100 days of peace update… finally.
Okay, I know this is a bit (or a lot) overdue as I’m now on day 23 of this personal exploration into what peace means and how to find the quiet of my heart I, and I think many people, yearn for. You can read my original post here. The delay was a combination of a busy several weeks and trying to take the time I needed to gather my thoughts on this. I didn’t want to post something rushed or forced. See, I entered into this as one dipping her toes, a little at a time, into waters unknown. Not, as my natural instincts tend to drive me, sprinting forward, abandoning humble admission that I don’t know everything, leaping into the depths.
So, here is a conclusion I have come to so far. (And I do say ‘a’ not ‘the’ conclusion, because I know the Lord has more to teach me on this.): As slippery and complicated as peace may seem, especially in the midst of difficult circumstances, it ultimately comes down to one thing– choice.
I know, for the lack of a better word, that sucks. Because if it were up to someone else to make peace in my life, I would have someone else to blame when the peace-well in my heart has run dry. What if it were just a matter of creating peace in my own life? I could say no to all the things that stress me out. I could wait out my circumstances, knowing peace stood just on the other side of this crisis. I could fill my life with all the things that delight me, bring me joy, what I deem as ‘peaceful’ pursuits.
But guess what? These will not bring me peace.
Not lasting peace, anyway. Now, I was just as guilty as the next person, thinking outward ‘things’ could contribute to my inward peace. Not to be confused with relaxation. I do believe we all need to take time to unwind, to be ‘un-busy’ in our lives. We need that.
But, can I tell you what I mean by, peace = choice?
Through my difficult circumstances, and even day-to-day stress, I’m coming to realize there’s always a choice of who or what I focus on. I can choose to focus on those raging storms (and let’s be honest, sometimes it’s just a little rain) or I can choose to focus on the One who controls the storm.
It reminds me of Mark 4:35-41, when Jesus and his disciples were in a boat and He tamed a “furious squall”, scripture says. After he rebuked the storm and calm returned to the seas, the disciples asked (v.41), “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
Are you comforted by the fact that the One who created and controls the universe, created and loves you? Some days it’s hard for me to find comfort in that, I admit. Maybe it’s too big for my little brain to comprehend most of the time. But I believe the Bible, and so I pray for understanding and trust.
I think of another time Jesus came through in a storm. In Matthew 14:22-33, Peter called out to Jesus, who was walking on the water (vs. 28-29), “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” Jesus said, “Come.”
Peter did a miraculous thing– he walked on water as though it were dry land, until he took his focus from Jesus’ face and the safety in trusting Him with his life. Peter began to sink, gripped with fear as he cried out (v. 29), “Lord, save me!”
And, do you know what? Jesus did. Jesus immediately reached out to save Peter.
Blinders of pain, fear, and distrust are starting to dissolve.
That doesn’t mean the hard circumstances of my life have gone away, but rather, my way of looking at them has started to change.
Peace isn’t necessarily quiet. Peace isn’t always found in the outward stillness of life. Because, let’s face it, life is rarely quiet or still. Peace is in the daily, sometimes minute-to-minute, choice to surrender my worries, my fears, my life and all that it holds to the One who created me.
There is a peace– and I’m just beginning to grasp it– deep down, despite hardships and pain, that can bloom even in the darkest places of my life with His light. But that’s what I’m finding… real peace, the ‘come hell or high water’ kind, is only found when I choose it. Which, by the way, is choosing to keep my eyes on Jesus, never mind the waves crashing below my feet. Choosing the reality of Him and His love and care for me, no matter how hopeless or chaotic my circumstances may appear.
Sorry for the length, my friends. Sometimes, just like talking to a good friend, writing things down helps me sort through my thoughts. So, I appreciate you hanging in there with me! I pray that perhaps this blessed you, if you’re struggling with peace today.
Please feel free to share your faith or peace journey in the comments.
I would love to pray for you!
Images courtesy of: freedigitalphotos.net, graur razvan ionut, and criminalatt.