Yesterday I riffed a little on Jesus' words when he wept over Jerusalem ("I wish you knew today what would bring you peace" (Luke 19:42, NCV)) and listed 7 things I have learned bring me peace. Today I thought I'd take the opposite tack. What are the things that sap my peace, that subtract from my joy and general sense of well-being:
* PRAYERLESSNESS...I function better and feel better when I have been constant in prayer. There's just no substitute.
* CRITICISM...I am so jealous of my friends in ministry who let criticism roll off them like water off a duck's back. I'm not like that. Criticism rolls off me like a fly strip off a fly's back. I honestly think I'm getting better at it, but there's still PUHLENTY of room for improvement.
* TELEVISION...It took me some time to realize, when I used to take my Sabbath on Saturdays, that watching television--particularly 4-8 hours of college football--did NOT charge my battery! But when I began to eschew all T.V. on my Sabbath, I experienced an amazing restoration.
* HURRY...John Ortberg tells the story in his book, When The Game Is Over, It All Goes Back in the Box, of asking a wise friend what he needed to do to be spiritually healthy. The man said, "Ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life." He wrote that down, then asked, "What else?" The man said, "There is nothing else. You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life." I needed that counsel as much or more than Ortberg, I'm sure. Hurry is my enemy, and one of my great weaknesses. When I give into it, it robs me of joy and peace...in a hurry!
* DRIVING...my kids make fun of me because I avoid driving whenever possible, especially on my weekend (and certainly on my Sabbath). But honest to goodness, driving--even if I'm not in a particular hurry--draws down my tank like running too many applications off an old laptop battery.
* TELEPHONES...I have long had a hate/hate relationship with the telephone. Having an iPhone has mitigated that a lot. But even so, I find that I still have the tiniest tolerance for talking on the telephone (except with the lovely Robin, and my kids, of course!).
* PEOPLE...Don't get me wrong. I love people (most of the time). But I'm an introvert. I get recharged in silence and solitude (or near-solitude). So I know that, when I reach my limit, I need a break even from good friends and wonderful people. I think Jesus understands, because the Gospels seem to paint a similar picture of him.
So those are the main ones, I think. When my tank is full, such things are not a problem. But I think I'm learning that, when the tank starts to get low, I need to give myself permission to avoid some of the things that sap my peace and pursue some of the things that bring me peace....and with added peace will come added joy. And with added joy, renewed energy and effectiveness.