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Weekly Blog

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

Categories
Weekly Blog

Sometimes You Just Need to Surrender It

Have you ever experienced something at just the right time? You’ve seen or heard it when you need to, whether it’s a: 

  • Billboard
  • Song
  • Scripture Verse
  • Saying
  • Conversation
  • Line in a Book
  • Title of an Article

Or anything else you can imagine. That just happened to me and believe it or not, it was with one of our posts. We post a blog every Wednesday and while previously sending videos on Fridays, we now post the “Inspiration of the Week”. Mary Kate (our creative genius) and I are typically working 3-4 weeks in advance, so often the specific post is as much a surprise to me as you. 

On Friday, August 6th, the post read, “He is in control…God will work it out”. Wow!!! I needed to hear that. Working at Franciscan University of Steubenville, part of my responsibilities, with an incredibly talented and mission driven team, are the Steubenville Conferences….which are absolutely life changing. You can check them out at https://steubenvilleconferences.com. With COVID wiping out our conferences in 2020, we operated at approximately 50% in 2021. 

While our “business” (ministry) is 100% about sharing the love of Christ and saving souls, there is a financial reality to it. To continue doing the ministry we’re accustomed to, we need to get back to our 2019 revenue numbers. Add to the above the additional initiatives that have been discerned and developed (some that are being piloted), that require funding and resources. Lastly there’s the enormity of the tasks and the team being exhausted.  

A reformed workaholic, the above is impacting me too. The load is great and the pace greater. Revenue is a big deal and now requires my attention tactically, not just strategically. I’m not able to do other things that I arguably need to be doing, things that are life giving for me professionally, that which would serve the University (and the Church) in a better way, assuming recovering lost revenue weren’t such a priority. The pressure is on. Can you relate? 

He is in Control 

“We need to eat our own dogfood”. This popular expression certainly applies here…to me. Surrender is something I talk about on a regular basis. It’s the first step in my Path to Peace, followed by Gratitude, Humility, and Love. “Surrender” is what is meant when we say, “He is in control…God will work it out”. 

In thinking and praying about it since seeing our post on that Friday, I’m reminded (once again) I can only do what I can do, using the gifts that God has given me. There are only so many hours in a day. To work to exhaustion isn’t healthy for me, nor does it do the organization any good. The same is obviously true for our team. 

Truth be told, I was allowing my pride to impact things, being concerned about what was outside my control…and really my concern. Being a real “pro” at pride from my past, it’s still something I struggle with. Exercising humility, opposite of pride, is an important aspect of surrender. You may have heard, “Pray as though all relies on God. Work as though all relies on you”. Related to the latter, we have limits….what we can do emotionally, intellectually, and physically. 

I’m not suggesting it’s easy, but it is worth it. God makes all of us with special gifts. He loves us unconditionally and knows what will make us happy. Given this combination, surrendering to His will makes great sense. In humility, understand that it’s not you, but Him working through you. As such, leave the results to God. That’s where you’ll find peace, born of surrender. Committed to prayer, blessed by God’s Grace, I endeavor to stay in that place. I invite you to join me. 

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

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

God made you for GREATNESS!!!

Mark Joseph