As many people do, I like to choose one word for each year instead of making a whole list of resolutions that I am unlikely to keep past January 23. After Christmas, as the year is coming to an end, my mind automatically turns to the things I would like to improve in my life and I usually have my new word chosen by January 1st.
This year, I thought I was pretty set on the word “joy” because who doesn’t need more joy in their lives? I tend to be an ultra-serious person who doesn’t let herself let loose and have fun very often. And I think sometimes I don’t let myself be happy, either. So, as I was thinking about how I could find more joy in my life, I realized that joy wasn’t the word I need this year at all.
I can’t even begin to let joy into my life until I learn how to let peace into my life.
The word may not be very original, but it is exactly what I need right now. The peace I want to find is the peace that we read about in the scriptures. The two scriptures that stick out to me most are “Peace, be still.” (Mark 4:39) and “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)
My heart is often troubled about many things.
Am I a good mother? Am I a good wife? Am I a good daughter, sister, friend, teacher, Primary President, etc.? Am I doing enough? How can I be better? Why can’t I be perfect? Why do my children argue all the time? Why isn’t my house clean? Why am I unhappy? Why do I yell at my daughters? How can I possibly do all that is asked of me? Why can’t I control the world?
As I look ahead to the upcoming semester, I feel incredibly overwhelmed. I have taken on a couple of extra students, I will be performing a lead role in an opera in April which means a lot of extra practice and memorization and rehearsal hours, my duties as a mother are still just as demanding as ever, and I simply don’t know how I will survive the next few months. My heart is troubled and it is also afraid.
I have written a lot here about how I’m constantly trying to learn to say “no” to things that are less important, to always choose the better part and let go of the rest. I obviously still have much to learn in that department. I don’t want my home and family to always get the worst of me because I give my best to other things.
Then there’s the fact that my children do seem to argue a lot. I know it’s probably normal, but I don’t like the feeling of contention in our home. And I contribute to it in a big way. I am a big ball of stress and anxiety and that stress and anxiety often manifests itself in the form of losing patience with the girls. And my husband. What kind of an example am I setting for my daughters? No wonder they bicker so much–I show them how!
In my life I have developed an extraordinary ability to act like I have it totally together even though I am constantly falling apart inside. I want to stop falling apart inside. It is time to put myself back together.
So, Peace. I don’t really know how to have peace in my life, and this year I’m going to try and figure that out.
I want to feel at peace with my efforts as a wife and mother. To recognize my imperfections, but to be at peace with where I am at this moment. I want to feel at peace with my overstuffed plate, and to learn how to take things one at a time and be at peace with whatever I can do and give the rest to the Lord.
As I write this, I think of my experience performing Dona Nobis Pacem a couple of years ago. I have learned this lesson of peace before, but now I need to learn to have this kind of peace become a part of who I am. No more anxiety and stress all the time.