You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.
If I had only one word to sum up 2019 so far, it would be, “stressful.” We are only nine weeks in at this point and I’ve had more unexpected, difficult things happen in my life this year already than I had in all of 2018. It’s been hard and it’s been painful. I’ve felt lost, confused and completely alone at times. And yet, I keep coming back to this verse. It’s so simple, and yet so much to comprehend.
The Bible is full of verses and instruction about peace. I think most of us want it, don’t we? It’s much more pleasant to live in peace than it is to live in a state of anxiety. And yet, I still struggle to get to that place of perfect peace, especially in the midst of a storm. Why is it so hard? The verse above contains only 16 words and seems so simple when I read it. If that’s all it takes, only 16 words, to give me peace, why do I still live in so much anxiety sometimes?
What’s the key for walking out of fear and anxiety? It’s to do exactly what the verse above says to do. To be steadfast means to be firmly fixed in place or to be immovable. In other words, no matter what storm is raging around you, it means looking to God and saying, “God. I trust you. I trust you in this storm, no matter what I see in front of me and no matter what happens. You won’t leave me. You won’t forsake me. You are with me, you love me and that is all I need.”
Let’s try that for a few minutes. Think about a stressful situation that you are in right now. Spend two minutes thinking about why it’s so stressful, what’s going on, why you are stressed, what you think is going to be the outcome? How do you feel after two minutes of thinking about all of that? Peaceful or more stressed? Now, spend two minutes saying, “God. I’m going to give this situation to you and trust you with it, no matter what I see happening. I trust that no matter what the outcome, you will use it for my good. Thank you for being with me. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for never leaving me alone or abandoning me. I love you God and I’m so thankful that I can trust you in and with everything in my life.” Now how do you feel?
For me, the first option made my heart start to race. I could literally feel my adrenaline kick in. While the second option helped me calm down and get to a place of quiet, calm, comfort and peace. Like me, it may take you some time and consistent effort to reframe your thinking in the midst of a storm. When you are used to thinking a certain way, breaking those patterns can be challenging. But, you can do this with God’s help. Some simple steps are:
- Write Isaiah 26:3 down and keep it in a place where you can see it/ easily access it when you need it. Ideally, memorize it so you can recite it to yourself whenever you need it.
- Make a list of the circumstances that are stealing your peace. It’s OK to tell God you are scared about whatever is on your list and that you need His help to get to a place of peace with any of it. And then commit to doing your part. Any time one of those circumstances comes up, pray the above prayer.
- Make it a habit to have praise and worship music on any time you can listen to music. I even put it on in my office at work at a very low volume. If I start feeling stressed or anxious about something, I can close my eyes for a minute and just focus on the words to the song.
God didn’t promise us a life free from trials and tribulation. Thankfully, though, He did give us the keys to peace, even in the midst of the chaos. I’m committed to using those keys in 2019 and walking into more peace in my life. I hope you will join me.