An old friend sat at my kitchen table. Circumstances had separated us for the majority of our adult lives.
She said, “I need to make a list of questions for you. Like this. I know with my head. I’ve been told for years if I have Jesus, I should be able to have peace. But I need to know how to really experience it.” She went on, “I pray and see God answering certain things, but I want to really feel peace.”
Her question got me thinking…
I’ve always been a fairly even-tempered person and what I would consider peaceful, for the most part. When people visit my home, they commonly say it is peaceful and cozy. I tend to run from drama—not that I’ve never had dramatic, anxiety-filled moments. Of course I have!
Sometimes those moments chase us down and take us captive, don’t they?
The verse that came to mind was…
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:6-7
- Be anxious for NO-thing or NO circumstance.
- By prayer and supplication (petition or definite requests) present your requests to God
- Give thanks
- the peace of God:
-a special peace
-the peace of knowing Jesus and your identity in Him
-a peace that transcends human understanding or thinking
THAT peace will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
THAT’s the peace I want to be overwhelmed by. I want peace that transcends my understanding, the peace Jesus left with His disciples (John 14:27) and promised to us who believe Him for our salvation.
How do we get there? Here’s some food for thought.
Expect less: I’ve noticed some of my most frustrating, anxious moments have been when my circumstances didn’t turn out the way I wanted them, or someone didn’t do what I wanted. When my expectations weren’t met, I was irritated.
Peace and frustration simply can’t live together. Not only that, placing such high expectations on people only drives them away. Most people aren’t drawn to perfectionist people. They feel doomed to failure before they get started. Why would anyone subject themselves to this, constantly being afraid of letting that person down.
Letting go of our high expectations and need to be perfect (and for everyone else to be), helps reduce the stress and anxiety in our own lives.
Take it to God: What’s bothering you? Any time anxiety creeps in, go straight to God with it. Tell Him about it. Tell Him you trust Him with it. Give it to Him. Leave it there. Choose not to continually pick it back up.
Be specific when you pray: Then when God answers specifically it will grow your faith.
Give thanks: This is one of the keys to contentment. Don’t worry about the future. Be thankful for today. If we can’t be thankful for what we have, why should God give us more… to be ungrateful for?
Speak His name: When I don’t know what or how to pray, I simply speak Jesus’ name. Repeating the name of Jesus with belief is powerful. “There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) At the name of Jesus chains are broken, demons flee, and peace overwhelms. There’s no other name above the name of Jesus! He IS peace, Prince of Peace.
Filter your thoughts: Instead of dwelling on things that cause anxiety, choose to think differently. Be purposeful in your thinking.
“…whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate (think) on these things.” ~Philippians 4:8
Rejoice: Praise, praise, praise and overflow with joy for the grace, mercy and love God has for you. Think on how nothing you’ve ever done could be so bad that God couldn’t love or forgive you. Get your mind wrapped around that!
“Rejoice in the Lord always, again I will say, rejoice.” (vs. 4)
HE loves us with relentless, everlasting love that doesn’t depend on our goodness or faithfulness. It depends on HIS. When we focus on that truth, it’s tough to stay anxious over anything.