When you are going through life’s challenges, how do others view you?
Over the years, many have commented that they thought I had it all together! “What?! Really? You don’t know me well then!” I’d say. “I wrestle with the same questions as you!”
“But you have this peace about you… like nothing bothers you.”
It is one attribute by which the Kingdom of Heaven is defined.
It is the thing Jesus gives, but not as the world gives. What He gives surpasses our understanding.
And it is the thing the world works oh-so-hard to create. So much so that, at the end of the age, a man will come onto the world scene claiming he’s accomplished this very thing: world peace. Beauty queens want it. UN officials labor toward it. But only one Man can give the real deal.
Jesus gives the peace you want.
First, believe in your heart that He is the Son of God who died on the cross, rose again, ascended to heaven, and is with Father God today. When you believe, you enter into a relationship with Jesus. However, the depth of this relationship is up to you. Some never befriend Him; some come only for handouts. But you, I imagine you’re the kind of person who says, “I want Him as my close friend!” And being friends with Jesus means being friends with the Prince of Peace.
Second, we must go to war with our thoughts. Did you know that what we think determines who we are? Worry, doubt, lust and self-centeredness are all thoughts. What thoughts consume you? Battle the bad ones! The trajectory and substance of our thoughts determine the proximity of God as we perceive it.
When we worry, our faith wanes and God is not big enough.
When we doubt God’s goodness toward us, we mope and think the world is out to get us.
When we lust, we hide in shame and think God is too disgusted with us if we try to return to Him.
When we’re consumed with selfishness, we feel empty and God becomes just a feel-good concept.
within and we
So what can we do?
When these thoughts fill us, we simply need new thoughts. This is called a shift in perspective. Journaling is one way I go to war and get a fresh perspective. The goal is to arrive at what Philippians 4:8 says, “If there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things” (NKJV).
When I journal, I confront the thoughts consuming me. I always write to the Lord because it reminds my soul of 3 things:
- I am in relationship with the Creator of the Universe,
- He is my source for all things, and
- He makes all things new.
When I’m processing with the Lord, I’ll write: Lord, it frustrates me that … I don’t understand why… Then, having exhausted myself, I ask, “Lord, how do You see this situation?”
With a clear heart, I wait to hear what He says. He is the source of all wisdom, understanding and peace. I want His thoughts—His perspective. As new thoughts come that seem like something God would say, I write them down. If a Scripture or an image comes to mind, I write those down, too.
And then, I wait some more, allowing what I received to sink in and recondition me. This is important. I want what the Lord has shared to become a part of me. If I sense any part of me is rejecting what He shared, I bring it before Him and repeat the process: Write it out, ask for understanding and wait for His response.
This may seem laborious, but it’s really not. It’s relationship building with the Prince of Peace.
So, here’s my challenge …
Book a Saturday in the next six weeks to get a new journal and go to a park, a Starbucks or your favorite living room chair—wherever it’s quiet—and go through this journaling exercise. Consider it a peace prayer:
- Write down what’s bothering you.
- Ask the Lord for wisdom: “Lord, how do You see this? I need Your wisdom.”
- Wait for His response.
- Write down what you hear, sense or see in your mind’s eye.
- Wait. Are you rejecting or questioning anything He shared?
- Tell Him.
When you do this, you are having a heart-to-heart conversation with the Prince of Peace. The promised fruit is a fresh perspective and an inexplicable peace that is “not as the world gives” (John 14:27, NKJV).