PEACE. As a foster-adoptive mom, I have lived through a lot of unknowns and dealt with a lot of trauma, including the possibility of losing our young sons two years after they joined our family. Thankfully our story had a happy ending and we were able to adopt them soon after. But it was a gut-wrenching season we faced, and I fought against stress regularly. To combat the stress, I began reading a lot of verses about God’s perfect peace.
Peace can be a misunderstood word. We often think of it as a passive, trite, Hallmark card answer to the complicated problems in life. But in the Bible we see that Christ used peace actively, as a hard-fought battle cry against the storms and fears of this world.
Psalm 34 tells us to “seek peace and pursue it”. I love the picture of seeking and pursuing, even chasing after God’s peace. As a parent, I know that peace over our family and kids doesn’t always naturally “happen”. One doesn’t just passively “receive” it.
When the going gets tough, the tough must get up and GO after peace. So, I learned to actively choose peace in those moments… to CHASE peace if I have to! I give every concern to God, give any doubts or insecurities to God. He is training my mind to be steadfast.
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast,
because they trust in You. ~Isaiah 26:2-4
Philippians 4:6-7 has become our family’s theme verse. There are times I read it daily, sometimes hourly. When things are out of control and stress looms, this is a great “how to” verse on getting peace.
Do not be anxious about anything but in everything, 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. ~Philippians 4:6-7
Whether you have fears coming out of this election season, or you are facing personal stress – whatever battle is waging in your life – this verse will train you to combat it with peace. It beat the fear and anxiety out of me until all I could do was pray and choose peace. It guarded my heart from breaking and my mind from freaking. I was officially schooled. So here it is broken down in case you need the same schooling:
How To Chase Peace 101:
Step 1. Snap out of it – stop the downward spiral of anxious thoughts and fear.
Step 2. Pray – Replace those stressful thoughts with prayer & petition.
Step 3. Be thankful – give thanks (out loud even) for every little bit you can think of. Live out your thankfulness – actively get involved in protecting & championing the things you are thankful for (your country, freedom, community). With that same attitude of thankfulness and peace, get involved in the things God has given you a burden for that need changing.
Step 4. Present your requests to God – be specific! Sometimes we forget to think through what we actually need and specifically ask God for that (James 4:2-3).
Step 5. Repeat as necessary.
And what are the results of this “how to”? You will be guarded – your heart, your mind – GUARDED. As you battle on, you will be protected and covered with a peace that doesn’t make sense to you or anyone else. In troubled times, it transcends all understanding. You won’t get this kind of peace from any other place. It only comes from Christ and putting your trust, your prayers, and your life in HIS hands.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” ~ John 14:27