Re-Focus Writing Retreat: Peace

There are so many things that demand my attention. Sometimes, it’s the sound of a new text message or e-mail notification. In other times, it’s the pressure of life and the thoughts of the unknown that keep me lying awake at night.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. -Phillipians 4:6-7

God’s Word is the place I go to whenever I need peace. It’s my anchor, my safe haven. It’s a place where I know I can find comfort, truth, and rest about any situation. It may not give instructions about a specific circumstance, but it certainly is a place where I know I can find wisdom and direction about a particular situation.

For example, right now I’m currently studying to become a nurse someday. That “someday” is coming up very soon, and people are asking me what I plan to do once I get my license to practice. To give them my honest answer, I would have to say I have absolutely no idea. In fact, I am so afraid of making the wrong move or applying for the wrong job that I’m a little overwhelmed.

I’ve often heard people say that when there are too many options, it’s even harder to choose which is best. There are so many things that I can see myself doing, but which is the best option? We can only doubt ourselves for so long until we become paralyzed in our own ways of thinking.

Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus- Phillipians 3:12-14.

Here’s what I’ve been learning about finding peace:

Prayer is not only helpful but necessary. Okay, so you know that thing that’s been lingering in your mind for days, weeks or even months? Have you prayed about it? Have you given it to God-fully and completely? I’ve learned that in order for me to find true, lasting peace about a situation, I need to surrender it to God once and for all. It’s not as easy as it sounds. In fact, it can be very painful to give up something you hold tightly. But what if in exchange for that thing or person, you gripped on tight to Jesus Christ?

Self-examination needs to take place. We as humans tend to avoid any form of unpleasant or unwanted feelings that arise from a situation. Our first instinct when something bad happens is turning inward to our own self-sufficiency rather than turning to the One who gives us all the sufficiency we could ever need. I’ve certainly learned this lesson from personal experiences, and it is probably the wisest thing to ask the Lord What He’s trying to show me or teach me during any hardship. It’s absolutely necessary to take stock of our own lives when things aren’t going as we planned, in order for us to re-focus our minds and hearts on Jesus Christ.

If you’ve ever heard the hymn “Turn your eyes upon Jesus” you’ll know the familiar words that say “and the things of earth will grow strangely dim…” What happens when we focus so much of our time and energy on meaningless or temporary things? We begin to rob ourselves of our own peace and joy that comes along with keeping our gaze fixed upon Jesus. There was actually a season of my life where I was so consumed with desiring to be in a relationship with a specific person, that I actually spent the majority of my time waiting for that person to romantically show up on my doorstep with flowers or send me a message saying how much they cared about me. It was to the point where I couldn’t focus on anything else besides this person, and as a result, I was miserable and angry. When we place such a high expectation on temporary things of this world, we get ourselves into trouble. We need to remind ourselves on a daily basis that this earth is not our home.

Give thanks always and praise the Lord as often as you can- I am learning a great deal of what it means to be content and thankful in any situation. Being thankful is an act our heart can express, and therefore it requires some effort. We can tell ourselves, “well I am thankful for the house I live in and the friends that I have” but are we truly grateful for and humbled by these things? After all, we don’t deserve anything, and yet we’ve been given so much. We may not want to sit down and make a list of all the things to be thankful for, but I believe it makes an incredible difference in the way I perceive things and treat others when I live from a heart of thankfulness.

Choose freedom-In order to find lasting peace, there needs to be some degree of trust. If you’re wanting peace about your future, or sometimes even the past, we need to trust Jesus with our lives and trust that He has our best interests at heart. This may be difficult for those who don’t understand everything that goes on in the world. “Why would a loving God who says He cares and is in control permit bad things to happen?” some might ask. These types of questions often hinder others from wanting to trust Jesus Christ as their Saviour because they don’t understand why evil exists. The truth is, in order for love to be real, there needs to be a free choice. If I loved you by default, would that be considered true love? If I only loved you because you’re my brother or sister, would that be sincere? God knows that in order for anything to be true, there needs to be choice-and that choice comes with trusting and believing that He is Who He says He is.

Where do you need peace today? How are you going to attain it? In my own personal experience, I am aware that peace won’t come from distraction, but it will come by re-focusing on what is important.

dovess

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