I'm a daughter, granddaughter & niece of pastors. I love God & studying the Bible and want to empower others to do the same.
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. -Isaiah 26:3 ESV
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15 NIV
As someone who has suffered from multiple types of anxiety and from PTSD, I know what the absence of peace feels like, and equally the desperate craving for it. I often compare anxiety to a raging toddler strapped in the backseat of a car. It screams and shrieks for its own way, demanding that I look away from the highway I’m driving on, and that I turn toward it (taking my eyes dangerously off the wheel) to listen to its demands. It sometimes begins small, insisting “something is wrong, something is wrong!” And ignoring it alone does not silence it, the same as a toddler who has dropped its favorite toy, or who is overly tired gets louder and more insistent. Reassuring it all is well, or there’s nothing to be upset about doesn’t always help either. At times it becomes more insistent, screaming louder the same clamor: “No but it’s wrong! Something bad is going to happen! It’s coming!” When I ask what, it has no answer, but screams all the same, demanding to be pacified. The car is in motion, we are going 70 MPH and there is nowhere to turn off.
So I have a choice. I can turn around and focus on the raging anxiety and its impossible demands, taking my eyes off the road and endangering us all, possibly ending in the crashing of the car, or I can keep my eyes forward, focusing on going where we need to go, despite the raging storm in my ears and head. The thing about the fear, the anxiety, the whatever is stealing your peace is, they are not the ones driving the car. They are not responsible for getting us safely to the correct destination. As a matter of fact, they will prevent us ever getting there, and my ever accomplishing what I ought to today, in favor of chasing a thousand fires all day long. Interestingly though, it is not solely my job to arrive at the correct destination either, as I am not the maker of the map. I am merely the driver of the car. I get to choose which direction to take, and weather to go or not, but I am not the One who best knows where to go and when. Only One does, the Author of my days, the Mapmaker. So how do I access the peace He has for me despite the raging around me?
God keeps in perfect peace the mind that is fixed on Him, because it trusts in Him. Thankful prayer demonstrates our trust in God, even when we don’t feel it, and is the key to activating peace. If we fix our minds on God, if we concentrate on Who He is, all of the aspects of His greatness and power and love, it puts everything else back into its proper, small perspective, like when we stare at a sky of stars and remember how small we are in comparison to the universe. And if we focus on thanking Him, it reminds us how trustworthy He is, how faithful He has been. We remember we can trust Him completely, in every decision. We remember that He has a solution for every problem, for all our days are as the past to Him, and were covered by the blood of the cross that we have only to accept as His free gift. And when we accept and surrender to Him, when we drive and turn the car where and when He chooses, when we demonstrate our trust this way, He supplies us with peace. We are relieved from having to have all the answers. A wise woman I knew said to me once, “I’m not the fixer!” The pressure to be the one with all the right answers is off! I only have to consult the One who has them and do as He says.
When we focus so much on Him and Who He is and has been, thankfulness brings peace. When we let the truth of the promises of His Word become louder than the screaming in the backseat, we are filled with His peace. When we obey Him even when we don’t understand, we get to experience the freedom and peace of obedience. There is peace that comes from thankfulness, from trust, and from obedience, and we have access to them, right now, by what we choose to focus on, listen to, and obey, despite whatever may be screaming or swirling around us.
© 2020 Amanda Lorenzo
Liz Westwood from UK on November 06, 2020:
This is a very positive and interesting article. The 'peace that passes all understanding' is a necessity for survival in this world.