I crave peace. And when I say I crave it, I mean I really crave it. I desperately try to control everything in my life and make peace happen. I look for ways to pare down my commitments, check tasks off my to-do lists and wrangle my emotions. I scrape and chisel away at things until I feel just a little bit better, until I feel like I have enough control over my life that I can sit and breathe for a moment. And that's where I find peace.
At least that's what I always thought peace was.
Unfortunately, when these moments of rest come to a close, I sometimes find myself feeling as frantic as ever. My mind races and my emotions spiral out of control. I often think, "Wait … I thought I had this under control? I thought I finally found peace?"
Then, I cycle through many sessions of giving up on peace, suffering through the busyness and craziness of life, hoping that someday peace will just happen. I convince myself that as I continue to grow as a person and take on more responsibilities, rest and peace will suddenly appear in the middle of it all.
But it never happens like that, and it never will by my own accord.
No matter how much I try to obtain peace by controlling and organizing the busyness of my life (or by giving up and hoping for the best), I still feel distressed, tired and agitated. In these moments of realization, John 16:33 comes to mind:
I have told you this so that you will have peace by being united to me. The world will make you suffer. But be brave! I have defeated the world! (GNTD).
Jesus has met the world in battle and conquered it. In him I can find peace. I can't forget that. I also can't forget what sits in the middle of this verse:
The world will make you suffer.
There's no confusion here—it says, the world will make you suffer.
The things of life distress me. They trouble me. They press against me from all angles and they will continue to for as long as I live. I cannot dodge or defeat them by clearing an hour in my calendar or checking things off my to-do list. In order to receive peace, I need to ask Jesus for it. And I need to keep on seeking him for it, because life will never stop trying to make me sweat.
It's healthy and good to carve time out of your schedule to just rest. But don't forget to seek out Jesus—both in those times of rest and in the midst of busyness—for the powerful peace he can offer. Whether you're craving peace with your finances, in your broken family, for your overloaded workweek, for your marriage or for your parenting duties, you can turn to these prayers:
A prayer for times of busyness:
Dear God, I am overwhelmed. Be near to me and bring peace into my situation. Give me the strength to endure my busyness. Give me the mindset to know when to pause and let your peace flood my circumstances.
You, Lord, give perfect peace to those who keep their purpose firm and put their trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever; he will always protect us.– Isaiah 26:3-4 (GNTD)
A prayer for times of rest:
Dear God, I give this time of rest to you. Fill it with your peace. Remove the thoughts that crowd my mind and the emotions that stress my heart just for this moment, so that I may experience your peace.
"Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest." – Matthew 11:28-29 (GNTD)
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