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Inviting Peace with Prayer and Curiosity

We’re coming to the end of our month talking about peace and I hope that these reflections have helped you reflect on where you were at with peace right now. (You can still grab the resource package right here!)

For Type A people/perfectionists like myself, reflecting on peace can be an anxiety riddled endeavor. 

Thinking about all the ways and places I don’t have peace can send me into a tailspin of even more anxiety and worry about why and what I need to do better to capture and conquer peace like it’s some kind of gold medal. 

That is, to put it bluntly, super unhelpful. 

On the contrary, peace is not something that we capture like a prize bird, but something we invite like a beloved houseguest. And that’s why I want to spend this last week talking about a few tools that you can use to both grow in peace and keep anxiety about it all at bay.

1. Curiosity 

Curiosity is one of the most helpful techniques you can keep in your arsenal of personal growth tools. Instead of panicking, getting anxious, or reverting to what is comfortable when you find yourself getting anxious about peace (or anything else you might be seeking or struggling with) you can choose to turn to curiosity instead. 

When you are curious about why you feel the way you feel, you open the door to God and yourself to move in deeper reflection that can lead to real growth. I find when I start to get that anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach if I stop and literally say out loud to myself “Why am I feeling this way?“ I am way more likely to be able to move through the feeling. This question keeps anxiety from seriously derailing my day instead of letting the feeling grow and fester in my stomach until it affects my head and every other part of my body in a tidal wave of stress.

Less stress tidal waves = happier me.

2. Prayer 

I have this weird notion that prayer is where I present my solutions to God, which writing that looks pretty hilarious because it’s so clearly wrong, but when I’m going about my day in my own little Jill bubble, it feels like that’s the way I act. 

A lot of times I don’t go to prayer until I feel like I have a good option for what to do – almost like I want to provide God side of the conversation in addition to my own. But that’s not the way it supposed to work at all. We only provide our side of the conversation. We can present endless problems that we face without solutions without repercussion – that’s what it’s for. 

Prayer is where we come to let God sort things out for us – not where we sort things out for ourselves. If you were finding peace to be particularly elusive in a certain area of your life, I encourage you to keep presenting a problem to God in prayer over and over again – no matter how long it takes. 

Do you remember the story in the gospel about the woman who bothered the godless judge so much that he eventually ruled in her favor? Jesus taught that if that judge who was unjust did that, how much more would your father in heaven respond to the perseverance of his children? 

Ask God for peace. Over and over again. He is the only one that will really give it to you and you can be assured in his promises that he will provide it to you – maybe not in that moment, that day or that week, but it will come. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed turning with me in this reflection on peace this January. I find that January is a time so full of aspiration when New Year’s resolutions are ripe in our minds, it can be hard to sit in peace with where we are at right now and what we already have. 

I hope that these posts have help to you even just a little bit this month to allow God to bring you the peace he so desires to bring you.

Following Peace

 

 

One of the best pieces of advice I ever got in college was to “follow peace”.

If I didn’t have peace about the decision I needed to hold off. 

I was told that God‘s will brings peace and so to some extent, although not infallible, we can use the sense of peace we have about things as a kind of barometer for whether or not it’s in keeping with God‘s plan for us.

Now, take that with a grain of salt because there have been many things in my life where it felt like there wasn’t peace in either option, the peace came instead with the decision making. 

There’s not always a hidden right answer – God is not a game show host with doors that alternatively hide our deepest desires or a pit of fire. He’s not sitting up in the clouds (like I think some atheists imagine we believe he must be) getting ready to zap us if we choose the wrong thing. There are many choices in our lives where God is happy to work through whatever we choose and we can have peace in our decisions knowing that the Scriptures will be fulfilled in us – God will work all things together for good for those who love and serve him. 

Ultimately, that’s where the peace comes from.

It’s not necessarily in making the right choice every time with a perfect record – it comes from trusting that God will do what he said he would. 

I’m finding this January to be a wonderful time to reassess whether or not I really and truly trust in God. Our holiday season here at the shop was not quite what I had hoped it would be. I had bigger goals and grander plans. When they did not come to pass it was a true opportunity to reflect on whether or not 1.) I really did have peace about running this company and 2.) did I really trust that God would provide for my family and the way he said he would. 

So I invite you to reflect on your own life – where do you not feel peace? Do you really trust God with that area of your life? 

If you’re anything like me, those areas that are our biggest sources of anxiety are likely the things that we’re kind of keeping off to the side for ourselves to deal with and not allowing God to be in control of.

But we can trust him. 

He is the only one truly and endlessly worthy of our trust. 

I invite you to give those areas of anxiety to God this week.

The Bear Hunt for Peace

God desires peace for your heart. 

Do you believe that? Do you experience that? 

My answer is both yes or no if I’m being honest. Sometimes it seems like peace is extraordinarily elusive, almost like God is making it intentionally hard for me to find. It seems like the harder I think it the harder it runs away. 

There’s a short story I love about a boy hunting for a bear in the woods. He hunts unceasingly for the bear, looking every day and believing that he will eventually find it. Along the way he catches glimpses, things that keep him going on his quest to find it. And then, when the bear decides it’s time, the bear reveals himself. All the while he’s been drawing the boy deeper into the story – deeper into the forest. 

The search has drawn the little boy into a kind of closeness with the bear that never could have occurred if the bear had been easy to find. When it last they stand face-to-face it is as if they are old friends – both shaped by the dance that led them to each other. (As a sidenote, I’ve completely forgotten the name and author of the story amongst the thousands that I read while completing my English degree in college, so if this rings a bell please hit reply and remind me of the authorship of story so I can share it with everyone next week! It deeply pains me to send a synopsis like this without being able to refer everyone to the original.

It’s that way with us and God I think. He could just show us himself and his full glory, which would flood our souls with peace and wonder, but he does not. He allows us to seek him alongside the peace that comes from knowing him and trusting him. 

So that’s my challenge to you this week – reflect on your life. When have you seen your own glimpses of the bear – moments in God‘s presence where you have felt his peace? If you have a story you’d like to share I’d love to hear it – just hit reply and let me know.

If you’ve peeked around the shop lately you might have noticed some changes. We are moving to a simplified shop model in 2020, keeping a much smaller stock of items in our core, always available collection, and having several special limited edition items available each month for just that month that related to our theme for the month – for instance we have several “Peace” themed items in the shop right now that will go away January 31. 

To check out this month’s limited edition head right here and watch our “Limited Edition” category for new items every month!

Driving in the Fog – a Lesson in God’s Peace

The morning of my planning retreat for 2020 it was extremely foggy. I live in the city, so typically there’s not low hanging fog the way that you would expect in the country. But on this particular day there was thick white fog everywhere making visibility only about an eighth of a mile or so – you couldn’t even see a whole block in front of you. 

And so as I was driving to work that morning I was struck with a thought – there’s really only two ways to drive in fog- stressed and anxious about what it is that is out there that you can’t see or thankful for the visual quiet that allowed you to see only what you needed to see. 

When I pulled up to a stoplight I could see it clearly, as well as the other cars in the intersection. I was never in any danger. But the rest of everything that usually clogged my commute was stripped away – no billboards, no storefronts, no lights far up the road. It was just peaceful. 

So as I was driving through this fog I begin to reflect on how living the Christian life, a life entrusted to God, is so much like driving through this fog. We can only see what we need to see it any given time, but how much do I frequently let that be an impetus of fear and anxiety instead of an opportunity for deep peace – knowing, without a doubt, but I can see you what I need to see, no more, no less.

It was a peaceful revelation, but it was also a punch in the gut. 

Why was I allowing God‘s grace of only giving us the unobstructed present to be a source of such anxiety? Why could I not trust that I could see what I needed to see? 

It was so fitting that this drive was the starting point for my planning retreat for 2020. 2019 was a year decidedly marked by a lack of peace. It got so bad in the last months of the year that I begin to doubt my plan to write about peace this January because I couldn’t imagine how someone who sought peace but found it to be so elusive could ever share thoughts on it in any kind of helpful way. 

But the fog showed me that I lack peace because I haven’t really wanted it – on God’s terms. If I want to embrace it, it’s right there. God is taking care of everything – limiting my vision with the love of a father so that I need not be overwhelmed, but there I was in the midst of the fog imagining what grotesque monsters and giants could be lurking just outside the field of my vision. The peaceful place God has prepared for me had become a nightmare – stalked by the worst imaginings of my troubled heart.

I had been actively rejecting peace. It brings tears to my eyes to say that because I felt that is all I’ve been seeking, and therein lies another problem – the very hunt for peace had become yet another source of crippling anxiety for me. 

I let the anxiety about the fact that I could not find it fester and infect other parts of myself. I drove through the fog peopled with all of my worst fears, beliefs, and thoughts, putting them there myself with effort when God has already provided a small bite-size chunk of reality for me to deal with.

So now I still know that I am probably not the right person to talk to you about peace, but I think for the first time I really understand how much peace is acceptance of what God gives us in the present moment. 

And so that’s my quiet fight for 2020 – to not fill the fog with things that may or may not be there, but to live in the space that I can see because God has allowed it to be in front of me.

Here’s to embracing the peace God has for us in 2020. Let’s do it together, shall we?

shop peace:

Shopping with Gratitude this Holiday Season

Shopping with Gratitude this Holiday Season

If you’re the United States, there is a kind of disturbing trend at the end of November every year. We spend the fourth Thursday of the month (the end of this week) in gratitude and togetherness on our formal “Thanksgiving” holiday, and then spend the fourth Friday of the month shopping crazy sales on the retail holiday of Black Friday, which seems to shred every ounce of goodwill built-up the day before and make it as though none of it ever happened. 

And though I’m pretty sure that you’re not the person trampling another human being over discounted TVs, I think that the consumer spirit of the holidays affects all of us in one way or another. That’s why I think it’s worthwhile to talk about how we can take all these gratitude practices from the month of November with us into December, specifically, but also beyond.

The shift at the end of November is palpable. And even though the majority of the buying going on is for others there still is this kind of gross flavor of “gimme gimme” that permeates the whole thing. (Have you noticed that, or is that just me?)

Now, I’ll level with you. I own a retail shop. I, frankly, need people to buy Christmas presents from my shop so that my kids and my employees kids will not only have Christmas presents themselves but electricity and healthcare. I’m not here to tell you not to shop. 

But I think it’s worth thinking about how we shop and where we shop this holiday season (and I promise this still goes back to gratitude – stay with me.). 

First the how:

When you buy gifts for someone, what do you think about? Do you think about what they like? Who they are? What they do? What they’ve done for you? 

There can be a lot of considerations that go into selecting and purchasing a gift, but I want to suggest a unique way of buying your gifts this year. As you think about each person that you are buying a gift for, I would like you to think about, maybe even make a list of, all the reasons that you were grateful for that person this year. Think about how they enrich your life and why.  Then, select a gift for them from a place of gratitude for them as a person and not overwhelm or frustration at having to buy another gift. 

I think this practice can really revolutionize your personal experience of Christmas shopping this year, even if it doesn’t change what you actually get for people. Then, as an extension of the exercise I also think it’s great to include a personalized letter or note with each gift explainIng the things that you thought about while buying the gift for them and the reasons that you are grateful for them. Who wouldn’t want to receive that? 

 Next, the where

{Obviously, I’m not a disinterested third-party in this conversation but I think that there’s a really great case for shopping small not only during the holidays, but year-round.}

First of all, when you shop with a small operation, I can guarantee you that a real person feels a surge of gratitude at your order. Instead of  financing .0001% of a big company’s TV ad with your holiday purchase, you can literally pay someone’s grocery bill. There’s a lot of wonderful things the big companies have to offer but I think it really pays to look at what small options are available first. Not only will you nurture gratitude in another person’s life, but the gratitude that they feel for you will often filter through in the packaging, attention, and products that you receive. 

Secondly, when you shop small you are able to show your gratitude to a company that enriches your life in some way. If our content this year and even before has mattered to you, part of how we know is 1.) when you tell us and 2.) when you shop with us. Ultimately it is your shopping that keeps us making, writing, photographing, and supporting you all through the year.

 All in all, shopping small is a relationship built on gratitude.

Here at Pink Salt Riot we get orders out extremely fast and with free shipping because we know your time is valuable and, let’s be honest, I forget to do things until the last minute on the regular and I feel you

We also put 3 to 5 extra free goodies in every package and Jeni, our shipping coordinator, initials every packing slip to let you know that she put the personal touch on your package herself. 

We invest in bringing you content that really enriches your life year-round, not into big ads that will go viral or flashier things like that. We just want to invest in you and we humbly ask that you will invest in us and other small businesses this holiday season.

So to that end, here is our sales schedule for the weekend, no trampling involved, and you can shop from the cozy comfort of your bed instead of freezing outside at 3am. 

  • November 29- December 2: 
    • Buy More, Save More sale! (excludes sale items & Joy Box subscriptions)
    • 10% off orders over $20 with the code savemore20
    • 20% off orders over $50 with the code savemore50
    • 30% off orders over $100 with the code savemore100
    • 40% off orders over $150 with the code savemore150

We will also be including free gifts in every order (regardless of total) placed on Small Business Saturday, November 30!

Giving Tuesday, December 3: 20% of all orders will go toward Mary’s Meals, a charitable organization that provides food at schools throughout the poorest parts of the world. They are built on the principle that education is one of the most powerful agents of change and that disadvantaged kids will stay in school longer if they are able to receive a good meal there. They have one of the lowest overheads of any charity I am aware of and do phenomenal work. I would strongly encourage you to look into supporting them with any year end charitable donations you may be looking to make. 

Wherever you shop this holiday season, be it with us or someone else, I hope you shop with gratitude for all the people involved – the employees, the creators, the people you’re shopping for. Especially when time gets short and tensions run high, try and come back to gratitude. 

As always, I’m praying for you and your intentions this Thanksgiving.

With joy,

Jill