I began this post a year or so ago…..It’s been sitting in my drafts folder and today, I finally finished it….
I can’t get something off my mind from the message at church yesterday. The pastor talked about solving conflicts. He began with talking about the conflict within ourselves and how we have a lot of pressure within us. The pressure within us is what causes conflict in our marriages, families and relationships.
This morning on my run I started to think about the peace within and how I could make sure that I had that peace. How can I make sure that my soul is at peace?
I am reading a book called Love Lives Here. Excellent book-you should read it! Yesterday I read a chapter about comparison. I know I’ve talked about this before, but the author quoted Theodore Roosevelt when he said “comparison is the thief of joy.” Isn’t that the truth? She says, ” It (comparison) will rip us off and steal our lunch money every time. Rather than running away, it just stares us down as it blocks our path forward… It doesn’t just dominate the room, it burns it down-with you in it. It whispers to us that we’re not good enough or smart enough or talented enough or brave enough. It hisses and bubbles in the hallway and says there’s no way around it. But the fact is, comparison is a liar. The way forward isn’t over it or through it; it’s simply to ignore it completely.” (Maria Goff, Love Lives Here, P.46-47)
This morning as I ran, all I kept thinking about was “the peace within.” How can I be at peace? How can I live a life of joy? A life of purpose and a life that I am proud of? You see, I’ve always struggled with comparison. Especially in my early years of mommyhood. I was a depressed, anxious, overwhelmed stay at home mom . We lived paycheck to paycheck and some weeks only by the grace of God did we make it. Oh how I would wish things were different. I always found myself comparing my life to other moms who appeared to have it all together. I say appeared because now I know, no one has it all together.
After my run that day, I came home and decided I would look up verses in the bible that talked about peace and one in particular stood out…
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” Col 3:15
You know….what Maria Goff said about comparison is true, but it could also be said of all the things that steal our peace. Those triggers in our life that dominate our lives. They bring us down and whisper to us that we are not worthy. They tell us that our past mistakes are the only things people see.
The enemy lies. He uses all of that to take our peace away. And then it trickles down into the rest of our lives. It ruins our marriages, our families and our relationships.
So how do we find peace?
We ask for it. Every day. Cry out to Him and ask Him to surround you with His peace. When any anxious thought or lie from the enemy tries to come into your mind, rebuke it and replace it with the Word of God. Wake up each day and choose to be in a gratitude state of mind instead of a comparison trap. I know our circumstances are not perfect. I know you may be living paycheck to paycheck. You may be going through some health issues. You may have just lost a loved one. I get it. I’ve been there. But instead of focusing on what God has “taken away”, let’s focus on what He continues to give us. I read something recently that hit me hard. It said that God is still the God of everything that is left in your life. When my daddy died. God didn’t stop being God. He is still God. And He is still the God of my life. He gives us His peace freely. All we need to do is ask.
John 14:27 says, ” 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.”
Sweet friends, God doesn’t give as the world gives. His love is not the kind the world offers. People will disappoint us. They will break our hearts. Our loved ones will die. Sickness does exist. But God tells us to not let our hearts be troubled and to not be afraid. He comforts and strengthens us. He is there with us through the ups and downs of life. Nothing is insignificant to Him. That request you may think is insignificant to God? It is not! It is just as important as any other. So present your requests to God. All of them and stand assured that the peace of God will guard your hearts and your mind just as it says in Philippians 4:7.
“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.”
When we are at peace, we bring a person at peace to our marriages, our families and our relationships. That is God’s desire for us. The enemy is after our marriages and our families. Don’t let the whispers from the enemy steal that peace that God has given you. Hold onto it tightly and ask for it daily.
Dear God, thank you for your peace. Thank you for your love, your faithfulness and your reassurance that you are with us. Life is crazy. So many things are pulling at us, trying to steal our peace. Help us stand firm on your promise to not be afraid. Guard our hearts and our minds dear Lord. Send your peace. In Jesus’ name, Amen.