This morning I woke up disturbed. Not by anything in particular; just uneasy. Not settled. I slept well the night before. There are no pressing crises. But my soul was like being seasick on a rolling ship.
Instead of going straight to God’s word, I went straight to the grocery store. We needed toilet paper. Badly. I’ll leave it at that. And breakfast food. Badly. I also got gas (um, I guess I was curious if I could get the needle to go completely below the big red “E”) and arrived home for the first teleconference of the day. And thus the work day started, without time with or for God.
The uneasiness grew, and with it the worry. Worry about my kids. Worry about bills. Worry about school work. Worry about the future. And worry about nothing.
Stopping mid morning, I have now taken time to study, to pray, to think. To be thankful. And with that, the worry has dissipated. Peace has started to settle. Maybe imperfect peace; yes, but peace nonetheless. Enough so to be able to go forth with the day and not hide away. Enough so to be able to push forward and not be beat backwards. To redeem this day.
Oh, it doesn’t always work like that, and it’s not a magic formula. In any sense of the word. There have been plenty of times I have prayed and written and studied and still been unsettled. But more times than not, the act of quiet reflection on God’s word and earnest prayer calms. I think it is because the above verse is truth.
Perfect Peace, or even Imperfect Peace: I don’t really know what that is. Rather, I don’t know how to describe it. For me, it’s a peace that comes when I am mostly certain that God is real. And that He is present. It’s a peace that comes when I know that I know that I know God’s word is truth. And if His word is truth, than His promises are truth. And many of those promises are meant for me. And for you. Not all of them–some must be held in the context of the time and the people group they were given to. But there are many universal promises that are truth for you and I. Isaiah 26:3, the verse above, is one such promise. He will keep in perfect peace the person whose mind is stayed on God.
I have a dear friend who is going to foster/adopt twin newborn baby girls. And I imagine the perfect peace of those sweet babies wrapped in the love of their new forever family. That is perfect peace.
But my mind does not stay on God. It wanders. It worries. It imagines the worst. I reach imperfect peace, but what about perfect peace? What if we lived our lives with our minds on Christ–as a discipline? What would happen? Just like the question “What would continually being aware of Christ and continually being in prayer actually look like?” Difficult? Yes, because we as humans are consumed with this world. Impossible? It must not be, or God would not have ordained Isaiah 26:3 to be written.
It is a matter of trust, something that I’m not great at. And honestly, sometimes I’m not great at trust just because of my stubborn sinful arrogance. I must wrestle my mind and my soul to TRUST and not DOUBT. To TRUST and not RUN. To TRUST and not stand on my own INDEPENDENCE.
I am much more peaceful now than I was this morning. My soul is more settled. It’s quiet, I’m listening to worship music while I work. My dog is curled up here on my lap, under the blanket that I’m wrapped in while I work on document organization and travel requests for work. My children are well. We have shelter. My vehicles are running. I had means to buy groceries this morning. And toilet paper. My God provides. And He provides perfect–and imperfect–peace for our souls as well.