The Blessing of Peace
What does it mean to be blessed? I've lived long enough to know that though everything we have is a blessing from God, one of the greatest gifts is peace. Over the years, I prayed for things I believed would make me happy, only to find out it was temporal. The joy I felt the moment I received what I'd been striving for soon passed and left me wanting for more. Those in other countries believe Americans live blessed lives, but if you were to dig a little deeper you would find that anxiety rules their minds and depression nips at their heels.
I've found peace in the most difficult seasons and stress when everything was going exactly as planned. It's quite unsettling to feel like everything is great, yet your still miserable...yup... I've been there too...
So, what's the difference, how can we live a life of complete peace, regardless of the circumstances that are surrounding us? Here's an example of how it works for me. A couple of years ago, we took several days off to go to Florida and prepare our house. I was so excited! We drove 12 hours and worked from morning to night...yup! That's right! I was so exhausted at night that I didn't take time to enter the Secret Place. Oh, I prayed throughout the day, but the intimate time…that time that calms my soul and brings peace to my mind was ignored. Day 1... not much had changed... Day 2... getting a little stressed, but not too bad... Day 3 things were starting to get on my nerves... Day 4... I was feeling some anxiety and starting to stress out... Day 5... the life I saw as a complete blessing just a few days before was beginning to look bleak... the thought of my future was starting to depress me. My focus changed from the Lord and the blessing of being a child of God to the bleak reality of a life void of His tangible presence…He hadn’t walked away from me but I drifted away from Him. My life hadn’t changed but my outlook did!
Ok, I know I may be a bigger mess than most of you, but if I mix exhaustion with the lack of time with God, I soon become a train wreck. Small problems become huge and large ones become insurmountable and intolerable. I know better and the process is so gradual that I soon find myself in boiling water.
I'm sure this process may take much longer for most, but this is what my natural tendency is prone to. Everyone will eventually get there without Jesus. However long it takes, it's where the enemy is leading you if his plan is not intercepted by time spent in His presence.
This is why I'm so adamant about prioritizing time with God. Though I may be an extreme, the results of being too busy are all too familiar to me. The truth is, no matter how well things are going, life just isn't worth living without Him. Strong words? Look around, how many people do you know that aren't medicating daily just to cope and how many others have taken their lives because they couldn't? Many had seemingly perfect lives.
Peace, joy and fulfillment comes from the Lord, not from anything external. So, if this hits home, there's a simple solution and it doesn't involve increasing the dosage. It's increasing your intimate time with Jesus! Just begin to prioritize some daily time to read your Bible and talk to Him. Share what's on your heart, ask Him for guidance and let Him know how much you love and need Him. It just comes down to giving Him the time out of our day that He deserves. He's waiting each and every day for that time with you... show up. It'll change your outlook and your life. It may even save it...
As I spend daily time in His presence...my strength is renewed, I'm calm, my heart is full of joy and I'm completely at peace. This is where I belong and so do you! I can't function any other way!
Philippians 4:4-7 (NLT) Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again-rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
John 14:27 (TPT) “I leave the gift of peace with you—my peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but my perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts—instead, be courageous!
John 16:33 (TPT) And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in me. For in this unbelieving world you will experience trouble and sorrows, but you must be courageous, for I have conquered the world!
Philippians 4:6-7 (TPT) Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell Him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will make the answers known to you through Jesus Christ.