never-ending mercy, and His endless blessings when I finally came home to Him. This is where we belong; this is the key to that door we all want to walk through.
The foundation of peace in our lives and in our hearts is a life based on Him. A strong faith and dedication to constant growth will unlock the doors of true happiness, peace, love, hopes, dreams, and will bestow a fountain of blessings we can’t even imagine.
I found three basic stones, if you will, to building my foundation of peace. Creating a daily habit of these three stones is helping me to build a very solid foundation. I have faith they will help you, too.
1. Prayer – It’s essential. It’s our communication with God and all those who do His work from the world beyond. It’s our lifeline. A daily habit of prayer will keep us focused and tuned in. Start small, but set aside at least a few minutes a day for prayer. Then as that becomes habit, extend it. I seem to have an almost endless dialogue with God all day from the moment I wake up until I fall asleep. Prayer doesn’t need to be complicated or intimidating. Talk from the heart, or say a familiar prayer. Just remember to listen, praise, and pray for others in between your requests, and always be open to His will instead of yours.
2. Church – Go. At least once a week. Worship Him, praise Him, thank Him, and listen to Him. If we ask, then open our hearts and minds, He will speak to us. Sometimes it will be a whisper, other times like running into a brick wall. Be ready for His message, it will come. Set aside the time like any other appointment on your weekly calendar – it is more important and beneficial than any other appointment, meeting, or activity you already have on your calendar. Make it a habit to schedule around church.
3. Spiritual Reading – Have a Bible in your home. If you already have one, go dig it out and dust it off. Set it out on a table where it can be seen and picked up easily. Read something from it every day. Start at the beginning and read to the end, or start with the Gospels or your favorite book if you have one. Or there are several sources to find a list of readings for every day of the year. Here is one such source for Catholics: Catholic Bible in a Year. Catholics may also want to look into making the initial investment of a Daily Missal, which will provide the schedule for every day’s Mass readings. However you choose to do it, make it a habit to read the Bible, alone or as a family, every day. God has left us the answer to everything there, from instructions on how He wants to be worshiped to relationship guidelines to spiritual development. It’s an invaluable guide. Embrace it. Seek out reliable help and guidance if you need help interpreting any of it. I find that the more regularly I pray and attend church, the easier it is for God to reveal His word to me. Seek out other spiritual reading too. Read about saints, church history, history of Christianity, and prayer. Read authors who are spiritually sound and offer guidance, help, advice, or information about relationships, family, and so on in light of God’s plan. When you are seeking help from the right places, it’s amazing how accessible He makes them.
Create these habits out of love for God and his endless mercy. Be true in your devotions and get ready for an outpouring of blessings in ways you never imagined. I am able to handle things calmly that I never thought possible, I receiving blessings in our financial situations when no other explanation is possible, I feel happy, content, and hopeful in situations I would otherwise fell miserable and desperate in. In being resolute and open to His will, we may not receive exactly what we ask for, but He will give us what we need to get by. In that we can find true happiness and peace.
Creating a Habit: Here are my daily/weekly spiritual habits and goal habits as they relate to my three cornerstones in the foundation of peace. I hope they help you discover your own.
Prayer – upon waking daily, 3:00pm hour Divine Mercy Chaplet, evening rosary (at least one set of mysteries); various small prayers or conversations throughout my day.
Church – Sunday Mass weekly, Mass on all holy days of obligation; adoration & benediction weekly; confession monthly.
Spiritual Reading – I am always reading a spiritually enriching book of some sort, currently Rediscovering Catholicism by Matthew Kelly. I also check out the stories on Spirit Daily at least a couple times a week. I am working on my Bible reading habit with a current goal of ten minutes daily. I started at the beginning with Genesis chapter one, but occasionally break from it when I need certain spiritual direction or comfort.