Welcome to Week 2 of our Cultivate Peace blog series! The heart behind this weekly 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 friends, 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.
If you missed last week’s post, take a minute to read how Melody Workman, our Cultivate Lead, cultivates peace through prayer. Whether you’re reading on your own or gathering to connect in community, we’re so glad you’re here and we want to hear from you! We invite you to share what you’re learning in the comments below or on Instagram and Facebook.
— 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:
- Is your thought life a battle? How does that effect your life and relationships?
- Are you tempted to numb your cares with temporary “peace?” What would it look like for you to pursue God instead?
- What are you anxious or worried about today? Take hold of that thought and turn it toward God. Are you willing to be real with Him? If not, why and what needs to change so that you can trust Him more?
- Write out Isaiah 26:3 and keep it in a place where you can see it. This week, commit to reading and re-reading it so that this promise of peace is sealed on your heart.
Tiffany Parry is the Cultivate Assistant at Sandals Church and helps support the administrative needs of the Cultivate team, as well as oversee social media and the blog. She’s a wife to Jason and mom to her one and only son, Dylan (14). While 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 good movie, dark chocolate, and her family close by is one of her very favorite things.