Peace Defined

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.
—Isaiah 26:3

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.
—Philippians 4:6-7

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.

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11 Responses to Peace Defined

  1. Becky says:

    Bravo!
    Beautifully written, Jen!!

  2. I hear your sister! The hits keep on coming, but He is faithful and true. It just doesn’t “feel” like it all the time. I’m praying for you today.

  3. Becky k says:

    Ah, I love this post and can almost feel my heart skip. Trust can be so hard sometimes. Especially when we, as moms and wives, are always right and in control :) Our last church service was about focusing on others’ needs, praying and singing hymns even when we are in the fire. Relating to Paul and Silas prison in Acts 16. Thank you for a great reminder of our Faithful Father.

  4. Pingback: Christian Carnival #341 | Thinking in Christ

  5. Jen says:

    Becky, thank you for your encouragement!

    DK, hi Debi, thanks for stopping in and sharing the moment. I appreciate your prayers. I hope you’re doing well and enjoying every moment of summer sunshine.

    Becky, yes, trust is hard sometimes! Guess I need to start praying and singing hymns in the fire. :-)

  6. Kristin says:

    Your words remind me of another favorite scripture: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5-6

    Another thought I read recently (can’t remember the scripture — was it a scripture?) is this: we show our trust in God (we obey) by not allowing ourselves to be anxious and fearful — so that when fearful, anxious thoughts arise…. we put a stop to them intentionally! And, instead, remember these words and this command to “trouble not. “Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (John 14:1). We show our trust in Him when we practice this simple command.

    Thank you for another wonderful post! I will keep my mind on God today. (I am learning that I must “renew my intention” throughout the day. Otherwise I forget to keep my mind focused; fatigue sets in and my motivations begin to go amuck. This is when I need to stop and remember to give thanks. To trust. To be kind and patient to others even when I want to snap. To know with certainty that God’s plan is unfolding in my life.

  7. Jen says:

    Kristin, trust = obedience, that is a great reminder. I struggle with fearful, anxious thoughts so this was a good word for me. I have to be intentional, as you said, and exercise fierce control over my thoughts.

    I’m so messed up in my thinking sometimes that I actually feel bad when I throw aside anxious thoughts, thinking something idiotic like, “well, Jen, now that you’re not worried about ______, something bad really WILL happen. You’d better start worrying again and “pray” about it to prove that you’re doing something about it.” Doing something about nothing. It’s bad. So Yes, I need to trust, to be very aware where my thoughts are headed and ask God to win this battle, as I know He will.

  8. Kristin says:

    Thinking of you, Jen, and relating :-) “Let not your heart be troubled.” While it may not be a command (or even an order) it is the Word! Wishing you bon appétit: here’s to feasting on the Word and to enjoying peace… or simply trusting when peace eludes us!

    Recommended book (hope this is appropriate…)

    The Christian in Complete Armour:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Gurnall

  9. Jen says:

    Kristin, thank you for the book recommendation. I hadn’t heard of it, and no wonder, it was written in the 1600s! But good enough for the very difficult 1600s, good enough for me, I’ll be looking it up!

  10. e-Mom says:

    Duly noted. I hear you Jen.

    I could echo every word. We’ve entered a lull period recently, after a wild rocky ride. Trusting yours will come sooner rather than later. ((Hugs)) ღ

  11. Jen says:

    e-Mom, ahhhhh, a lull period. I’m dreaming of such. :-)

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