My pastor said something a few months ago that really struck me…and has been stuck on repeat in my mind and heart ever since. He asked, “If peace can be taken away in a moment, was it really lasting peace?” The message was about finding peace in God.
We can find peace in a lot of things, can’t we? A fat bank account, a dependable job, a long-standing marriage or other relationship, our physical health…all of these things can provide us with peace of mind.
Unfortunately, they all share another similarity as well — they can all be lost in an instant. A surprise diagnosis alone could strip all of those things from your life, not to mention an employer’s bankruptcy, a bad car accident, a lawsuit, one bad decision, etc.
Since that sermon, I’ve reworded my pastor’s question into a constant reminder for myself. If your peace can be taken from you, it wasn’t true peace in the first place.
It’s been a long and difficult road to learn how to truly quiet my mind and heart before God, and to allow Him to worry about and rearrange all the moving pieces of my life. Here are the daily practices I’ve found crucial to truly finding peace in God.
Meditate on God’s Word
First, you’ll want to meditate on God’s Word. Have you ever noticed how many times David mentions in the Psalms that he’s meditating on God’s Word?
We often associate meditation with new age practices, but to mediate simply means to think deeply or carefully about something, to focus your mind on a specific thought for a period of time.
Years ago, God provided me with a verse from Ezekiel during my morning devotion. I was in the middle of the fight of my life and the verse brought me comfort as I stood my ground.
Every time I felt intimidated or discouraged, every time I wasn’t sure I had the strength to make it another day, that verse would come back to my heart. I’d repeat it over and over and over, yelling it over the doubts and worries running through my mind, triumphantly and defiantly declaring it as truth.
“For the word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12a, NIV). God’s Word is a weapon. And it’s one of the greatest weapons we have to bring peace to our thoughts and emotions.
Science even backs this up! Research has shown that the more you dwell on a certain thought, the deeper and wider the neural pathway to that thought becomes in your brain.
And the deeper the pathway, the more likely you are to come back to it again and again. There’s a very legitimate reason the Bible encourages us to meditate on God’s Word!
Worship in Defiance
Secondly, you need to worship. I consider worship another way of meditating on God’s truths. Because when we worship, we’re singing a message that states God’s truths and brings honor to God over and over, focusing our minds and hearts on the words.
But…I know what you’re thinking…it’s haaard to worship and sing praise to God when you’re drowning in a trial. How are you supposed to sing about how good and powerful God is when your circumstances are not good? Or when you’re desperate for a display of God’s power?
Friend, this is when you need to sing it the most! This is when you have to declare God’s truth loudly and defiantly over whatever it is that’s threatening to steal your peace.
It will not only encourage your heart and rewire your thoughts, it will attack the enemy! Worship invites God’s presence into wherever you are.
And where God is present, Satan must flee. So when you find yourself up in the middle of the night, worrying about your circumstances, choose to worship and focus your attention on the lyrics instead.
Join Forces with a Spiritual Mentor
Third, you’ll want to join arm in arm with a spiritual mentor. Because we weren’t created to do life alone.
Do you have someone you look up to as a spiritual role model you could call or text or meet for coffee? It may be your pastor or teacher, a volunteer at your church, your small group leader, or just a friend or family member who has known Jesus for a long time.
When I was drowning in my trial, I reached out to my small group leader. She listened to my concerns and questions and provided me with encouragement and wise counsel, and with loads of Scripture to back it all up. It reassured and empowered me.
This wonderful woman also told me she was proud of how I was handling myself, which meant so. much. at a time others were heavily criticizing me. Surround yourself with people who will lift you up. Speak honestly with them about what you’re facing and how you’re feeling about it all.
Choose Your Dwelling Place
And finally, you must choose your dwelling place. This is the hardest part. Finding peace in God requires that we very purposefully shift our thoughts away from what is worrying us.
I realized this one night as I lay awake in bed, worried about a break-in…or a car crashing into my daughter’s bedroom…or a house fire starting in the middle of the night. I was going through a period in my life where my daughter was my everything and I was deathly afraid of losing her.
But in the quiet of the night, a thought penetrated my heart. Do you believe God is who He says He is? After truly pondering it for a moment, I knew, yes.
Then, do you believe He is in control? Even over criminals and accidents and natural disasters? Again I thought, yes.
And then the observation that struck me to the core – your actions don’t line up with what you say you believe.
I realized if I truly believed that God was in control over everything and everyone else, I had to stop dwelling on my fears. If I didn’t, then I didn’t believe God was in control after all.
It’s so challenging to turn our minds away from negative, anxious, and tormenting thoughts. It’s nearly impossible to stop replaying what that person said or did to you over and over in your head.
But it is possible.
I’ve found the best way to dwell on God’s truths instead of dwelling on negative things is to redirect my focus to Scripture, worship, or chatting with a spiritual mentor. Sometimes it works right away. And sometimes I have to keep reading and singing throughout the day, every time those anxious thoughts pop back up.
It’s even more effective if you can find a Bible verse/song in direct contradiction to your worry or stressor. For example, if you felt attacked by another person and worried they might negatively affect your life or well-being, you might recite Psalm 27:1 (KJV) over your anxious thoughts. “The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?”
Finding Peace in God is Within Your Grasp
If your peace can be taken from you, it wasn’t true peace in the first place. The good news is that we’re capable of finding peace in God, which can never be taken from us. We find that peace through meditating on God’s Word, worshipping, joining forces with spiritual mentors, and consciously choosing where our thoughts dwell.
What have you found helps you to fully lean into the peace of God? Be sure to share in the comments!
P.S. Are you fighting for your life? Check out our latest devotional HERE to discover how to find peace in spite of your trial, and explore how we can reconcile our trials with our faith.
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