How To Stop Giving Away Your Peace

The exciting journey towards gaining peace continues this month. Joining us to discuss “how to stop giving away your peace” is Amber Fuller and Elizabeth Cole.

As single parents, we tend to allow our peace to be drained by other people, lies, society, and comparison, and we sometimes become disempowered or victims.

Often we let unsafe people have access to our identity, self-worth, and self-esteem.  In that sense we are leaking out our sense of peace everywhere.

So, how do we get to a healthy place of protecting the peace that we can experience in being enough, God empowered, and beloved?  How can we move forward, empowered with the sense of God as our identity, and have peace where we are at right now?  This is what you will be learning in this article.

What have you allowed to steal your sense of peace?

People’s expectations and offensive people

Amber says that what steals her peace mostly happens before she knows it.  For her, it can be flipping through a magazine and finding the societal image of a person with the “perfect” body or the “right way” to look.

She also adds that people in her life who say hurtful things steal her peace, like her mother-in-law, who once asked her shortly after her divorce if she was putting on lipstick in the morning and taking care of herself.

People’s expectations of how we should behave or look and what people say to us can steal our sense of peace.

People-pleasing

Elizabeth’s people-pleasing attitude in the past has affected her peace. “That has been the number one thing that has been constant throughout my life,” she adds.  The tendency of wanting to measure up to people’s expectations is a peace stealer, and the worse thing is that these imaginary expectations might be sitting only in our heads.

Past relationships

Robert discusses how his ex-wife robbed him of his peace even after their divorce.  This points out how our past and present relationships and the people we have chosen to be with can affect our peace.  “I allowed her to currently be in my life.  Even after we were divorced, it continued to rob me of my sense of peace,” he adds.

Toxic friendships

Toxic friendships are what steals Kimberly’s peace. “I have a friend who puts guilt trips on me by saying I don’t have time for her, and I don’t know how to deal with it,” she says.  Friends who try to manipulate and guilt-trip us can make us feel that we are not good friends, which can steal our peace.

People don’t often deliberately steal our peace

According to Robert, the interesting thing about people stealing our peace is that they are not doing it deliberately.  But it’s our reaction to their behaviors that determine what happens to our peace.  “They are not ill-intended.  It’s what we do with it,” he adds.

Elizabeth talks about her experience with her close friend who just went through a divorce and wanted her to support her because she was hurting.  However, Elizabeth couldn’t offer her the help she needed at that time because she, too, was going through a separation from her husband. “I was just trying to keep my head above water. I was taking care of myself and the kids.  I didn’t just have the capacity to walk her through that difficult situation,” she says.  But still, her friend didn’t respect her boundaries.  She got angry and guilt-tripped her.

What happened between Elizabeth and her friend can rob her of her peace.  As Robert rightly says, “because you will sit there tormenting yourself and asking, “should I have done this better, should I have done it this way?”

We cannot be everything to people, which doesn’t mean that we are bad.  It just means that we are not in the place to be what they want us to be in that season.  “It doesn’t mean that anyone is bad.  It means that you’re responsible for drawing those lines,” says Robert.

How do we draw these lines or set boundaries?

According to Elizabeth, we need to be the gatekeepers of our peace.  She adds that we let our peace leak out of us because we have poor boundaries. So, one way we can have boundaries is “to be careful and thoughtful about who we let through our gates,” says Elizabeth.

The mistake we make is to allow unsafe people to gain access to our space and begin to plant seeds that can grow and choke our peace.  Instead, we should make sure that only a few trusted people can come into our space and gain access to us and our peace.  For Elizabeth, this set of people includes God and a few trusted people who have demonstrated wisdom.

Amber believes that being intentional with time automatically helps her create boundaries. Because time is precious and cannot be replenished, we must manage it by doing what is essential and with people who matter.  “Everyone should view their time as precious because it’s the only resource we can’t get back,” she says.

Understanding how precious time is should also reflect in our jobs or businesses.  As for Amber, she takes time to review the kind of job a client or potential client brings to consider if it is worth committing her time to it or not.  “Time is a natural boundary that just happens because it is all we have,” says Amber.

Robert adds that saying yes to everything will leave us depleted.  “The idea of saying no to somebody or drawing a line with a friend isn’t denying them necessarily.  It’s more acknowledging what God is doing in your life,” he says.

Robert thinks that saying no to things and protecting our space and time means that we recognize that we are all made in the intrinsic image of God, and they are worth protecting. “We are here to serve, but we can’t give what we don’t have.  So, if we’re taking care of ourselves by making sure we have proper boundaries, we will not be good parents, workers, or friends,” Robert adds.  We just must protect what God has given us because they are worth protecting.  This is essential, especially when we are going through healing because we cannot be everything to everyone.

Saying that someone is stealing your peace is like a victim mentality, says Elizabeth.  People are not to be blamed for stealing our peace.  The truth is that we are the ones giving away our peace.  So, you have to take responsibility for not protecting your peace.

Serving and pleasing people

We need to protect our peace, and we have the power to do so.

According to Amber, we can protect our peace with people by using the Seven Elements of Trust by Brene Brown.  Brene Brown uses the acronym BRAVING.

These seven elements are things we must consider before we trust people and allow them to enter our space.

B - Boundaries: We must be protective of who we let into our lives.  People who respect who we are, our energy, self-esteem, and who God created us to be can have a space in our circle.

R - Reliability: We can allow people into our circle who do what they say they are going to do.  This is because being reliable brings trust.

A - Accountability: This refers to people who own up to their mistakes, apologize, and make necessary amends.

V – Vault: This refers to someone who can keep secrets and not share confidential information. “You don’t share information that I trust to share with you, and you don’t tell me things that I shouldn’t be hearing about people,” says Amber.

I - Integrity: This means you are who you say you are - Who you are to me is who you are to everybody?  This trait makes you a safe person.

N - Non-judgement
: This is someone who approaches you without judgment. This person listens to you with love, without trying to fix you or give you advice.

G - Generosity: This talks about a person willing to give you and maintain a reciprocal relationship that is not just one-sided.

These seven elements of truth are a tool we can use to measure who is worthy of our relationships.

What do we do about societal issues that diminish our peace?


There are boundaries that we allow into our lives that are not people.  But unfortunately, these boundaries, just like people, can also steal our peace.

Social media

One of the societal things Robert says he has allowed to steal his peace is social media.  For example, he sees how people in a nuclear family raise their kids to the point where they graduate and get good jobs, and this gets to him being a single parent.  As a result, Robert admits, “I screwed up because my kid may not be going through that path.”

Internal and external thoughts

Amber believes that the things that steal our peace aside from people come from two sources. The first is the external voices that become facts that we begin to believe.  Secondly, our internal voice in which the thoughts come from within us.

“It’s incredibly important to keep control of our thoughts and the voices we let into our head,” she says.  One way to control our thoughts is by focusing on God according to Isaiah 26:3, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”

Another way Amber controls her peace is that she focuses on what is essential, everything that is true, right, excellent, and lovely.

Be mindful of what comes in

Kimberly protects her peace against what is coming from social media by blocking and unfollowing certain people.  She says, “I don’t have to follow everyone.”  It is essential to protect our peace because what goes into our minds comes out in our life.  Kimberly uses this line of thought to tell her kids about the impact of what they allow into their minds through what they watch and listen to can have on their lives.

Be mindful of what you focus on


Robert says we need to be mindful of what we focus on “because we can’t control circumstances, but we can control what we focus on.”

The enemy is an accuser

The enemy can use shame and comparison to steal our joy.  The Bible clarifies that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but principalities and powers.  “So don’t make the mistake to think there is no adversary out to destroy you,” says Robert.

We must keep our eyes focused on what should be and take every thought captive because God promises to keep us in perfect peace.

Elizabeth reiterates the need for us to be careful of misinformation from social media that can steal our peace.  This fake information can cause anxiety and cause us to panic unnecessarily. “Our minds can play crazy tricks on us and come up with logical reasons why all these lies can be true,” she says.  However, we can protect our peace by taking a pause and finding the facts. We must start verifying information by ourselves by researching to eliminate unnecessary fear.

God is the only source of true peace

Ultimately, the only source of true peace is God. Therefore, we should seek God if we want to experience peace. “Because at the end of the day, why are we seeking approval from other people?” Robert asks.

Keep your circle tight

Amber believes that we should keep our circle tight, especially when it comes to the closest, most important things to us. “I can talk about the weather with anybody, but when I talk about my kids or how I feel about myself, I’m going to allow certain voices, truth, or thoughts to inform that perspective,” she says.

Amber uses the Word of God in Psalm 34:5 in moments of shame and confusion when she was passing through her separation. “Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”

Looking at God and not people, and society will make our lives radiant and peaceful.

Don’t give away your peace to a new relationship

We must be careful as single parents to protect our peace and not give it away because we want to fill a void in our lives.  Robert recommends that single parents wait for a considerable number of years before trying to date again because you can give away your peace in meeting a need of loneliness.

Always know that the wait is worth it, so don’t rush.  There are some doors of relationships that are closed by the hand of God Himself.  “I look back, and I say, thank you, Jesus, for closing that door because I needed the wait,”  Kimberly says.

A relationship is great!  God created us for relationship, but we should be careful.  Elizabeth adds that a relationship should be “nice to have, but not a need to have.”

Elizabeth believes that there is a trauma tied to whatever is stealing away our peace now.  For her, it was her group of friends in middle school abandoning her all of a sudden.  She suggests we dig into our story and figure out what is tied to get our head around it and then allow God to heal us and point to who we are and not the lie said to us.

Takeaway

➢We must understand that we were made with intrinsic value worth protecting and holding dear and being careful with the decision we make to preserve peace.

➢We must be the gatekeepers of our peace and decide what voices we let in.

➢We need to be honest about what real difference approval makes.  It doesn’t change anything and don’t let it steal your peace.

➢We can’t control our circumstances, but we can control our gaze, what we’re looking at, and our perspective, and that should be the source of our peace.

Guiding Verse

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10)

To connect, share your experience and listen to the story of other single parents in our groups, download our app here.

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