Peace. One of the benefits available to every Christian. Most people in this world do not have, nor do they understand this type of inner assurance; yet, it has been promised to believers. Peace is a state of mental restfulness brought about by the knowledge that all is under control in spite of what the evidence shows. It is ours for the taking. But, it is conditional. That means that you have to do something to get it, and continue doing something to keep it.
- Condition one. Know who God is. Know who you are.
It is important to know what you really believe. Why were you born? What is your purpose here? What happens to you after death? Do you know without a doubt that you are a cherished child of God? Are you certain that all your sins have been forgiven and have been erased forever? Do you believe that God resides within you to comfort and guide you? Do you believe that God is always watching and protecting you? The right answers are vital.
- Condition two. Deal with the emotional damage that was caused by your past.
If you’ve ever been injured severely or undergone surgery, you know it’s impossible to function at full capacity until your wounds are completely healed. Open wounds are painful and interfere with your ability to function effectively. If they aren’t completely healed they will hurt when touched. They may open up again and bleed, making you more susceptible to infection.
The same is true of emotional wounds. If you have sensitive spots that cause you an emotional jerk-reaction when someone says or does something, you have not healed yet. Pain is a symptom that warns you of a problem. Unhealed emotions will affect your attitude and behavior in negative ways and will hinder every area of your life. To be free from past memories, free from anxiety, fear, worry and guilt; you must identify the problem area, stop the bleeding and tend to the wound.
- Condition three. Let go of the illusion of control.
Understand that very little in this life is really under your control. Except for one thing–the way you react to your circumstances. Stop thinking that making outside adjustments will correct your inside problems. Painful memories can’t be covered up by manipulating your environment. There is nothing you can buy; there is no place you can move; no new friend you can make and no plastic surgery or make-over you can get, that will bring you the peace you are seeking. These are all temporary bandages that cover up the real problem inside.
To have peace you must come to a point where you understand that there are some things that you can change and some that you can’t. When that day of revelation hits you, you will stop trying to think of ways to solve a problem that only God can solve. Then, even in the midst of chaos, your mind and your body can finally rest.
Letting go of the illusion of control is something we have all struggled with because society applauds the self-reliant man. Reinihold Niebuhr must have come to a point where he finally admitted that his life was unmanageable and decided to surrender his will to God when he wrote his Serenity Prayer. Read each line slowly and think about what it says.
“God grant me the serentity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to your will; so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with you in the next.”
Peace. Elusive but attainable…for those who put in the effort to get it.