The heart behind our Peace Series is to create a place where you can break from the busyness of the season and meet our Prince of Peace, our Wonderful Counselor, our Mighty God. He is with us and He is for us – and that should bring great comfort and joy. We hope that by making room to reflect and respond to the truth of God’s word, you will be encouraged and equipped with practical ways to cultivate peace in your life.
— Cultivate Peace in Your Mind —
I’m a collector of midnight thoughts. Do you know the kind? They keep you staring up at the ceiling as they race through your mind, sending your stomach into knots and stealing any chance of rest. These thoughts are the breeding ground for anxiety and the birthplace of fear.
Oh, the restless nights spent fixed on doubts. The hours lost questioning what I’ve said and done or even worse, worrying about what others think of my words and actions. I’ve wrestled with the past, wondering if a different argument or opinion might have changed everything. I’ve feared the future, doubting I had enough strength, knowledge, or talent to handle what lay ahead.
The thing about this late night battle—besides the fact that it’ll make a girl crazy—is that it’s all about what might have been and what could be, instead of what is. It’s about the past [the things we can’t change] or the future [the things we can’t control], instead of the present [what we choose now].
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in You,
all whose thoughts are fixed on You.
Isaiah 26:3 NLT
Perfect peace. It can feel a bit out of reach, can’t it? In the middle of all the thoughts and emotions that hit us like a tidal wave, peace can feel distant and unattainable. And it is, if we try to find it within ourselves.
This world tempts us with its versions of “peace.” Maybe it’s a pastime or habit that temporarily numbs our cares. It might be a distraction that pushes our worries aside for a time and convinces us we’re okay. These brands of peace, with their instant gratification, might be easier to choose, but they’re fleeting at best.
Real peace is found in the presence of our Savior.
Jesus offers a peace beyond understanding. It’s perfect, not because of how it makes us feel, but because of who He is. The peace He promises is perfected in us because it comes through practice—by learning to take hold of our thoughts, turn them toward God and rather than doubt, worry, or wonder, we CHOOSE to trust Him. We choose the truth that His goodness, grace, and power are big enough to tackle anything we face.
I know this isn’t always easy, but the peace that Jesus offers is the only peace that lasts.
The most amazing thing: if we cultivate this practice of pursuing peace in our life, God doesn’t say He might give us peace, or He’ll give us some, then take it away. Isaiah 26:3 tells us that if we’ll keep trusting Him with our deepest thoughts—if we’ll be real with God—He will keep us at peace. How beautiful is that?
Sweet sisters, feelings are a thing. We have to be real with ourselves and acknowledge them, but feelings should not and do not get to rule our world. I want to be a woman who serves Jesus, not my emotions.
This is my prayer for us … that we would be a community of women who are not only real with each other, but hold one another accountable in the practice of peace. That we would gather up our doubts from the past, lay hold of our fears for the future, toss in our burdens and insecurities, and even if we have to drag them, even if it takes ten of us to carry them, even if we get it wrong and have to try over again, we bring those faith stealing feelings into the presence of our King and WE TRUST HIM and HIM ALONE.
What might that look like? Imagine us, a body of believers, cultivating real peace and exceptional kindness, instead of being tossed around by our wayward thoughts and fickle feelings. I think it could be incredible, and I think we can do it. Are you in?
With grace and peace,
LET’S DIG DEEPER:
- Still your heart before God. Reflect on your thought life. What thoughts, worries or anxieties do you need to take captive right now and surrender to God?
- What are your forms of temporary “peace?” Maybe it’s social media, shopping or binging on food, Netflix or other numbing activities. Now that you’ve identified those, what would it look like for you to pursue God instead? Will you trust Him to bring you a peace that lasts, instead of those other activities?
- Write out Isaiah 26:3 and keep it in a place where you can see it. Whenever you feel peace getting away from you – when feelings, emotions, or anxieties begin to get the best of you – recite that verse out loud and claim the perfect peace that only God can offer. Remember you are a servant of God, not your emotions!
Tiffany Parry is the Cultivate Communications Ministry Partner at Sandals Church and helps coordinate social media and the Cultivate blog. She’s a wife to Jason and mom to her one and only son, Dylan. While work, ministry and family keep her days full, Tiffany loves words, both reading and writing them, particularly those about authentic faith in the middle of the messiness of life. A day spent in pajamas with a Hallmark movie, dark chocolate, and her family close by is one of her very favorite things.