It is always amazing when someone has peace in a truly trying situation. I think sports provides a good analogy for how that can happen. You train for it.

I’m not a big sports gal. I don’t care much for the Olympics. But I enjoy watching the figure skaters and gymnasts. Seeing the strength, precision, and grace they display as they execute every move leaves me in awe. When I was young, after being drawn in by an amazing performance, I’ve tried a few of the moves. You probably can guess that it did not go well, as was evidenced by the bruises I got and the laughter of my sisters.

One of my favorite movies as a kid was the story of Nadia Comaneci, the first gymnast to receive a perfect score in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. The movie shows her long journey, the work and discipline it took for her to make history in those few minutes on the mat. When other kids were playing, or doing just about anything else, she was in the gym practicing. While other kids ate whatever they wanted, she ate carefully calculated calories. Everything she did was in focused effort to get to be the best gymnast in the world. Nadia was an Olympic athlete and gymnast every day, not just on the one day that mattered.

And this brings me to my point. Whatever it is you want to be or accomplish, you have to train for it every day. Philippians 4:6–7 says: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (NIV).

If you want the peace that transcends understanding, you need to take all your concerns to Jesus in prayer, with thanksgiving. If you establish this practice with the everyday little things, it will be your practice with the bigger things as well, and you will experience the peace of God. Conversely, if you don’t develop this habit in everyday situations, it is unlikely that it will be your reaction in the more challenging situations you face.

Just as I did not become a gymnast from watching someone else perform for a few minutes, you don’t grow in the area of not being anxious if you don’t train yourself every day to thank God, seek Him in prayer, and accept His supernatural peace.