You’ve heard of people training to improve their fitness level, training for a marathon, or training for a career. But training for peace? Really? How does that work? When you think of experiencing peace, you may think of walking on the beach on a sunny day. Sure, it’s easy to have peace on these days. But how do we maintain peace when the clouds roll in? It takes some hard work and intentional training.
Here are some tools I’ve learned and continually need to put into practice. It’s not that I’ve “arrived.” (As Philippians 3:13-14 says, “I do not consider myself YET to have taken hold of it, but one thing I do, forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal…”) But I do have some ideas (with concrete tips) that may help you as you train for PEACE.
P=PRAY IT UP
Philippians 4:6 – Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all he has done – and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Peace begins with connecting with God. Prayer is a two-way conversation with Him. It doesn’t need to be fancy or formulaic. Just bare your heart. Pray about everything. Take all your concerns to Him, and allow time to sit and reflect on His word.
Tip: keep a prayer journal or pray with a friend
E=EXERCISE IT OUT
Romans 12:1 – I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
Movement strengthens our bodies to be able to endure the cares of life. Cardio works on our heart and lung capacity; weight training builds the musculoskeletal system, and toning and stretching improves our flexibility. All together it challenges our body and clears our mind—a great way to destress.
Tip: wear a fitness tracker or download an app to your phone to track your movement; join a Body & Soul class or walk in the evenings with a friend
A=ARRANGE YOUR DAYS
1 Corinthians 14:40 – all things should be done decently and in order.
If you know what you’re aiming for, you’re more likely to hit it. In other words, don’t let your day get away from you, like a galloping horse. Take time to establish goals. Goals will help you set your priorities. Then you can make sure your schedule is filled with what matters most. And don’t forget to allow time in your schedule to transition between activities, so you have moments to breathe!
Tip: look at your calendar and cross off one thing that doesn’t fit with who you are and where you want to be; then review your goals & calendar often.
C=CALM IT DOWN
Psalm 46:10 – Be still and know that I am God.
There is truth in the saying: “If you keep the bow always bent, it breaks.” Take time to relax. We need to slow down physically so our bodies can rest.
Tip: try slow breathing: breathe in 4 cts, hold 4 cts, release 8 cts; sip decaf herbal teas; go outdoors; take short breaks in your day to slow down
E=EAT IT UP
Psalm 119:103 – How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
What movies are you watching? What music do you listen to? What are you eating? Everything you take in affects your body and spirit.
Tip: Pick the closest thing to natural, real food on the restaurant menu. Memorize and meditate on (think of) Scripture verses. Listen to music that gives you hope and inspiration.
I hope these tools are helpful to you as you train. Even if you just choose only one of the letters above (P-E-A-C-E) and take the suggested tip, you will benefit. And, finally, remember that peace begins with God. Jesus said “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.” John 14:27
Teri Moscatelli is the Director of Operations for Body & Soul and teaches Body & Soul classes in Bowie, MD. In addition, Teri is a popular speaker and leads fitness demonstrations at women’s retreats and events. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.