Peace, Part Six
If you haven’t read my previous five posts on ways to increase your peace, I would encourage you to do so before proceeding. Now that we are coming down the home stretch, my remaining five suggestions are going to really go to your core. I hope they do. Because that is where you really need to find peace.
6. Work on yourself and serve others – not the reverse. It seems our default mode as humans is to work on others while serving ourselves with all our hearts. In the short-sighted view, this default pattern makes perfect sense for increasing our peace and happiness. “I get others to be more the way I want them to be, and I do everything I can to have things my way to make me happy. Peace and contentment, here I come!”
Friends, you will find this formula just doesn’t work. But don’t take my word for it. Try it for yourself. Be self-serving with all your heart. Give it a couple of years or so. Then let me know how it goes for you. See where it takes your level of peace and contentment.
We must learn to reverse this pattern, if we are going to find core peace and serenity in our lives. When it comes to working on someone, the only person over whom I really have any control is me. If my mental-emotional-relational well-being is dependent on the behavior or attitude of anyone besides my self, I am in serious trouble! Because I simply don’t have the power to work on you, no matter how hard I try.
I can certainly annoy, aggravate, and vex you. I can push you toward guilt or defensiveness or bitterness. Or I can bless and encourage you. I can model good choices and right living, and draw you closer with my respectful, loving spirit. But work on you? Nope. That would be your job. No matter how much I want it. If the only thing you change in your life as a result of reading my 10 suggestions is to let go of your emotional investment that others must be the way you want them, your newfound peace will amaze you.
But there is more to my suggestion. Remember? Serve others. This takes intentionality. It takes a certain measure of humility and having a solid core. And it may not come easily, if it has not been your habit. (See my Lake Ponchartrain Causeway description for an example of the process of developing new habits.) It will change your life, however.
I guarantee you serving others will change your life. For the better. With increased peace and sense of purpose. Guaranteed. If you practice serving others (with a reasonably sincere attitude) for six months, and you don’t feel a significantly greater sense of peace, purpose, and fulfillment, let me know. I will personally write you a letter of apology for misleading you and wasting your precious time and effort. Try me!