True inner peace seems to be at a premium these days. So many leaders possess a subtle, but nonetheless present low-grade anxiousness, and for some, fear lurks not far behind.

Take heart, you are not alone.

Perhaps it’s the rapidly changing culture, or the soon coming presidential election, or maybe some personal unrest, insecurity, or problems that leave so many leaders lacking inner peace.

Inner Peace

Some leaders tell me there is no big deal to their lack of inner peace, they are simply running at break-neck speeds, loving what they do, but it’s just too much. They hope it will pass in time. Vacation is the longed-for elixir! If this sounds a little like you, I suggest that you at least raise a yellow caution flag.

In whatever way they might get there, any leader for whom inner peace consistently eludes them, eventually that becomes a significant problem.

This is a picture (a common pattern) of the progression away from peace.

  • Stage 1: Mild inner unrest, but everything on the surface seems fine.
  • Stage 2: Energy begins to run low, and ministry effectiveness becomes more difficult.
  • Stage 3: Joy is consistently depleted. You fake it in public, but you are privately discouraged.
  • Stage 4: Perspective goes askew. Your thinking becomes colored in negative ways.
  • Stage 5: Resentment sets in, which often turns to anger. The absence of peace is now a dominant, and at times a debilitating theme.

So what can you do about it?

First:

Recognize the peace only God can bring.

“And through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”

Colossians 1:20

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:7

Second, acknowledge your part in personal inner peace.

1) Regain a healthy perspective through wise counsel and prayer.

This is a great place to start. Talk with someone you trust and respect. Tell them what’s going on. Focus on regaining an accurate perspective through clear thinking. If you are like me, you may occasionally overthink things. That will rob you of peace! When you see things more clearly, your heart will be more at rest.

2) Acknowledge God’s nearness through prayer.

You are not captive to anyone’s desires or demands. There is no one you need to fear. You don’t need to please everyone. In fact, you can’t. Tell God you deeply desire the peace that escapes you. Quiet yourself before Him and rest in His presence.

3) Tend to personal rest and play.

What does your Sabbath look like? It’s different for all of us, but there needs to be some regular rhythm where you break from work. My day off is usually busy, but unstructured and at the pace I want to go! Patti and I get time together and it’s a great day! How about you, what does your day off look like?

4) Express genuine gratitude for all that you have.

Genuine gratitude is a huge gateway to peace. Lack of gratitude robs you of both peace and joy! You may carry major burdens in your life, but it’s nearly certain that there are many things for which you can be genuinely grateful.

5) Focus your thinking on that which is positive and productive.

It’s amazing how powerful Philippians 4:8 truly is. When you reflect about whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy; it’s amazing how your heart leans toward peace. This is not a pie in the sky. This is the Word of God. For example, when you are working on the biggest problem you face in your church, if you tackle it with this mindset, you are literally tapping into the presence, power and therefore peace of God!

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:4-9