“(Peace) does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” (Unknown)
I knew that 2015 had been a year filled with lots of changes for our family but I didn’t realize just how much God was changing me. I’ve been very honest about how I used to live a life filled with fear and how God has slowly been working on me in that area. I would cringe when I had to drive anytime from October through February because “what if there was a snowstorm?” The year I was pregnant with our daughter I refused to go away alone with Bill during the month of December because I was certain we would get into an accident and leave our oldest an orphan as a Christmas present. Even though my husband knew my fears were irrational, he chose a place for us to get away locally so I could still relax and enjoy time with him without stressing about the distance (or weather).
I talk about the above incidents (which seemed normal and perfectly sane to me at the time) not because I’m proud of them. In fact, I cringe mentioning them because they demonstrate just how firmly fear had a grip on me.
I didn’t realize how far God had brought me through fear into a life of peace until this week. Bill and I were talking about booking tickets to see a concert in October, about 1 ½ hours away. Now, I would be lying if I didn’t admit that my first (fleeting) thought was, “October? There could be a snowstorm,” but it was quickly replaced with, “If it’s not on a school/work night, what a great date night seeing Bill’s favorite group, Sidewalk Prophets.” That’s when it hit me. I may still not like to drive in the snow, but the fear isn’t there suffocating me like it used to.
If God can (and He did) get our family through difficult challenges, and if I truly believe God knows the numbers of our days ahead of time (and He does), then I don’t have to fear the weather, out-of-control drivers, disease, accidents, or…anything. That’s what living in peace can do for someone. That’s what regularly choosing God’s peace can do for someone who used to be gripped in fear.
Like most other character traits, it’s not a one-time only choice. I still have to actively choose it, some days more than others. I find the more I walk in His peace, the sooner His peace envelops me. Then, the next time I face a difficult situation, sometimes peace comes immediately and fear isn’t invited for even a minute. The fact is, God loves us so much He wants us to continually choose Him on a daily basis. I’m glad He made me so that I constantly need to be filled.
While I may never fully enjoy wintertime or other areas of life that used to leave me panicked, it feels good to have crossed over from the irrational, paralyzing fear to living a life filled with peace – God’s peace. I want to invite you, friends, to press in and experience God’s peace. There’s nothing like it and once you’ve tasted it, you won’t want to go back. I sure don’t.
© Cheri Swalwell 2015