My husband and I had just returned home from a hectic shopping trip. As Erik pulled into the driveway, switching off the engine, we were suddenly surrounded by the silence of the night. We sat in the darkness, reluctant to give up the first quiet moment we'd experienced that entire day. I sighed, tired from the day's activities and the thoughts of the responsibilities tomorrow already held.
A question formed on my lips, but I hesitated to speak it aloud. It was a question that had been increasingly occupying my mind, but it didn't seem like one a "good" Christian should ask.
"Where's the peace?" I finally whispered. Erik glanced quizzically in my direction. "I mean, is this all there is to the Christian life?" I continued. "Doesn't the Bible promise something about 'peace that transcends all understanding?'" Erik didn't reply.
This question continued to haunt me long after that evening. Worn down by each day's responsibilities and worries, I longed to be enveloped in the "peace of God"that deep serenity of soul where calm and joy grow. But I had to admit, in the many years I'd been a Christian, I couldn't say that peace had characterized my life. Was this "peace" the Bible spoke of just some cold, distant theological doctrine, or something I could actually experience now?
Several days later, I read Philippians 4:4-7. I was surprised to notice for the first time that this passage that speaks of the "peace of God" also states clearly how to obtain it: "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (italics added).
While I was familiar with these concepts, I had to be honestI wasn't actually practicing them. Did I really rejoice in the Lord always? Was my life characterized by gentleness? What about being anxious? Wasn't I the one who lay awake at night worrying about how I was going to get everything done the next day? Was it really possible for a person to live as the Scripture described? Since my heart longed for peace, I decided to test this "recipe" to see what would happen.
During the next few weeks, I was amazed at the impact those verses had on my life. As I tried to obey the commands of Philippians 4, I experienced a calm that transformed my perspective and gave me new vitality. To help remember these steps to peace, I created the acronym TLC.
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For Further StudyDownloadable resources to go deeper
- Carolyn Custis James: What It Means to Be a Woman in MinistryeBook Format Available! Author and speaker Carolyn Custis James offers leadership insights for women.