THE PEACE OF GOD
Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Philippians 4:7 (MSG)
Need some settling in your life? Are you running on empty, stressed out, going through the motions but not really enjoying it? Rather having to be, do and show up?
It seems everywhere I turn and every conversation I have, people are maxed out. At their limit. Over-extended. And while wanting to participate, they are regretting the decision of saying yes.
Just. Too. Much.
I hear you. In looking at my planner (yes, I use a planner) for this past month, it was a yikes. Granted this was a different month for me – Bible study started up again after a 4-month break, wedding planning, my writing, filling gaps in the study, lecturing in the study as well as sharing on suffering in another group, and life in general. Oh, and then there’s the feet, coupled with the additional new developments associated with my forward movement.
When I shared about suffering with the young adults at the beginning of the month, we did an interesting activity – I had everyone put a clothes pin on their ear lobe and we kept it there the 45 minutes of my talk. The point? Those of us with suffering have to get beyond the pain, the trauma and the inconvenience of an affliction and engage in life.
We constantly have a reminder that we are afflicted, yet we need to be nice, engage in conversation, interact with people and think – all the while our bodies are screaming in some sort of way. Sounds daunting, but it is in fact a reality for many.
So, that adds to the chaos. It may not be seen on the outside, but it is definitely going on in my head on the inside. And it creates unrest – if I let it.
I need God’s wholeness, His peace to settle over me. To quiet me and remind me to go to the peaceful stream and not lag behind or wander.
He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul. Psalm 23:2
God leads me to the quiet waters. He is out in front and as His child and sheep He is wanting me to follow. It is up to me whether I choose to follow. Honestly, some days are better than others. Sometimes, I get distracted, busy and eventually frustrated because peace is elusive. I have wandered far from the stream and am in the crags. I am stepping in and around rocky cliffs, edges, pits and snares.
If I let the cares and worries of my life get to me and take me captive, unsettledness ensues. My heart is just not at peace. I am a mess and everyone around me knows it.
How can I follow and let His peace guard my heart and mind? How can I rest in Him? Paul states it quite clearly –
Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for it. Philippians 4:6 (NLT)
I’ve got to get rid of the worry. I have got to pray about everything. Do you see that? Everything. Every little thing. Even my schedule. My decisions. My conversations.
For example – God has shown me this year that I need to lead with friendship and love. Rather than pushing my agenda and my lists, He wants me to put those aside to engage in the here and now. This has proved challenging at times (remember that Bible study? I am the administrator so lots of decisions fall in my lap daily), but I have seen how important it is to let the planner go and let God.
DAYS OF OUR LIVES
There are days when I have to ask myself what I accomplished, and my answer may seem small. But when I really look at it, I can answer truthfully and say I was there for someone. Or, I made it through the day without screaming (current feet circumstances do want this vent). I can also say what I accomplished happened in my prayer closet – just a quiet day in prayer and worship. It may look like I am doing nothing but I am actually in a place of quietness and trust so I can do the next thing later.
If I keep at the prayer and worship, before I know it, God’s peace has settled over me. I have a calm assurance of His peace in my life and I truly can go the distance.
Because my life at the moment includes suffering, I want to suffer well. Ok, that sounds weird. But, it’s true nonetheless. I think those who suffer can relate to this. I definitely don’t want a do-this-again, or have to go to round #2.0, because frankly this is enough, thank you very much. I want to listen, learn, obey and please God. I don’t like being here per se, but I do know through this season God has taught me much and I have come to learn to embrace it (there, I said it).
If God’s peace is eluding you, may I suggest you take stock of what is actually going on and listen, really listen, to God. May you look for His wholeness, His goodness and His working in your life. His working may be unnoticeable at first glance, but upon further inspection, you may see His hand everywhere.
And you can be assured that His goodness is all over you for your good and His glory. May you know this is His peace over you.
Father God, thank You for Your peace and quietness over me. I need it daily and hourly. May I recognize it and embrace Your wholeness and goodness over me. I thank You for leading me to the peaceful stream and may I linger there longer. You are good God. In the precious Name of Your Son, AMEN.