I have felt so far away from peace for such a long time. This is a byproduct of often trying to exert control. I realized during our Rooted study last year that this is a response of feeling responsible for so many things. I realized after addressing control through that lens it is often also a way of protecting myself emotionally. I have been addressing that in prayer over some months now. I ask God often to “convince me that trusting Him is easier than trusting myself.” A therapist has told me that she calls ‘trying to control things you can’t’ as “ceaseless striving” and that it only ends in depression. Being convicted in the Spirit of all these things, I started to revisit some Scriptures that were familiar to me. I cannot take credit for this endeavor; they keep popping up in reading plans (on YouVersion) that I have chosen for other reasons or have been chosen for me.
For example, today’s reading is Philippians 4:4-9 –
“ Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 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.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
The study our small group is doing gave me this list for today:
- Psalm 139:23-24
“Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.”
- Philippians 4:6-7
“ 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.”
- Psalm 34:4
“I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.”
- 1 Peter 5:7
“ Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
Yesterday’s reading contained, in addition to Psalm 139:23-24 again, 1 John 1:9 –
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
I find that God is addressing my lack of and desire for peace.
I find myself being drawn to the phrases which explain where you find the peace of God. The Scriptures I am being directed to seem to boil down to these two things:
– asking the Lord to take control of the things that make me anxious
– making choices in accordance with His ways (and not my own)
These might be just the lessons the Spirit wants me to learn, but I have also been encouraged to share with all of you.
My hope in sharing, then, is not that your route to healing and receiving peace would be identical to mine. We are not identical people.
But be encouraged that, if you have similar struggles, there are others out there who are struggling. No matter the situation, the Holy Spirit is available and wants to speak into the struggle. There are Scriptures preordained for this moment in your life. The Word of God is living and active, dive in!