Practice what you preach, sister. Just when I thought perhaps I was far enough removed from a particularly difficult time to write with clarity, BAM, I’m back, feet tripping and mind swaying, in the midst of trial.
It seems I have to write honestly and come with words that aren’t backed with the full confidence and assurance I thought I had. I had wanted to share some secrets to peace, secrets like these:
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
So, the secrets say Keep your mind on God and you’ll have peace. Go to God with your anxieties and He will give you the peace that dissolves all confusion. These are the words of my source of help and strength — I’m not mocking them, I’m just saying that there is clearly much more to these “secrets” than meets the eye.
Maybe my definition of peace is incorrect. I’d like to think that when a bump in the road comes along, I’ve equipped myself with big, fat tires and a great suspension system that diminishes the jolt and it feels more like a sway to the music than a bump in the road. But somehow, I still feel the rise and fall of every trial, despite my human attempts to reach the mind of God and that elusive “peace.”
If I readjust what I call “peace,” I might find some understanding. I’ve imagined peace to be a thing that eliminates the pain of life. I’ve imagined myself Dorothy in the center of a tornado being swept into the throes of a violent wind, feeling nothing but tranquility.
Ah, Dorothy. I’m learning that peace may not be the drifting on a cloud of calm that I had hoped for. It may be a certain grit and courage I have to bring to the situation to navigate the delusions and anxiety of the trial.
Behind the grit and courage is a word I missed in the verse I quoted above from Isaiah: trust. There is a steady faith and understanding that has to be clearly intact for peace to prevail. If I am shaken in my knowledge of the fact that God loves me and wants the best for me, if I am shaken in my belief in myself and my destiny, there will be no peace.
I may still have to feel the jolt of a speed bump, I may still feel the aches and discomforts of this life. I will surely be swept into tornadoes now and again. I can expect to feel some pain, but I pray that as I trust in the truth of who God is and who I am, I can find the peace that paves the way for me to bravely steady on.