Following A Sense of Peace

I woke up in the middle of the night, and as I rolled over, I marveled over something unusual. For the past several years, it became common for me to jolt awake at some odd hour, and have adrenaline begin to course through me as I thought about the day before; or the day behind; or the never-ending list of tasks I needed to do.

But that night, I realized that I wasn’t feeling the adrenaline surge. Instead, I felt something much more pleasant…a sense of contentment, and a place of peace. Somehow, waking up in the middle of the night really became about simply rolling to a new position, and not about trying to steal unmarked time to fix all the undone things in my life.

As I’ve navigated through the last year, I’ve had many opportunities to choose peace in my heart, or complete and utter panic and worry. It’s not the sort of thing you choose once, and you’re all set and off the worry train. It’s a constant choice, again and again and again.

My mind woke up a bit more as I snuggled back into bed, and I began to feel the worries begin to nag at me. There are so many details that are open in our lives right now; so much opportunity to freak out…most people’s lives are like this, and I know we are no exception.

I felt like my mind was telling me, “Peace? Seriously? Look at all that is COMPLETELY NUTS right now! How can you have peace? That’s lazy, and a cop-out, and unless you spend tonight worrying about it, you won’t figure it out! Maybe you were woken up so you could FIGURE IT OUT!”

And the quieter voice said, “No…no….it’s time to sleep. Peace. God has this under control. I can trust God. He’s going to give me what I need during my waking hours. The night time is for sleeping and rest. I will rest.”

It’s a constant struggle to listen to the quieter voice. But after a year of watching some of my worst-case life scenarios play out, I can say…worry did NOTHING to help me navigate it. It was God’s still, calm voice that provided EVERY SINGLE STEP we were supposed to take. And I needed plenty of rest to complete each of those steps.

I’m learning to walk according to a feeling in my heart that aligns with that sense of God’s peace, and to pursue things that make that sense of peace grow stronger. As I work to find a job here in Nashville, when I read the job descriptions, I ask…does the idea of doing this job give me peace? Or does it make me freak out with anxiety, even though I’m fully qualified to do it? I’m applying to the places that seem to offer peace to my soul. The over-achiever in me would apply to the position with the most responsibility, or the most pay. Places of power and high positions don’t motivate me. It’s places of peace that I crave.

As I was thinking about this new and steady singing in my heart, I found myself reading Psalm 28, and was struck by versus 6-8:

Praise be to the LORD, for he has heard my cry for mercy. The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. 

Here’s what I noticed:

God has heard me, and He hears my cries for mercy. My prayers are not in vain. He knows exactly what is going on, and is fully capable of solving our problems in a moment’s time. If we’re still stuck in the problem, He knows it, and is using it to lead us where He wants us to be, in our mind, body and spirit.

God is my strength and my shield. It’s not my great ideas or workaholic tendencies that will save me. It’s God himself. He provides the ideas; He provides the strength; He provides the protection…which is good, because He is so much better at it than I am!

My heart trusts in him. It’s a choice whether to trust God, or not. When my heart trusts in God, often my mind is saying, “Are you crazy? This makes no sense! You need to fix what’s broken! That’s irresponsible! You can do better than that!” But my heart is saying, “Trust. God is faithful. Rest in Him. Simply take the next step He shows you.”

When I decide to trust him…HE HELPS ME! So, the prayers and cries for mercy are answered with HIS HELP…it’s a cycle: Trust leads to help, which leads to trust, which leads to help, which leads to deeper trust…I play an active role in the growth of my faith, or the withering of it.

When we experience God’s divine intervention in our lives, and the help arrives; or when we are still praying and waiting and have so many unanswered questions, but still choose to have peace…our hearts leap for joy! I’ve felt my heart leap for joy in the past, when my babies were born, or when I walked down the aisle towards Rich, the day we married. But to feel your heart leap for joy, in the middle of the night, when you roll over in bed? When your heart is full of a sense of effervescent wonder at Him, and His love, and how He has carried you, against all odds? That He has done the impossible, and will continue to do the impossible? And the humble realization that there is no end to His help and protection and peace? When your heart KNOWS that in a new way, and you catch yourself LIVING that truth on a subconscious level, in the middle of the night, there is only one response:

With my song I praise Him.
I can’t sing well, but I can write. So this post, my friends, is my song of praise, offered to all of you!

May God’s peace be with you!

John 14:27  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.