THE PATH TO SERENITY
So, what is our target/goal? What is serenity?
the state or quality of being serene, calm, or tranquil;
Shalom “wholeness” – peace
a state of mutual harmony between people or groups, especially in personal relations
cessation of or freedom from any strife or dissension.
freedom of the mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety, an obsession, etc.; tranquility; serenity.
untroubled; tranquil; content.
keep the peace, to maintain order; cause to refrain from creating a disturbance
make one's peace with, to become reconciled with
make peace, to ask for or arrange a cessation of hostilities or antagonism.
How do we get there? How do we find this place of peace and serenity? That is what we are going to discover as we walk together down this path over the next several weeks. We will be considering God’s word -specifically the Beatitudes and we will also be considering the 12 Step program and other truths God has provided in materials to help us get to the place He has designed us all for… a place and experience of peace, serenity and joy despite our circumstances. This is going to take will power and God power… we can do this!!
Joel 2:12-27 says “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten”. For many of us the locust is anxiety, worry, relationship challenges, loneliness, disappointment, unforgiveness, anger & frustration, self-pity, low self-worth, a horrible past, etc… God wants to restore us… God wants to breathe new life in us. His desire is that we experience the life He designed for us.. and I fully embrace that it is a life of serenity/ peace.
I read a story about a woman who hid $20,000 worth of jewelry in a plastic garbage bag in her home hoping to prevent burglars from finding it. Later, having forgotten about it, she accidentally threw the plastic bag out with her garbage. Several workmen searched for 9 hours in a landfill before finding her treasure and restoring it to her.
Some people throw away God’s abundant and gracious blessings in their lives through blatant sin. There was a time in my life when I wasn’t experiencing the blessing of God because of worry, anxiety, bitterness, anger and some behaviors that were very detrimental to myself and those around me. When I finally realized that I couldn’t help myself, I turned to God, repentant and broken. Gradually God has taught me how to rely more fully on Him and His word. The result of that is life change .. but it is also ‘peace and serenity’. Now… am I able to always be in that place of peace and serenity? Are you? Of course not, however, there are some of us in this room that have never experienced that kind of peace. God wants you to know it, experience it and live it. When the things of life hit us – if we know that place of peace and serenity – we will know there is a place that we need to get back to. And..we will also be able to get back there by working through and doing God’s word that we are going to learn through this class.
I mentioned Joel – In Joel 2, there was an invasion of locusts that stripped God’s people of everything. What those locusts did to them is exactly what our negative choices and sins will do to us. Our only hope is to heed God’s call in Joel 2:12 “turn to me with all your heart”. To those of us who turn, he promises in vs 25 “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten”. Do you need to get rid of some locusts in your life? - Locusts that are robbing you of serenity and peace?
In order for us to get a ‘pulse’ on where we are at in our growth and pursuit of peace & serenity, let’s go over some of the characteristics of a growing person – a person who is on the path to serenity. As I go through these, jot down some notes to yourself – consider the ones you know are not characteristic of you personally that you know God desires change in:
Go through characteristics of a growing person..(listen to audio)
The road to success is not straight
There is a curve called failure, a loop called confusion..
Speed bumps called friends, red lights called enemies,
Caution lights called family and you will have flats called jobs…. BUT…
If you have a spare tire called determination,
An engine called perseverance, insurance called Faith
A driver named Jesus, You will make it to the place called Success/ Serenity/ Peace!!
THE PATH TO SERENITY – Defining the Journey/ the Goal
1. Share your thoughts on serenity/ peace/ shalom – have you experienced it during certain times in your life? On a scale from 1-10 what is your peace level right now – 10 being a high level of peace.
2. What are some of the locusts eating away at your life and serenity?
3. As you consider figuring out where you are currently in your personal growth and serenity, what areas listed in the characteristics of a growing person do you need to work on?
4. What hope and encouragement did you receive tonight?
5. Share steps you will take this week in preparation for the journey ahead.