For the past several years I have selected a word for the year. In the past, I have had words like TRUST, INSPIRE, and FAITH. This year the word I selected was PEACE. In my journal on January 9th, I wrote the following:
“Submit to God, and you will have peace; then things will go well for you. Listen to his instructions, and store them in your heart. If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored— so clean up your life.”
Job 22:21-23 NLT
This verse stood out as it tied to my verse for the year – PEACE. I struggle with wanting to know why and how come, but in reality, God calls us to submit to Him, listen to His instructions and store them in my heart and then I will have peace.
The past five years have been filled with turmoil, trials and continual challenges. Just when I have thought that I have come through the storm, another event hits me and I have struggled with finding peace in my surroundings. I have often wanted more than I have instead of learning to rest in the peace provided by God. That is why this is my word for this year.
In my small group this morning, I shared my word for the year. One guy was surprised as he felt that I demonstrated a lot of peace. I said externally yes, but internally there is always a war going on. It is like a duck – sitting calmly on the water, but you don’t see the feet going crazy keeping everything afloat. A good analogy.
When I selected this word, I was coming off a season of changes at work and I was striving to find contentment with my work situation and thought PEACE was a good word to focus on. Little did I know how much I would learn about PEACE in the following months. While I thought PEACE was a lot about an outcome and an absence or turmoil, I have learned that PEACE is so much more. During the past six months, I have learned the following:
PEACE is about giving up control. I used to think that I would have peace when I was in control of my future. Having a good job, a good salary and money in the bank were all things that I thought I needed to find peace. But I have found that being in job transition, having no income and living off of savings has been more peaceful than when I was employed with a steady income.
PEACE is about living in turmoil and conflict and not letting it impact you. Peace does not mean you will not have problems or conflict, but rather that because of the peace you have you are able to deal with the challenges that come at you.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. —James 1:2–3
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” —John 16:33 esv
PEACE is about letting go of worry. I did not realize how much worry impacted my life. I worried about what people thought of me, whether I was doing a good job or if I was working hard enough. Worry filled my life and caused me to lose peace.
“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:4-8 NLT
PEACE is about trusting God. I have learned that trusting God is so peace giving. Today I have no idea what I will be doing tomorrow or where my next paycheck will come from, but I trust God and know that He will provide. It is amazing how much peace that gives you.
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”
John 14:27 NLT
My prayer for you is that you too will learn that peace is not the absence of problems but rather that peace is when you put your trust and hope in God and His plans for your life.