If we had any doubt, the news of the day confirms it — we live in a fallen world. Whether it’s terrorism across the globe or turbulence within our own cities, peace is hard to come by. The unrest stirs me to action, but what can I do? There is a sense of helplessness as I watch the chaos unfold.
While I’m not a world leader in the global sense, I am in fact a world leader on a smaller scale – my family’s world, our home. I have no power to control what I see transpiring on the world’s stage, but I do have immense power to control what happens within our four walls.
No matter what else my kids are exposed to in school, activities or anywhere else in the world, their most significant life lessons will be learned in our home. The world may be full of mayhem, but home can be a haven of peace. Here are a few ways I make peace a priority in our home:
Peace begins with me. As a parent, my job isn’t just to teach peace, I must model it. Simply put, I cannot desire or require peace if I am responsible for stirring up chaos. What am I doing to foster peace? What am I doing to undermine peace in our home?
As a parent I must lead, not simply react to the circumstances around me. I realize for each person this might look different, but I have a few items on my checklist that determine the tone of our home. A big one for me is taking care of myself physically (getting enough sleep, eating right, exercising) to be the best me I can be for my family. When I get run down, my patience is in short supply and peace can’t thrive in that scenario. What can you control that promotes peace within your home? If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. (Romans 12:18 NIV)
Teach and model healthy conflict resolution. Peace doesn’t necessarily mean the absence of conflict. As a matter of fact, every home has some level of conflict. But what we do with that conflict is the deciding factor between a house of peace and a house of discord. In our family, we have conflict boundaries in place (words that are off-limits, no yelling, no physical escalation, etc.). And we have a process of restoration of the relationship through asking for and offering forgiveness. Blessed are the peacemakers…. (Matthew 5:9)
Planning is imperative. I’ve learned I must plan in my most challenging areas. In my family, I am responsible for all meals. There happen to be 21 feeding occasions per a week, and not planning can make each event a hassle and an opportunity for chaos. As much as I have bucked the notion, planning and stocking the fridge and pantry saves time, money and grief throughout the week. A little planning on the front end pays dividends throughout the week. Where do you need to plan for success? Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. (James 3:18)
Cut the calendar clutter. As parents we often promote a busyness-is-usual lifestyle and our families are paying the price. To make our calendar reflect our priority of peace, my husband and I sit down and plan out our kids’ activities and our own commitments in advance. We cap the number of events on our calendar to make room for family dinners and down-time. Too many coinciding events leaves everyone frazzled. Sometimes it means saying no to really fun, good things, but we must preserve margin in our week if we are going to preserve peace in our home. There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
Keep a daily appointment with God. This is the most important for me. If I master all the elements above, but don’t reserve time for prayer, reading the Bible and meditation on God’s Word, peace in my heart doesn’t stand a chance. It’s within these daily appointments that I find a peace that overrules circumstances, is wholly unreasonable and surpasses understanding. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)
I’ve learned that I must make an active commitment to maintain peace in our home. Peace is not passive or anemic and it doesn’t just happen. It’s the result of a hard-fought battle against the minute-by-minute domestic saboteurs of family accord. But, these are battles I can fight – and win – for the betterment of my small battalion.
Violence, war and brutality are a reality of the world we live in. But our homes can be a protective fortress and a refuge for our families. I may not be able to control the world and its chaos, but I am qualified and called to control the level of peace in our home.
After all, I am a world leader. I am a mother.
This post appeared on JulieHildebrand.com and was republished with permission.