Did you know that God longs to guard your heart and your mind with His peace? How much do you let Him do that in your own life?
Having Doesn’t Equal Feeling
Many people have peace with God. If you’re a little iffy on that one, check out Got Peace? Having peace with God doesn’t mean they experience peace physically and emotionally.
I think of it like my grandmother who had been through the Great Depression. She had everything she needed to eat- years worth of green beans she’d canned herself, stockpiles of meat she’d gotten on discount and tucked away in one of her three deep freezers, stacks of canned goods from the store lining the walls of her basement, and piles of potatoes and oranges still in grocery bags making aisles in her kitchen. Not to mention, there was a fully-stocked grocery store just across town.
Somehow those pre-school years of being responsible for picking the dandelions her family would eat for dinner had worn on her. She had all she needed, yet I don’t think she fully felt she did. Something seemed to nag at her to tuck just a little more away.
Many of us have accepted the gracious gift of peace with God. We have His promise of peace that surpasses all understanding. Yet, what we feel, much like my grandmother, just doesn’t line up with reality. We don’t experience all God has for us.
Why Do Your Hearts and Minds Need to Be Guarded By Peace?
Anxiety: If you’ve ever lain awake with your mind racing as you agonize over how to draw the line on your big decision or what you can possibly do to help your child with that critical problem, then this isn’t hard to grasp.
God longs to carry these burdens for you.
Shame and Guilt: Shame and guilt can bear down on a soul out of nowhere and can drag on for a lifetime. I think of a friend I grew up with that got into an accident intoxicated killing a small child. Or another woman that was high and rolled over onto her infant and woke up to a life of agonizing guilt. I pray they can find peace when these moments lay their souls flat.
God longs to take away your guilt and shame- completely and permanently.
Unforgiveness: A small seed of bitterness can grow up like kudzu (a vigorous vine that grows a foot/day; 60 ft annually and chokes and topples trees and all other vegetation) and choke out everything else growing in your life (not to mention being devastating in the lives of those around you). Hebrews 12:15 says “ See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”
God longs to give you everything you need to forgive.
Regret: This one can be just as crippling. That opportunity you just didn’t take, the classes you missed out on, the job you could have had, the vacation that could have maybe saved your marriage, the unasked question that might have helped at that doctor’s appointment that changed your life forever.
God longs to help you learn from the past and make beauty out of your now.
I’m fascinated by the science of what peace and it’s archenemy do to the soul. I find it so interesting to read articles discussing how people who furrow their brow a lot are statistically far less happy and fulfilled than those who don’t and how therapists are trying Botox as a therapy to help these people stress less by numbing their brow. (I consciously try to furrow less now, as I am quite a furrower).
Or those studies done on smiling and it’s affect on physiology and psychology of a person. For example, two groups watched a funny show. One group held a pencil in their teeth throughout (smiling position), while another held it in their lips (slightly frowning position), only to find that the group that was locked in a smiling position found the show significantly more funny than the other group did.
There is just something about the demeanor of our soul that affects our perspective, our psychology, our physiology, and our health. For example:
- Stress is the cause of 60% of all human illness and disease
- 3 out of 4 doctor’s visits are for stress-related ailments
- Stress increases the risk of heart disease by 40% and stroke by 50%
- Stress-related ailments cost the nation $300 billion per year in medical bills and lost productivity.
Now, peace is not the opposite of stress, but it sure does have a way of calming and destressing us.
How Can You Experience More Peace?
If you have peace with God to start with, then He commands you and me to do this so He can guard our hearts and minds with His unfathomable peace:
4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4-9)
Rejoicing in God- knowing Him and standing in awe of Him and reveling in that has a way of soothing the soul. So much that when you hear the words “The Lord is near,” all goes quiet inside with peace.
2. Pray, Petition, and Thank God INSTEAD of Being Anxious:
When I start to feel anxious (and believe me, I’m an anxious person by default in a long line of anxious souls in my family history), I use it like a red flag to signal that it’s time to pray- to pray AGAIN- and to THANK God.
3. Think About What is True, Noble, Right, Pure, Lovely, Admirable, Excellent, and Praiseworthy:
When I think about the incredible injustice in the world and all the evil being done to children in my own city, it can eat me up from the inside out and bring me down pretty low. However, when I think about those fighting for justice, those freeing the captives, and each story I hear of God working, peace can guard me so I can be ready when I have the chance to help make a difference.
What is God’s Promise?
When we follow those guidelines, do you see what He gives?
His Peace and His Presence
His Peace, which transcends all understanding guards our hearts and minds (verse 7) and “the God of peace will be with you” (verse 9).
Cultivating the Knowledge of God daily goes a long way to helping us experience the peace that God longs to guard us with. 2 Peter 1:2 says
Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
If you’d like to read more about knowing God, check out these:
- Got Peace?
- Cultivating Awe
- How to Walk in: Coming Before the Throne of God
- How My Kids Can Know God for Themselves
If This Encouraged You
Please share how in the comments and share it in social media.
I’m not at all trying to say that there aren’t other elements to things like anxiety and depression. Many I love struggle with these chemically and do benefit from medications and hormone replacements and other doctor-led means of addressing these serious issues. Knowing God and following His guidelines for experiencing peace is one facet of help for these loved ones, but it doesn’t negate the other :).