John 16v33 ‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’
Last week we looked at extending the hope that we have to others. Now, as we focus on peace, I want us to look primarily at ourselves and our relationship with Jesus. One of the titles that Jesus has, is ‘The Prince of Peace’. As we reflect during this advent period, do we know peace in our own life? I know personally, that this year has been a hard one for knowing peace. I have struggled with feeling comfortable and content with where I am in my life. This year has been overshadowed by fear, anxiety and doubt. Peace is something I have struggled with. However, as much as the feelings I have had throughout this year are negative, they have led me much closer to God. While I am not perfect, God does speak his peace. Here are some things I have learned this year about peace, how even in my doubt the peace of Jesus is still present in my life.
- In trust you find peace. One thing I have learned this year is that if God has got me through one thing, that he will get me through the next. Speaking that truth over my life does not instantly wash away the worry and anxious thoughts I have but it does give me hope. I always have to remind myself of Deuteronomy 31v6 ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.’ These words were spoke in the midst of a change of leadership from Moses to Joshua, who was going to lead the Israelites across to conquer the land God had promised them. If these words can be a promise then, then whatever I am facing these words can be my truth and peace too.
- Peace can be found even in hardship. There have been many examples this year where I have had to do things or talk to people which should have filled me with fear and dread. In those moments I have felt this overwhelming calmness, which enabled me to deal with those moments with more grace and understanding. I have also seen the opposite where I have tried to deal with moments in my own strength, it has been a massive failure. A few words spoken with faith, even in your head allows God to work within that situation.
- Peace can be found in the people around you. Honestly, some of my favourite days are coming home from work and having a laugh with my sister. It gives perspective, that even if the day was horrible that it does not define me. God has placed round me a family and friends who love me. That speaks peace, that I am loved.
- Peace is found in the things that I love. Whether it be music, reading, coffee, shopping (unless it is a Saturday) they all give me a sense of release and relief. I see them as blessings, that I do get to enjoy. They are not my primary source of peace, but they do give me peace.
- Peace comes through letting go! I am someone who can hold onto the past with a steel grip. I have been learning this year, that it is not healthy nor is it wise to do that. The past is not your captor, I have prayed so much this year to be released from everything that has been holding me back. It has taken literally a year but I feel so many burdens have come off now, that I am ready to continue walking forwards.
These are some of the lessons that I have learned this year by focusing on the question of, do I know peace in my life? In one form or another, we all know a sense of peace in our life. I do pray that if you are struggling, if you feel like everything is coming down on you, that you would reach out to someone. For some of us, we may not have connected with Jesus for a long time. I pray that you would take that time to reconnect and to allow Jesus to be the Prince of Peace in your life. Please never feel like stress, fear, anxiety, etc have to be your masters. It is something I battle with on a daily basis so I am in the same boat as you. However, I also know that there is hope and life beyond those feelings. Have faith and trust, allow peace to weave into your life. As we continue through this week, focus on knowing peace. Even in the small things. You are so loved and so cherished. Allow peace to calm your anxious heart.
I love you all. May God continuously bless your life. Enjoy some festive treats, you deserve them. Until next week, Victoria. xx
Isaiah 9v7 ‘Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.’