Peace like a river…where is it?

This morning in my search for peace, things just weren’t going right. I wanted a shower, yet decided on a bath. I also misplaced my phone. I wasted so much time trying to get organized and prepared to start a day of peace, but then frustration drenched over me as I tried to turn on the computer, and it went haywire with beeping sounds. All I know is that my cat, Panther was sitting on it yesterday, and I didn’t realize until I heard an intrusive high pitched sound. It didn’t bother her one bit, and I thought that would be the end of it, but when I turned it on again, it kept assaulting my ears. Turning it off, I thought, good thing I have a backup! As I waited for the other computer to load, my frustration grew. I thought how ridiculous it seemed to be getting so annoyed about wanting to get started on exploring peace and being delayed, thus, delaying the peace I thought I was looking for. Of course, that is not true, because a situation should not be able to dictate how much peace I possess inside.

This is where my journey lies, and I feel like I am running a race against time before the next tragedy comes along. That is one of my fears- to be completely mentally unprepared, as well as spiritually unprepared for the next trial. I have been so used to living off of anxious energy, with my guard up waiting for the arrows to fly at any moment. It’s been worse since my Dad’s sudden tragic death, but I have always been this way to a certain extent. Maybe it also has something to do with the house fire I survived, and the traumatic memories that haunt me until this day. Maybe it has to do with the way the world is going, and how I am already scared to go out into it. First, I need to focus on managing my severe anxiety while hiding at home before I can focus on trying to make it in this world.

Moving on, here goes my list of things I ended up doing to feel peace within this morning so far-

-I got down on my knees and thanked God for being who He is. I also asked him to bless and protect my family as they go through their day.

-I took a bath and listened to a sermon about peace.

-I wrote in my prayer journal, asking God to speak to me through His Word.

-I read a few chapters in Psalms and highlighted what really spoke to me.

-I read a few pages from a book about forgiving and moving on.

-I read a few pages of a book about feeding one’s soul with wisdom.

And now here I am- with my computer working, coffee beside me, and a whole day before me to use or to lose for all of eternity.

I choose to use it today, and want to go about life in a way that each day has some sort of substance, whether it be acquiring more knowledge about a certain subject, or completing a task or project. I don’t want to waste my life, but want to try and impact others in a positive light each day.

As the days go by on my journey for peace in this chaotic world, it’s amazing how I feel right at this moment. My usual anxious stomach feels calm. My mind isn’t racing with fears of the day. I don’t feel annoyed by the chores I need to accomplish- even thinking of dusting isn’t affecting my thought process right now (my least favorite chore)!

The amazing thing going on in my brain as I write this is that the irritation I had moments before getting this page to load, I felt quite agitated. As the writing flows, and my thoughts reveal themselves on this page, a feeling of relief takes over. Writing becomes a medicine for the soul, and is a gift from God, in many forms.

I am wondering if besides God bringing peace to His people when we put our trust in Him, letting His love and peace enter into us- I wonder if that’s when God begins to also fill our thoughts with things we might enjoy doing in this life. The reason I say this is because even though I have been on this journey for peace just a short while, I am having an interest in other things that left me for a long time. Thoughts of playing the piano come to my mind, or the desire to write. I find myself wanting to draw, or make a doll. Enjoyable things that I wasn’t giving myself permission to do when I was severely depressed. I can’t even believe I just wrote that- I wrote “was” severely depressed.

That is quite amazing to have such a quick turnaround from such a spell of depression. I am not saying that it was quick to come to my rescue when the severity of depression began, because it’s been many months, but to have my new routine of seeking God and actually trying to slow down enough to absorb what God is trying to tell me is helping so quickly- it brings great hope for the future I never thought I had.

It almost scares me to have so much hope because I don’t want it to come crashing down. In the past, my usual thought process was to assume the worst, and that whatever came along, if it was better than an utter catastrophe I had pictured in my mind, I was ‘happy’. I was elated to the point I could feel at the time. I thought if I set my mindset up for failure, I wouldn’t be so disappointed. I didn’t think there was more hope in this world for happiness, and looked to heaven to give it to me ‘someday’. Now I hope it sticks in my mind that a circumstance shouldn’t be able to shake me. If I have a partial eternal focus, added to a logical realization, and of course, ask God to help me with this, hopefully, I can achieve success.

For a while now, my depression and anxiety haven’t just been about me, but my fears of what would happen to others in my life. I felt if I didn’t get it together quick and try to find a way to make money- maybe even lots of money, that I couldn’t fix this situation I am in. Daily, I obsessed over how I would accomplish this until my eyes burned, and still, nothing came. I begged God to give me words to write, thoughts to think, even inventions to design. I kept telling God if He would just do ‘this or that’ for me, I could start getting better with my issues, and be a productive part of my household who contributes accordingly. My heart was in desperation mode, and my mind could think of little else than the lack of what we had, or how I was letting my kids down because I didn’t have enough money for the fun things I wish I could pay for. I felt like I was letting my husband down, and an embarrassment to my extended family.

Somewhere in the back of my mind, two verses remained -Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33)

The next- Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path. (Proverbs 3:5)

Lastly, if we delight in the Lord He will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)

With these verses floating through my mind, I still felt resistant to know how to change. I wanted to try to find peace, but felt like I didn’t have enough time, and would try harder once I started making money… or lived in a nicer house, or had it all together… How was I supposed to even begin to get it together without God being at the front and center in my life? I had put Him on the back burner, and maybe even tried to light Him on fire a few times with my grumbling and freaking out over things that I thought were worse than the plague at the time. The plague would have been a better excuse to be so non- productive.

Even amidst my ‘wanting’ thoughts, I tried to imagine what would happen if I got what I thought I longed for. It felt superficial because I didn’t see my heart in it. Actually, I saw myself being uncomfortable in my own skin and looking for the next thing that might bring me peace within myself.

I am finally, after all of these years, beginning to see the light! Truly it’s a little embarrassing because I feel like a baby Christian who is starting over at 41 years old, and realizing how far I need to go in this race, I want to sprint, but I know that sprinting only leads to skimming verses of the Bible without letting the meaning absorb, or giving myself a moment to possibly be enlightened by God. I can’t rush the process even though it kind of feels like the process is rushing me.

I have heard it so many times before from people saying they felt peace, and it wasn’t that I didn’t believe them (well, sometimes I questioned it), but I didn’t know it was possible for me. I know the Bible says that if we draw near to God, he will draw near to us. (James 4:8) That used to be almost a contradiction in my head because I thought, well, if God is everywhere, how can He draw closer to me than He already is. It is still a mystery to me what it exactly means because I cannot see God, and don’t know how he functions in Spirit. My tiny human brain can’t try to figure out something too much for my brain to comprehend. I am not expected to know all of the mysteries that exist, and by the time I get to heaven, I probably won’t care!

What’s my point here? Well, I am still not at the point where I want to pray for patience, because in my experience, I have possibly been sent a thorn when I prayed for patience, so I don’t want to risk it right now. ;)

I am saying this half-jokingly, but for now, I am praying for peace. As I pray, it will create a certain type of patience, because I don’t intend to give up this time. Since I can feel a change in my heart and my anxiety is so much lower in just a short time of allowing God to change my perspective, why would I give up now? I may have found the ‘sweet sauce’ I was looking for. In fact, I know it now. Not that I doubted in God’s goodness, I just didn’t know how to achieve it while I was living in misery, waiting for my husband or kids to come home so I could feel more like I was needed and loved, or waiting for that check in the mail from the rich uncle I didn’t know I had…wouldn’t that be nice? OK, I’m getting off track again!

I know ‘they’ say you need to take care of yourself and love yourself before you can give love to anyone else. Though I was already showing a type of love, the more I adjust to being kinder to myself, the more I can be at peace with myself, with God, and with others.

If I am beating myself up daily because of what I see in the mirror, I am bad-mouthing God’s creation. Instead of being distracted today by my appearance, I just haven’t looked at myself in the mirror this morning, and have more important things to focus on than how I look. I want peace! If I can work on building my character, strength, and wisdom, I can become the adult I haven’t met yet. I can get out of this child-like state, and even possibly become some sort of leader at some point.

Truly, the possibilities become endless when I open my mind to more positivity. Of course, I can’t achieve any of these things without the Lord’s help, and wouldn’t want to, because then it would all be in vain.

In the past, I have wasted goldmines of experiences I could have earned a reward in heaven for, but my heart just wasn’t in it. Whether I was singing, serving, or sharing, It was an action with a sometimes begrudgingly attitude, and also felt like an obligation, because usually, I had no choice in the matter anyway, being underage.

Maybe I can make something count now for God’s Kingdom. Maybe I can have more confidence in who I am in Christ, rather than how the world might see me. I used to hear a term instead of having self- esteem, to have Christ- esteem. Not looking at ourselves in an action-based, performance-based view, but how God sees us through His Son. If we have Jesus standing as a bridge between us and our Heavenly Father, God will see the beautiful purity of Jesus, and as a result, beauty will radiate from us, making us holy in the sight of God.

What a great thing to know that God wants us to have peace, and will give it to us as we trust in Him, believing His promises for us. If our hearts are centered on Him, our desires will begin to focus on the things that are important to Him. Gradually, things we used to enjoy begin to look less appealing if they aren’t lined up with what God wants for us. The garbage begins to expose itself for what it is. We long for satisfaction. We long for God whether we know it or not.

I am finally starting to feel the prompts of the Holy Spirit, or at least I think I am. I need more time to learn about this, for I still don’t know if they are my own thoughts, whispered thoughts from beyond this realm, or what, but I really do want to experience to the fullest whatever being led by the Spirit looks like.

It may sound crazy to people who know I have been a Christian for so long, and that I still don’t ‘get’ these things. Up until now, I was treading water, desperately wanting to catch my breath and learn how to swim- and not just by doing the doggie paddle.

Now I want to begin each day saying these words based on scripture, but in my own words- “Today is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in Him”-(Psalm 118:24)

No matter what comes, no matter the fear, I’ll take heart in Jesus, for in Him, God is near.

Be blessed, and if you have any comments or questions, please leave a reply, and I will try to help in any way I can! Until then, Shalom!

Writer, Wife, Mama to many. My book of poetry, "Wandering Through the Darkness" can be found at https://tinyurl.com/yaos7vp3 Visit me at Misfit-believer.com

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