Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.
This insight from Albert Einstein can certainly apply to worldly peace, but as we’ve been wrestling with What To Do While You Wait (previous post), it struck me that this also reigns true for internal peace.
Since we can’t FORCE ourselves to feel at ease, what is it, exactly, that we need to understand about keeping peace in our hearts?
- Peace Without God is Not Peace
I have to agree with my man C. S. Lewis when he says, “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there; there is no such thing.” I simply do not know how to write about peace, experience it myself, or encourage my loved ones (that means you!) that it exists without our Lord and Savior. “And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.” (Colossians 3:15a, emphasis mine)
We humans are a pretty strong species. We can go through a LOT of crap, take multiple punches and keep getting back up, but eventually, something in life happens when we need MORE than our own inner strength. At some point (and this breaking point is different for everyone), our internal and physical reserves are tapped out. Done. Gone. Buh-bye.
So then what?
Then Comes Jesus. And he is RUNNING towards you in all His powerful and peace-filled glory.
- What Peace IS
Oh how I love Webster’s definition of peace: freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions. Doesn’t that just SOUND incredible? Peace= Freedom! “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)
And because everyone has a unique journey, this freedom will look, sound, and feel different. But peace? It is surrender, letting go, and actively choosing to be content with your thoughts, words, and actions. That is where freedom runs, well, free. 😉
- What Peace is NOT
Peace is not work. It is not what we DO DO DO. Peace is not logical. It usually makes no sense whatsoever. Peace is not having all the answers; it rarely comes with any solutions at all. Peace is not controlling the situation. It is not pressure or obligation or hanging on for dear life. It is not putting on a happy face or faking it until we make it. Peace is NOT unattainable.
- How To Get Peace
Sadly, there is no special formula or any book called “How to Find Peace for Dummies.” (Trust me, I’ve scoured the bookshelves.) For many, it comes after a long road of fighting and clawing for control. Ultimately, I believe peace comes after we truly rest in the knowledge that 1) Our God is crazy smart and ridiculously powerful and 2) He loves us beyond what we could ever comprehend. When you put those traits together, we have no choice but to trust that our God is working behind the scenes for our good. His timing is intentional, His ways are always the best and His promises are powerful…
Job 11:15-19 “then, free of fault, you will lift up your face; you will stand firm and without fear. You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by. Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning. You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety. You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid, and many will court your favor.”
- What Peace Looks and Feels Like
Again, this can vary from person to person, but there are a few qualities that are fairly universal. In the first stages of peace, there is seldom an answer or specific direction. Even in this, there is an unexplained calm. Even when there is chaos and uncertainty, peace swoops in, grabs a hold of that turmoil and displaces it. That anxiety is removed from your center gaze and gently relocated out of your vision and reach. And you know what it takes with it? FEAR. Peace is being acutely aware of your circumstances, completely unsure of the outcome and yet feeling utterly unafraid.
What this can do for our physical bodies is pretty remarkable. In times of mental angst, we often experience physical symptoms of distress. When peace overwhelms us, our bodies begin to heal and our souls can rest. Peace feels like confidence, as though a weight has been lifted off of our chest. Peace feels healthy.
Peace is such a tricky thing. We want to be able to go to the store, pick out our color, and wear it all day. But that’s just the thing; peace is not a one size fits all. It ebbs and flows. It changes and evolves. It is deeply personal.
I share with you my insights NOT to give you a map or to claim I have it all figured out, but to give you HOPE. To encourage you to lean into your Savior and let him take the wheel. He wants to. He ACHES to draw you close and fill you with His peace.
Live Life On Purpose,