Ok how many of you us have had a false perception of peace? I am the first one over here raising my hand! For years I always interpreted peace is never worrying about anything or even border line being in a place where you don’t really care. I have seen so many people say or post about how they aren’t going to let anything or anyone disturb their peace but the way it comes off or is interpreted sometimes can be cold or even misunderstood. I do think it’s important to set boundaries and make the decision to not let certain things bother you. But what I’ve really learned is that this is a constant process; a long term journey that doesn’t stop once you reach a certain age or a certain status in life. There are people who have tons of money who don’t have any peace because what they really desire they do not have. What we often think will solve everything or give us peace doesn’t.
I think peace is unique to the individual. What one person finds relaxing or peaceful another person might feel the opposite about. I recall taking one of those little fun surveys that make you list what your favorite things are. You know the ones with your favorite color, favorite car, favorite place to vacation and on and on and on. I remember completing one years ago and one of the questions was “What’s your favorite sound?” At the time my answer was silence!! LOL. People thought that was hilarious but it really was. I know there are some moms who enjoy the sound of their children playing or relish in their laughter. That was not me. At least not all of the time. I had two small kids. They were loud at times and my youngest daughter talked incessantly! But in that stage of life all I wanted was quiet. It was too noisy all of the time. And now that answer is different. I have a third child, so please understand I still enjoy silence but I enjoy it for different reasons now. I enjoy it because it allows me to hear my thoughts and connect with God. I can hear him more when I enter that quiet place with him.
But I don’t enjoy silence the way that I used to be because my oldest daughter has moved to live with her father and now all I wish I could hear is her laugh or her singing loudly in her room. But she’s not in her room and it’s quiet. My youngest daughter is in the preteen stage and while at times she does still get going with the longest stories known to man, she is much quieter than she’s ever been and sometimes I really want to hear one of those long stories. So silence to me in this stage of my life means something totally different to me than it did a year or two ago. I think this happens the same way with peace.
When I was a single parent I found peace in simply knowing that my kids were happy and that they had the things they wanted. Things were often financially tight and there were sacrifices I had to make to ensure their overall happiness. Not that it was easy to find peace in their needs but it was necessary for where I was at in the journey that I was on. As my relationship with God grew, I was learning to depend less on my emotions and how certain things made me feel and learning to lean more towards contentment. Being able to be home to get them off of the bus, do home work with them, cook dinner for them, take them for ice cream. Those things did not just make me feel good, they brought me a joy that I can’t explain. I felt blessed to be able to work and still be able to prioritize as a mother.
But as we all know and have heard, seasons change. Life happens. What do we do when what once brought us contentment and peace shifts and we have to adjust to a new thing? Change opens us up to growth and with growth comes a different set of challenges which means we have to find some way to quiet the inner turmoil. In the last season of life as long as my kids were happy, I learned to live in peace. Not that this doesn’t apply to the season my life moved on to but my kids happiness also brought me to a place of pain with having a child live else where, another child growing up and wanting space and then a toddler who required the most attention as well as dealing with the emotions of having children not all growing up in the same home together anymore. So I had to really evaluate the changes I was experiencing and determine what real peace meant to me.
Want to know what I’ve learned and come up with? Real peace does not mean that there will not be stressful moments. Real peace does not mean that there will not be moments where you will not be sad, mad, hurt, frustrated or even confused. The Bible says in John 14:27 ” I am leaving you with a gift of peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” Real peace means that we will encounter some tough times; we will encounter some bumps in the road but the solution to those issues and that turmoil lies in the mind and in the heart. I’ve learned that peace is a decision. I recently came to a crossroads where I had to make the decision to either really let God give me the gift of peace by opening myself to increase my faith and trust in Him or I was going to continue walking around trying to figure everything out.
As I was looking around dealing with a several situations I had no control over, something inside of me got happy. I started remembering that when things seem like they are falling apart sometimes they are really falling into place. I started reminding myself how God works all things together for my good. I remembered that I trust Him. I recalled several situations where I didn’t know how I was going to see my way out of it and He filled in the gap. As all of these things started to come to mind I found real peace. I found the ability to really leave it in his hands. I made the DECISION to just let God figure it out. Partly because I was tired of exhausting myself out over the same things He’s always handled on my behalf and partly because what did I really have to lose by believing that God would do what He said He was going to do? Nothing. I win. Either way. Every time. And not to say that worry or fear does not creep it’s way back in and tries to seep in through some crack I didn’t seal up well enough. But when it does I’M PREPARED. I’m prepared through the recollection of previous experiences and circumstances that He’s pulled me through. I have the proof that He has and will always come through!
So I say all of this to say, make the CHOICE to find and live in real peace. Don’t just make the choice but also be prepared to defend that decision on a consistent basis. Go into it knowing that peace may represent something to you in a different way in different stages of your life but when you’re prepared that real peace just travels with you. When you’re prepared things in relationships that used to bother you don’t bother you anymore. You learn to move on. You can learn to express how you feel without expectations attached to it. You can make decisions and not spend all of that extra time stressing over whether it’s right or not. I’ve learned that you have to make a decision either way, whether it’s right or wrong, God will honor the fact that you decided and He will still continue to cover you and guide you. Making the decision to choose peace means no longer allowing yourself to be controlled by temporary situations or emotions. Whatever turmoil you are going through won’t last forever. Whatever heartache or confusion you may feel is all apart of the journey to mold you and grow you. You might as well choose to be in peace during the journey that God’s in control of anyway.