When I take a step back and look at this world, my life, the things that surround me, peace is not exactly something I think of or immediately see. The news tells of acts of violence, day to day life brings a variety of trials, doing life with those around me often times does not result in peace but is messy and hard. This got me thinking what exactly I define “peace” as and how in the world am I going to write a couple blog posts about it.
And I didn’t know if that answer would come in time for this post and then I slowly began to find a different understanding of peace. An understanding of what peace is not. If I am honest, learning my understanding of what peace is not had me quite frustrated and I have struggled to put this post into words. This past week I have asked God to show me what His peace is. What it feels like. Where it comes from. How does one attain it. At first, He did not reveal anything and again, I got quite frustrated.
Until one night after photographing a concert for Ginny Owens. The show went a lot later than expected and I already was under the weather and fighting a cold, so the volunteer coordinator let me leave the show early. I was walking out of the venue and in the background heard the words “Jesus thank you for the fire” being sung. This got me thinking…a lot.
I live over an hour away from the venue and had lots of time to think and process. I admitted with a slight chuckle that I do not thank God for the fires in my life because they just are not fun and are often chaotic and overall just hard seasons to walk through. I asked God to humble my heart and what turned into a prayer for a sister of mine, resulted in a prayer from the deepest parts of my heart asking God for help, forgiveness, comfort, guidance, and ultimately to give me His peace. I came to realize repentance was missing in my world, thus my lack of peace was because there were parts of my heart I didn’t want God inside of. I started to put to words what peace is not:
Peace is not the absence of chaos.
Peace is not a life void of trials.
Peace is not always a quieted mind.
Peace does not always come in a stilled soul.
As these understandings of what peace is not started to fall into place, I began to comprehend what peace is to me. Yesterday (Tuesday) I was preparing for community group with my church later that evening, we were having a relatively chill night around a campfire and devoted the night to prayer, looking at the crucifixion of Christ, and reading a couple verses in Philippians. The two verses were the flip side of the peace equation I was trying to solve….check it out…
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me–practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9
Peace is that still small voice inside my heart that whispers the promises of truth in the midst of chaos.
Peace is feeling when my trials seem to overtake me that then gives me the courage to take one more step toward the finish line.
Peace is when my minds won’t stop racing and my heart is overwhelmed, but falling into the arms of Jesus
Peace is when my soul is all stirred up and that faint whisper reminds me to rest and be still.
To me, peace can be found in the quietest places of the forest or the craziest parts of our lives. Peace is that still small voice in my heart that reminds me of what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable in God’s eyes. Peace comes when we are obedient to Christ, when we repent of our sinful ways and turn to the cross, then sprint back into the arms of the Prince of Peace.
Since that car ride home from the concert, no circumstances in my life have changed, but my perception of them has. I am overwhelmed with peace because God has tuned my ears to hear His voice above the noise and chaos in my heart. Wherever you are, find a place to be still and ask the Holy Spirit to incline your ear to His voice, to bring conviction and lead you in repentance, to take you back to Christ. And then rest there. It’s a beautiful place to be.
I hope you find peace this week. Go be with Jesus and ask Him for it