I have a confession to make. For many, many years I was addicted to being busy in life so that I would not have to face the fear I had around my past, my present, and my future. I was afraid someone might find out who I had been in the past or what I was struggling with in the day-to-day. And I was afraid that someone might think I didn’t have enough faith and trust in God about my future. Have you ever felt any of these things?
Friend, I want to encourage you today. God was with you in your past, He is with you in your day-to-day, and He will always be with you in the days to come!
How have I become assured of these truths? I have learned to continually ask God to replace my fears with His peace and His presence for the long haul!
This shift in perspective did not happen overnight.
Rather, it has been a gradual shift coming from a continuous daily practice of looking up to Him and taking note of His faithfulness to me in every pit, every prison, and every minute I have been in a waiting room; sometimes for years!
I make a daily decision to trade in my fears for His peace! I remind myself every morning of what God’s word tells me in Isaiah 26:3, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”
I have come to understand that the peace God offers is very different from peace as the world defines it. In the past, the peace I was looking for was the absence of conflict or freedom from troubles. But, there have been very few times in my life that I have not been faced with incredibly challenging or difficult circumstances.
That is the nature of our human condition. The peace that Jesus offers does not focus on the absence of trouble. In fact, it is unrelated to circumstances; it is a goodness of life that is not touched by what happens on the outside.
Jesus told his disciples in John 14:27:
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”
Biblical peace implies a completeness or wholeness and it points to the presence of God. The peace that Jesus talked about while He walked on this earth gives a confident assurance in any circumstance. Peace is the result of right relationships with God. When there is peace, no external threats (which we know will come) will prevent us from living the fullest lives we can!
Practically speaking, what does this look like? We acknowledge the fullness of our mind, body and the Holy Spirit that lives within us.
This may look different for all of us!
What has worked for me? I make a five-second decision to take a 5-minute pause. I walk to my kitchen and look at a chart I have on my refrigerator. It reminds me of different options to help shift my perspective to looking up. I choose one, say a prayer calling on God to bring me His peace, and do that thing I have chosen so that I can move to a place of being in His presence. I’ve included a downloadable version of this chart below just for you.
I am not saying this has been easy, but I do know that choosing to take one step every day toward God’s presence has made a world of difference for me!
May you experience His peace as you remember to pause and may you be reminded as you seek His presence that “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.” 2 Peter 1:3