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Finding Perfect Peace

I often paint an idyllic picture of my little town with photos that I post on my personal Facebook page. Quaint houses and cute churches. A pretty rose garden. Stunning Sierra Valley photos.

But there is some ugliness too. Folks who don’t give a hoot about their yards–with weeds a mile high and junk lying all over. Abandoned buildings crumpling.

There is verbal ugliness too. Arguments. Cuss words not just for an occasional emphasis but as the substantive portion of the conversation.

I had an otherwise beautiful walk after sunset the other night . . . until I approached the grocery store. Two young men had six packs in hand. One said, “Hi,” and I returned a smile and “Hello.”

To which the other one said, “Gonna get stoned. Want to get stoned with us?”

I didn’t feel threatened or worried . . . more annoyed. Clearly those two didn’t know me, and I hadn’t recognized them. For goodness’ sake, did I look like someone who’d get stoned? I’d been the high school English teacher for decades. High school English teachers do not do such things.

“Nope,” I said. “I don’t need to.” And I kept walking away from their chuckles.

It didn’t rattle me, because I’d just spent the prior forty-five minutes praying for my community. In fact, the very short conversation simply reminded me to pray against alcoholism and the party-hearty attitude prevalent in one segment of our little town.

You see, my mind had been stayed on God and his perspective. He sees the possibilities for people and communities, and the more I hang out with him in prayer, the more I do too. No, we are not an idyllic community, but you know, after prayerwalking for the last twenty-two years for this town, I do see many changes–in people’s lives and in the landscape.

This is just to encourage you not to get down with the negativity you may be hearing or reading. Keep your mind stayed on God, and he will keep you in perfect peace. Life is not idyllic, but a #LookingUp perspective is hopeful and transformative.

Janet McHenry is a speaker and author of 24 books–six on prayer, including the bestselling PrayerWalk and her newest, The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus. She and her rancher husband Craig live in the Sierra Valley of northern California. Her prayerwalking practices have been featured in many national publications, including Health magazine, and she would love to hear from you: https://www.janetmchenry.com.

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