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Finding Peace in a Stormy Place



As usual, January started full of promise and anticipation of what the new year would bring, and during my period of Reflection, I came up with some personal areas to focus on this year. One particular target area was Mental Strength. Over the past couple of years, I’ve studied topics about Emotional Intelligence and Mental Health, but I hadn’t really thought of Mental Strength until randomly walking around Target and noticing the book 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by Amy Morin. The title caught my eye, and I promptly went to the Table of Contents:

 

They Don’t Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves – Whoa!
They Don’t Focus On Things They Can’t Control – Oh My!
They Don’t Dwell On the Past – Ouch!
 
As I went through the list of 13 things, it became abundantly clear that I needed to read this book. And the 20% off sticker led to me walking out of the store with the book in hand, ready to focus on strengthening my mind.
 
The first note I took stated: Mental strength is about regulating emotions, managing thoughts, and responding positively, despite negative circumstances. I slowly began to realize this would be a journey of focusing on how my thoughts, behaviors, and emotions impacted my life and choices, and ultimately my future. This isn’t a faith-based book, but it didn’t take long to realize the role that faith would play in influencing these 3 areas to help develop my mental strength.
 
And not a week later, here comes my first test. Upon returning home from Kassadi’s volleyball tournament at the National Harbor in Maryland, my wallet was nowhere to be found. A loss this significant would typically elicit an immediate swell of panic and overwhelm, with worst-case scenarios scrolling through my mind.
 
But with all the self-awareness and self-improvement themes I had been focused on throughout January, I put what I learned into action. Determined to trust God, I needed to demonstrate one of my favorite scriptures, especially with Kassadi seemingly bracing for my expected meltdown:
 
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not to your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV
 
Putting this scripture into practice meant for me to keep my heart rate down, breathe deeply, and not panic. Maintaining my focus, I promptly logged on to my bank accounts to cancel my debit and credit cards, and then NJ’s motor vehicles site to order a duplicate license and print out a temporary one. Lastly, logged onto the 3 credit bureaus and froze my accounts.
Admittedly, had that process not been so easy and convenient, I might not have been able to keep myself so steady. I ended my evening by thanking God for His protection of me, and for everything He has blessed me with, and for His continued covering and safety as I faced whatever was ahead of me. Then I went to bed, filled with peace, knowing that God was in complete control and just wanted my trust. And a week later while still waiting on replacement cards and my license, I’m still trusting in Him and filled with His peace.
 
As you face difficult situations this year, can I encourage you to remember to trust God and allow His peace to keep your mind and emotions from spiraling out of control? As others, especially our children, are watching how we respond to difficult situations, it is important they see us remain steady and look to God while facing a troubling situation. This is mental strength in action!
 
Are you facing a situation that has your emotions and thoughts running wild? Take a moment to read Philippians 4:6 and Provers 3:5-6 and write out in your own words what actions you can take that will lead to peace for your situation.

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