PEACE: This was my word for 2019. When God gave me this word He said, “I’m going to give you peace like you have never experienced before.” So I was looking forward to a relaxing year. However, I should have known better when the scripture He gave me to go along with this word was Psalm 37. Criticism, financial setbacks, potential homelessness, judgement, conflict, and misunderstanding were regular daily events in my life this year. And somehow I have managed to find peace and keep my joy in the midst of all of them.
You see, what I have learned to understand is that peace is NEVER the absence of problems or conflict. Having peace in your life means YOU are the way you should be, even when everything around you is not as it should be.
Now you may be asking how is this possible? Well first I recognized that fear plagues my life and keeps me from having peace, keeps me from having joy, keeps me from prospering. When I abide in God’s perfect love His love gives me the confidence I need to live, even in the face of trouble. God is my refuge and strength. If I can learn how to abide in God’s love I can begin to weed out fear in my life and in doing so have peace because His perfect love cast out fear.
Second, I recognized that I need to stop trying to feel validated by the things and people in this world. Life has all these expectations you and I will NEVER live up to! Peace is absent from my life when I fight against what I was created for by trying to live up to expectations that were never meant for me! God who created me, and created the day that I am living, knows what I was created to accomplish in life. “God is closer to me than I am to myself.” (Augustine) He is within while I am outside myself. When I ask God to make himself known from where He already resides, my heart; that affirmation and validation from God will give me the ability to obtain the peace I am looking for, the peace that is my inheritance as a child of God. One prayer I prayed regularly this year is “God, show me my heart as YOU see it.” Not how I see it, or how the world sees it. God is not asking me to be the best ____ the world has ever seen, He’s asking me to be the BEST ME the world has ever seen. The person He created me to be.
Third, I recognized the importance of developing an attitude of GRATITUDE by choosing to glorify and praise God every day, REGARDLESS. Gratitude goes with singing and praise and is the gateway to the dwelling place of the Lord. It is a response to God’s steadfast love. Every day/season/situation has a purpose, so thank God for it. If there is something going on in my life, there is a reason for it. Gratitude opens up the gates of God’s blessings so I can see His wonders, even when it feels like the world is coming against me. Gratitude has built my faith this year. It has helped me trust and wait because I remember all God has done and that He can do it again. Gratitude magnifies God’s power instead of my problems. It empties me of my sorrow and fills me with joy, life, and contentment.
There is so much more I can say but if you are reading this, and you REALLY want to experience peace, you are going to have to begin practicing it for yourself, and begin searching for it yourself in the Prince of Peace. No one and nothing in this world can give you the peace you are looking for. These things I have listed are just some tips to get you started. So I want to end with this, don’t wait for peace, choose to walk in peace. I have made it a habit of getting on my knees every morning and SURRENDERING the day to God. Walking in peace means following God for the outcome He created me for, NOT LEADING GOD to the outcome I want for my life. Commit your way to the Lord and allow God to guide you! Don’t be hasty but trust that God will go before you and allow Him to do so. When life starts to overwhelm me thats my sign to step back and pray, watch for God to work and be still ("pause and abide"). God is good at being God so it is OK to trust Him. Will you give it a try?
Here are some scriptures God used to teach me the things I wrote above.
Psalm 37, Luke 2:10, Joshua 1:9, 24:15, 1 John 4:16-18, Philippians 4:7, Romans 3:23-24, Isaiah 26:3-4, Zechariah 3:6, 4:6