I am, by nature, an optimist. I like to think I have a can-do attitude, can roll with the punches, and soldier through whatever comes. “I can deal with this. We just have to keep going until bedtime and then it’ll be ok,” is a refrain that goes through my mind multiple times a week. (Ok, fine — multiple times a day!).
While this attitude isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s like a double-sided coin. On one side, it keeps me looking on the bright side, allowing me to do what needs to get done. But on the flip side, it puts me in a stance of intense self-sufficiency because I feel I can handle everything on my own.
And in this place of self-sufficiency, guess what happens when something gets thrown at me that I can’t “fix” or deal with? I fall completely apart. I find myself desperately trying anything and everything in my power, until I finally realize, it’s not in my power to fix.
I’m realizing this attitude leaves very little space for God. And no space at all for rest.
I’m really terrible at resting. In fact, this season of my life has been marked by an intense restlessness in my spirit that overwhelms me frequently. Don’t get me wrong — I can be lazy with the best of them. But there’s a chasm of difference between lazy and restful. Being lazy does nothing for my overall stress level. In fact, it increases my restlessness. It brings no peace to my heart.
But there’s a pattern in scripture when it comes to peace:
You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in you.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
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.
In each of these passages, peace comes as a result of trust. That’s trust in God, not trust in my own abilities, just to be clear.
When I live in my own strength, I miss out on this peace because all I’m focused on is how I can fix things or make things work (usually the way I want them.) I miss out on the abundant life that God has planned for me because I’m strung out and stretched thin in ways I was never meant to be.
I’ve lived so many years in “survival mode” because of my lack of trust that I’m having to unlearn many unhealthy patterns I’ve created. It’s a daily, moment by moment surrender. It takes monumental effort sometimes. But you know what? Every single time I do it, God blesses me with peace. Every time.
Journal / Reflection Questions:
- Where do you need to see more peace in your life?
- How can you deepen your trust in God in this area so you can experience his peace?
Amber is a wife to her husband, Steve, and mom to her two children, Ethan and Stella. She grew up as a missionary kid in the Philippines and has a degree in Literature from Bethel University. She writes about food and creative endeavors at By Amber’s Hands.