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How to Achieve Peace

Do you experience peace on a regular basis? Or instead are you overwhelmed by what’s going on in your life? Does the busyness nullify your opportunity for any downtime, let alone peace of mind? Does the pace crowd out the peace? If you’re answer is “yes” to any or all of the above, be assured that you’re not alone.

For the longest time, I had no peace in my life. I was totally overwhelmed by life, trying to build a business, raise a family, coach our kids in their sports, stay in shape, do chores around the house, have a social life, etc. I prided myself in how much I got done, or thought I got done. What I wasn’t achieving was peace in my life. Likewise, I wasn’t experiencing joy, nor was I fulfilled in what I was doing.

Overtime, I’ve come to believe that there’s a distinct path to peace, which includes surrender, gratitude, humility, and love.

Photo by Ricardo Esquivel from Pexels

Surrender
Acknowledging that I don’t truly have control over anything in my life, coupled with God loving me unconditionally, making me uniquely with special gifts, and wanting me to be fulfilled, I now surrender all to Him.

Doing so means trying to abide by God’s will (He knows best for me) and doing my best, while leaving the results to Him. Knowing His love for me negates my need for validation from others. He and I are in this together and He has my back.

Gratitude
Be thankful. More than that, believe that everything happens for a reason, that there are no coincidences in life. It’s true. Everything is part of God’s grand plan. So live in a place of gratitude; be grateful for everything that happens, even the crises in your life.

Gratitude isn’t just good for the soul, it’s good for the body too. Experts are constantly talking about the benefits to living a life of gratitude, including being happier, healthier, more optimistic, more spiritual, a better friend, a better boss, and many other good outcomes. A true attitude of gratitude is one that allows us to see the hand of God in all things and trust that everything will turn out for the best.

Humility
To me, humility is the opposite of ego, which is our false self, the identity that we create that is often very far from the truth of who we are. The truly humble person lives from the truth of who he is, strengths and weaknesses.

A humble person is genuinely happy for others in their successes. He is accepting of others’ ideas and thoughts (accepting doesn’t mean always agreeing), always very willing to engage in dialogue. The humble person doesn’t always have to be right, be in control, or even win. Humility allows us to accept others for who they are, rather than judging them or trying to change them.

Being humble is understanding that it is only in God working through us that we can perform or achieve anything worthwhile. It is His doing, not ours.

Photo by Orlando Allo

Love
Above all else, we are called to love. Jesus tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves, second only to loving God with our whole heart, mind, strength, and soul. We need to love. When we fail to love, we leave those around us empty, and we are empty too.

Without relationships, life is meaningless. True relationship is impossible without love. To love, we need to be vulnerable; we need to trust; we need to care. Like Jesus, we need to love all.

Please share your comments, challenges, or concerns with me at [email protected]

May God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Mark Joseph

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Weekly Blog

Thank God for Thanksgiving

Thank God for Thanksgiving!!!

I posted a similar blog 3 years ago…liking what I reviewed, I wanted to share again. It’s a good reminder.  

As a country, we have so much to be grateful for, to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving 2022. We get to live in the United States of America, the greatest social and economic experiment in world history. There’s no place in the world that compares to our country. While others have great architecture and landscape, no one has our freedoms, those things held so dear by our Founders, that include the freedom of:

  • Religion
  • Speech
  • The Press
  • Assembly
  • Petition the government

While race and gender inequality existed at the country’s founding, significant measures have been taken over the last 60+ years to dramatically improve the situation. Even with these historical challenges, we’re in a far better place than the rest of the world. Americans are a good people, a compassionate and generous people…statistically speaking, the most generous people in the world.  

The economic opportunities in the United States are second to none. The story of our country is immigrants coming here and having financial success, finding a better life for themselves and their families. The same opportunities and experiences exist for American citizens. And as time progresses and innovation persists in this great country, more opportunities exist. 

The United States of America is the leader of the world. That’s not by accident or just because we have the mite to make an impact…militarily and economically. It’s because we’re the role model for the world. We’re the best of the best and others want to emulate us.

I write the above, knowing that we still have challenges in this country. The one closest to my heart, in addition to the pro-life movement, is solving for poverty. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to remove politics from the conversation, understanding what has and hasn’t worked over the last 60+ years, to lift families out of poverty.  

In closing, I’d like to offer the following prayer for our country: 

Dear Lord, thank you for all of our many blessings

Here in the United States of America; 

Help us to remember the freedoms you have provided us

And the opportunities you have given us.

Help us dear Lord, come together as a nation, eliminating the division. 

Lord, let us feel Your unconditional love, not caring what others think, 

But being all that you call us to be. Help us to see Christ in all and be Christ to all, 

Living Your Will, helping others be the best version of themselves. 

Jesus Christ, Son of the Father, we thank you for our great country; 

We ask for your continued blessings on its citizens and all that travel here. 

Amen!!! 

As always, please contact me at [email protected] with questions, comments, concerns, challenges or prayer requests. 

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Mark Joseph

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Weekly Blog

Courage is Easy to See….If You Pay Attention

If you’re like me, when you think of courage, the images that come to mind include soldiers going into battle, a police officer rescuing a hostage, firemen pulling people from a burning building, or someone saving a victim from an attacker. These examples and similar ones are what get all of the press coverage. In those stories, whether identifying with the victim or the “hero”, we get a glimpse of “courage”.

Examples of Courage in Everyday Life

The truth is that we have examples of courage all around us, that are far less dramatic than the above. The story I want to share here is very close to home, relating to my wife’s father, who not only showed great courage, but dignity.

When I met Rodney, my father-in-law, then in his 70s, he was still cutting hair in his barber shop of 50+ years, managed his rental properties, golfed and bowled regularly, hunted, raised cows, took care of his 15-acre country property, and spent tons of time with his best friend (my mother-in-law), his daughter (my wife), and the broader family. Rodney was a friend’s friend. Everyone knew him and everyone loved him. 

Lou Gehrig’s Disease

Having experienced tragedy previously in his life, including being thrown from a speeding car as a teenager, breaking his back, and being the lone survivor, Rodney was diagnosed with ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. For those not familiar, ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Early symptoms of ALS include:

  • Tripping and falling
  • Weakness in the hands, legs, feet, or ankles
  • Slurred speech or trouble swallowing
  • Muscle cramps and twitching 

As the disease advances and nerve cells are destroyed, the muscles progressively weaken. This eventually affects overall mobility, chewing, swallowing, speaking, and breathing. With no cure, life expectancy is typically no more than 5 years after diagnosis.

Never Complaining

So as to prolong his retirement, he used rubber bands to help him hold the clippers in his hand while cutting hair. He eventually had to stop working, which was preceded by no longer hunting, golfing, or bowling. He went from a cane to a walker, followed by a scooter and then a powered wheelchair. Over time, he couldn’t do anything for himself. He went from living a healthy, active, vibrant life to realizing that he was dying a slow death.  

From the very beginning of this chapter in his life, Rodney never complained. Never. Not only did he never complain, but he took on every new endeavor (and there were many) without hesitation. From giving up work and all his hobbies, to no longer driving, to being in a wheelchair, and ultimately having his every need taken care of, he did it all with what I view as absolute courage.

No Fear

According to Dictionary.com, courage is the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, or pain without fear. I saw in Rodney a courage that was quiet and calm. He encountered great difficulty, but never feared it. Although ALS patients don’t experience physical pain, the emotional stress is a big issue, but not ever as expressed by Rodney.

He never feared the next thing. He never feared death. In fact, he embraced the journey, showing all of us what a life of courage looks like.

Path to Peace

My father-in-law, ever so courageous and dignified (in a world that so needs it), lived at a place of surrender to God’s will, ever so grateful for the life he lived. He was an incredibly humble man, one who loved all who he encountered. I define these four things as the path to peace. While suffering from the disease that ultimately took his life, he did a wonderful job of exemplifying each. 

Who are the courageous people in your life, not the ones who perform external heroic acts (which shouldn’t be minimized), but live lives with courage, dignity, and faith? I bet you have them. I assure you that you can learn from them.

Please send me your comments at [email protected].

May God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!! 

Mark Joseph

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Weekly Blog

You Have No Control

It’s a simple fact: we cannot control life, no matter how much we try. None of us can.  

Many of you might be thinking it isn’t true that you have no control. With a good plan and solid people around you, it’s possible to control things. Sure, much of life allows for you to have a certain amount of control, as long as you allow for contingencies, but even then, things don’t always go perfectly. The fact is that most of life is beyond your absolute control.

  • Other people, their choices and behavior are beyond your control.
  • Tragic events, disease, accidents — these things are all way outside the scope of your control.

If you’ve been following my blogs or have read my book, you know that everything changed for me when I had my conversion, when I first experienced the unconditional love of God. Concurrently, I found that I had very little control over things in my life. I was so tightly wound, trying to control my company and everyone in it, my customers and my vendors, trying to keep track of my family and their needs, and in the end I just couldn’t maintain control.

God Knows Best for Us

What I’ve learned on my 13-year faith journey is that we have a God who loves us more than we can imagine, Who wants to see us happy, Who designed us for a specific purpose, uniquely and individually, Who knows best for us — the God who made us for greatness. I know this to be true for me and to be true for you.

So let’s consider these points objectively:

  • God loves us unconditionally
  • He wants the very best for us
  • We really have very little control
  • We’re overwhelmed by what the world offers us as solutions to life

What Surrender Means to Most

If you’re like most, surrender probably isn’t a word that you’ve considered much, and for good reason. It’s generally thought of as in giving up or acquiescing, not having control. It certainly doesn’t imply strength or independence, the things we are taught that are so important.

Growing up playing sports, followed by starting my career in sales, I never thought of giving up, of surrendering. It was always about winning, either the game or the deal. And winning was about more than just winning. It was about what it said about me…my talents and strengths. Losing pointed to just the opposite…my faults, failings, and frustrations.

The Real Impact of Surrender

It’s a simple fact: surrendering to God’s Will relieves the pressure you feel and plays a critical role in you living a life of peace, joy, and fulfillment.

Instead of conceiving of something on your own, relying on yourself to get it done, and then facing the consequences alone, you can surrender to God’s Will, discerning what He wants for your life and particular situations, and relying on Him for whatever happens. You can use your unique and God-given gifts to do your very best, leaving everything up to Him and understanding that everything in life is part of His grand plan. As long as you know His love, it just doesn’t matter what others think.

God our Father loves us absolutely and handing it all over to Him brings incredible relief. In my case, surrender removed the pressure. It wasn’t just me alone that was responsible. I no longer had to own the outcome. Instead surrender leads to peace, joy, and fulfillment. All we can do is give every action our best, using our God-given talents, remaining open to His will, and leaving the outcome to Him. Try it…you won’t be disappointed.

Please comment to me at [email protected].

God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!

Mark Joseph