Peace of Mind in the Daily Grind – M.Perman

Whats Best Next -PermanAs I continue to make my way through Matt Perman’s book What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done (Zondervan, 2014), I found chapter eight also to be edifying and encouraging. In this chapter Perman shows us how to be care (anxiety) free in the midst of life’s daily press of work, meetings, commitments, promises, etc. – all the while trying to remain as productive as we can (doing the best things in the best way, serving others and glorifying God – in case you forgot the “big picture”).

I like the title to this chapter: “Peace of Mind without Having Everything under Control.” And the dominant Scripture the author refers to in this section is Phil.4:6-7. Here’s a part of why this passage is good for us in striving to be productive and at-peace workers:

I find it helpful to keep an inventory of all my actions and projects. But I can’t always keep this up. What Paul teaches us here is that there is a way to have peace even when we can’t keep everything under control: coming to God in prayer with our anxieties.

This approach is not based on our own efforts. We let all our requests be made known to God in prayer, and then God gives us peace. We don’t have to keep a written inventory of our commitments, and we don’t even have to go through the process of negotiating the ones that are beyond us. We just lay them all out before God.

In other words, ongoing peace of mind comes through faith in Christ expressed in day-to-day life. This is the kind of peace that can endure even when everything is going haywire and we are simply unable to keep up with things. Why? Because it is not based on us. Just as we do good works from justification rather than for justification, we are also to do good works from peace rather than for peace.

With gospel-centered productivity, peace comes first, not second. The mistake we often make is to make peace of mind the result of things we do rather than the source. It is true that we can and should have a sense of satisfaction from our work, and  even from having our work defined. That’s part of how God made us.

…But as Christians, we are ultimately able to act from a sense of peace that comes independent of our ability to keep track of our work when circumstances (or energy levels) just make it impossible. And we are able to be more productive in this way because we are not tripped up by the anxiety of always having to get our system fully up to date through our own efforts (p.120).

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. What wise words! How often I expect peace to be the end product of a busy life, when it is actually the promise that sustains it.


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