Where do you find your peace?
This question has haunted me lately, nagging and pulling at my heart. The more I look around, I realize we are all constantly grasping for something… anything that will fill the gaping holes in our hearts that crave this simple, yet perplexing five letter word. Even as I sit in the quiet of the early morning, my mug – full of black coffee, sitting next to me on my side table as I write this to you – has the word “peace” etched right in the center of it. It’s my favorite mug. And I probably have at least five wall hangings or signs sitting on bookshelves that hold this sought after idea; peace.
As Christmas approaches in a month’s time, we celebrate the idea of Christ coming to this beautiful, yet broken world, to bring peace. We desperately long for His peace, aching to be held by its steadfast security and its assurance that everything will, in fact, be ok. I’ve heard friends and family members exclaim what we are all thinking: “I just want to be at peace!” We sit in churches and listen to pastors speak of this word that seems so simple to attain, yet feels so far out of reach most days. Maybe we feel moments of peace, in the quiet before the littles awake or the dogs come rushing down the stairs. We feel it in the praise or affirmation of the people around us. It’s sensed in those small moments of financial security or a kind word from your spouse. Here’s the scary thing about a moment though – it’s fleeting. Moments don’t last and therefore cannot provide us with the lasting peace that we so desperately crave. If we are basing our peace on the fleeting moments of this life, on our feelings, then we are not Warriors of true peace. We are prisoners being held hostage by the bondage of superficial peace and a life lived out passively.
I’m jumping right into Scripture today friends because it has been one of those seasons of life where I find myself uncertain of the peace I seek. When I came downstairs early in the morning this past Monday, I felt uneasy. My husband and I try so hard to live our lives in such a way to bring glory to Jesus first, and then love to the rest of our world; our marriage, our families, our friends, our furbabies, our jobs… and the list goes on. But we’ve entered into a season of our lives recently that has just felt heavy. Time doesn’t seem to want to slow down, not even for a fleeting moment. We haven’t faced any serious devastation, but the small flashes of inconveniences and roadblocks have begun to wear us both down. It’s one of those seasons where I feel like it’s just one thing after another and this feeling of unrest has sunk down to my bones. Peace has escaped me. The minuscule distractions have begun to feel like the big picture. So when I opened my Bible this past Monday morning, and the first verse I read stated plainly, “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14), I was taken aback at how deeply it struck me.
The reality of my situation is not that peace has escaped me, it’s that I’ve allowed my peace to turn passive. I’ve been placing my peace in the hands of others whose opinions should never matter more than what Jesus is calling me to. I’ve been defining my “peace” based on how comfortable and pleased I am in my current situation. How is my health? How is my financial security? Am I accepted and understood by those around me? How do I feel? Those are the things I’ve been placing my peace lately. The evil that lurks behind the lie that in order to be at peace you have to be “happy” is not only an atrocity, but it’s literally self-destructive. My definition of peace does not match up with Heaven’s definition of that sacred five letter word. It is not to be dealt with lightly and it is certainly not to be handled with passive hands based on fleeting feelings. Peace, true peace, is only obtained when we are walking in obedience to the voice of Jesus in our lives.
Walking in obedience to Jesus can sometimes be very uncomfortable. In fact, it can be painful. He may call you away from certain habits or people that you’re so used to placing your peace in. Walking with Jesus may lead you to a life lived misunderstood by those closest to you. Here’s the catch though…we were not created to be accepted by this world. We were created to bring Light to this world. If we are not actively seeking true peace, then we will never be equipped to bring Light to anyone. If your peace is passive, your focus isn’t on Jesus, it’s on your own self-preservation. In other words, you’re being downright selfish. And yes, people-pleasing is selfish no matter how great your intentions may be. Your goal in this life as a Warrior of King Jesus is to seek out the Prince of Peace Himself, not to appease everyone around you. Turn from the evil of thinking that in order to be at peace you have to please. Turn from the evil of believing that the only way to find peace is to arrive at your chosen destination of what you expect will make you “happy”. You should never compromise the voice of Jesus for a moment of short-lived, superficial happiness. Turn from the evil of theses lies and do good; surrender to the goodness of a King who promises you peace no matter your circumstances.
Peace is to be sought after and actively pursued. What if we are missing the point by grasping for peace when we should be actively pursuing the Prince of Peace Himself? Don’t you think that if we are so busy sitting at His feet, eventually it’ll just smack us right in the face? We go through life craving happiness and aching for joy when He’s sitting right in front of us the whole time, just waiting for us to take it! Here’s the catch though – in order to receive His peace, we have to actively pursue His presence in our lives. Take a look at Philippians 4, verse 6 –
“Do not be anxious about anything,
but in every situation, by prayer and petition,
with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
How do we turn our passive peace into a weapon that cannot be shaken? We seek Jesus! We pray and cry out in surrender and allow Him to fill us with what we need – with His peace – so we are equipped and ready for whatever battle may come our way. We allow Him to change our hearts and teach us that because His love for us is everlasting, His peace is never-ending. His peace is always ready and willing to be accessed if we would just run to the Peacekeeper Himself, instead of trying to fill the holes in our hearts with the temporary, fake, and superficial happiness of this world! We can face disaster and the people around us whose eyes are filled with judgment because we holster our Peace in the hands of Jesus.
My favorite part about this verse is that God gives us a peace that “transcends all understanding.” Those around you don’t have to understand why you’re choosing to follow the voice of God over their approval. And when you face disaster and sorrow, I hope you are so wrapped up in this peace that the people watching you are stunned by your strength. My desire is for them to want the peace that you carry, to ache for the Light that beams from within you no matter what your circumstances may be. I want you to be so wrapped up in Jesus that you don’t even realize the people you’re inviting into His throne room just because of the way you are living your life. This all starts with the beautiful chaos of raw surrender translated to faithful obedience.
That’s where you find your peace.