Peace. It’s a word we sadly don’t hear enough these days, unless you count those who pose for pictures with the peace sign, or say their good-byes by exclaiming “peace out”. When I think of peace, I tend to think of several things: relaxing, a white surrendering flag, hippies, someone like Master Shifu or Mr. Miyagi telling me to find my inner peace by emptying my mind. None of which are the actual definition of peace: “freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility”.
There are many articles and reads about how to find peace in today’s rushed, demanding society. And along with those articles comes advice on unplugging from technology and getting away from the demands of other people. And I support all of it. Peace and quiet happens when you simply put away the phone, slide the laptop away and keep the TV turned off. Doing these things keeps us from feeling like we have to respond to people all the time. Sometimes, though, you might receive the “quiet” part of doing that, but not the “peace”.
What I mean by that is: when the phones are off, when the laptops are pushed to the side and when the TV is silent, anxiety hits us in the mind like a brick wall. We start to worry about so-and-so, who is 1700 miles away and might be having a such-and-such melt down right now, and we need to be there for them right this instant. We start thinking about our actions of the day, and analyze how people might have seen us when we did those actions. We worry what people thought of us for saying this or doing that. We wonder if there is any meaning in it. It’s ironic how the very thing that is supposed to give us peace, actually ends up making us feel the opposite of peace: anxious.
So then how do we deal with these concerns? We pick up the phone, the laptop, or we turn the TV back on – anything to distract us from the worrisome thoughts that pour through our minds. Sometimes it’s not even technology – sometimes we use the things we love to distract us: hanging out with other people, painting or drawing, going for a run, horse-back riding, working out, becoming fit, writing, planning, organizing. None of these things are terrible things to do. They are peoples’ passions and dreams; their talents and gifts. But they can also be damaging when they become our gods.
No, most people do not physically bow down to the things they love; they do not necessarily sing praise and worship songs to them. But that doesn’t mean that they’re not worshiping them and making them gods in some other way. If a whole life is dedicated to something, then that means that particular life is worshiping that particular thing. Now does that mean an Olympian who dedicates his life to training for the Olympics is actually worshiping the Olympics? Well, not necessarily either. I’m sure a Christ-following Olympian would tell you that even though they are dedicated to their sport, they always put God first in lives; they are whole-heartedly dedicated to God before their sport. Here is an example:
And David Boudia’s personal testimony can be watched here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hu08hlYb6yg
Ironically, David mentions Philippians 4:6, a Bible verse about not being anxious about anything. I find that when I am anxious, if I dig deep down, I realize I am anxious because I am putting that concern before God; I am making that certain concern a god in my life when the only god should be God the father, God the son and God the holy spirit. I really liked what David’s friend had to say to him when he asked David what he had to be nervous about. His friend simply told him: “God has already written your story for you. All you have to do is be a vehicle for His glory”. The same goes for all of us. There is a God bigger and better than anyone of us or all of us put together, and He is the one in control. There is no need to be anxious, to not be at peace about where you are in life because God’s got it – I mean, He has the whole world in His hands, am I right?
I feel like I am preaching to the choir when I say this because I know that even though I might know that God is in control, that he sees when the sparrow falls (Matthew 10:29) and knows the amount of hairs on my head (Matthew 10:30), I still feel anxious. Knowing something and feeling something are two different things, and sometimes, while my brain tells me that everything is fine, my heart does not. My heart speeds up in an anxious fight for peace, and refuses to be halted.
These are the cases where I am reminded to simply pray and tell God how I am feeling, which is the second half of the Philippians 4:6 verse: “in every situation, pray”. God loves it when His children talk to him about anything, and God is the one I know I can pour my feelings out to and know that He will not judge because he understands. “Cast all your anxieties on Him because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). He created us after all. And when we pour out our hearts to Him, and listen to His promises spoken in His word, our hearts are calmed and surrounded by an indescribable peace, “the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).
Peace is not a common word in our world of war today. But it can be a common denominator in our own personal worlds every day. May the peace of God be with you in your circumstances always. Peace out!