It is not so much what you do that is of the greatest importance, but who you ‘are’ in the midst of that. The atmosphere produced by you, much more than your activities, has a lasting influence on those around you and will likely become your legacy.

I recently read a brief account of someone riding a roller coaster for the first time at six years old with his two older brothers. First I thought, wow, only six years old and riding a roller coaster! Brave kid? Irresponsible parents? At any rate, the account wasn’t anything unexpected. Even with two older brothers with him, the six-year-old suddenly lost his bravery at the first high speed turn and immediately began yelling: ‘Stop this thing right now! I want to get off!’ Of course, the roller coaster didn’t stop, and the youngster had to ‘white knuckle’ it, hanging on tight for the rest of the ride. I understand that because I ‘white knuckle’ roller coaster rides as an adult.

Sometimes life can feel like an unexpected and unwanted roller coaster ride, with downhill drops and hairpin curves we never see coming. When unexpected difficulties occur, who we are will normally dictate what we do. If you love the unexpected you may scream for joy and want to take that ride repeatedly. Most will yell to get off and get their feet back on stable ground.

So what constitutes stable ground for you? Unpredictable difficulties will come like the surprises of a first roller coaster ride, so how do you find the peace and security inside when taking that first high-speed hair pin turn? I have often described life as a tempest in a teapot.  And I don’t believe that I am all that inaccurate in that description, unless of course the tempest is not viewed as a tempest.

If you study the Bible you know that it instructs us that our best recourse is to place our trust in God. Being human as we are, we often rely on our own devices when difficulty comes. Regardless, you can’t read the Bible in the middle of a roller coaster ride with both hands squeezing the bar!  

What we do is a result of who we are. If we don’t understand how a roller coaster works and what we should expect, we will always have the sensation of being in grave danger. If we know ahead of time that we will be safe the thrill becomes fun and not so scary.

If we develop an attitude in life that reflects a peace about ourselves regardless of the circumstances, the difficulties will seem lessened. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be difficulties. However, trusting that things will be alright, regardless of what happens provides a peace that defies logic and conventional wisdom.

People who have peace derive it from a variety of sources, including God. Regardless of the source, the more you dip into it and consume the peace provided, the better prepared you will be for any ‘sudden drops.’ If you spend significant time focusing on your source, you will have less time to focus on the difficulties of life, and the message of peace will become more and more prominent in your thinking and consequently, your makeup. I call it DNA and liken it to developing a good habit that becomes who you are and not just what you do.

Ultimately, you must choose what consumes you. If you are consumed by peaceful thoughts, you won’t be so apt to be overcome by negative thoughts. In the end it becomes a matter of intent, which translates to attitude and ultimately becomes who you are. When you become a person of peace, what you do will be transformed to mirror who you are and not so much reflect the circumstances that you face.