Instant Peace

How stopping my pursuit of peace helped me find it

We can get almost everything we want in an instant.

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If you want to listen to your favorite band it takes a few minutes to find everything they have ever recorded. If you want to learn how to play guitar you can watch countless tutorials on YouTube.

I wish we could all experience instantaneous peace from stress and anxiety. I wished for that for so long. I spent many nights staring at the ceiling hoping I would wake up in the morning and stare at the same ceiling and everything would be different. That did far more to prevent me from being at peace than it did to help me.

I desired to be in a place like the final scene in The Shawshank Redemption. I imagined a perfect beach with a blue sea and most of all freedom. It didn’t happen. I’m glad it didn’t happen now. I remember praying for it to happen but it never did. What did happen was a slow realization of God’s peace. It wasn’t a quick fix. It takes time to think different. It takes time to not freak out when something bad happens. Once I stopped looking for instant peace I found it.

I have struggled with anxiety for a long time. It is always something which I constantly felt but rarely talked about. I always thought it was me. I realized one day God was bigger than my anxiety. It wasn’t the fact I had not heard this before. It wasn’t the fact people had not told me this before. People would always tell me I needed to stop worry about the things I was worrying about. I knew this but couldn’t help it. Once I stopped seeing my problems as things I could have avoided things slowly became better and my problems became smaller.

I realized God loved me through these trials. He wanted me in these trials. He also cared about me and that is why my life isn’t perfect. When someone loves you they don’t coddle you and tell you everything you do is right when you are wrong. When someone loves you they speak truth to you. They tell you when you are doing something wrong. The only way to grow is to learn through mistakes and learn through trials. I had been searching for perfection in my own life thinking it would result in peace. Once I stopped trying to be perfect peace found me.

The humidity has almost faded for the year in Nashville. I want the warm weather. I want everyday to be on a Caribbean beach but I know sometimes there are storms and sometimes it is dry and cold. Seasons come and go and there is nothing we can do to slow it down or speed it up. When it’s cold and when I’m struggling with anxiety I remember God’s grace and the life God has called me to live. When it’s warm and when I feel good I remember the same things. I have as much of a chance of being perfect as I do of controlling the weather.

Stop trying to find a quick fix. Stop trying to be perfect. When you do peace will find you.