Peace I Leave, Peace I Give - Part 3
Welcome to The 9 Now! If you are just joining, we are on a weekly series revealing a view into the 9 Fruits of the Spirit. During this series, I will share a Word of Encouragement on how the intentional decisions we choose to respond with, impact ourselves and others. Our decision to live in the Flesh or walk by the Spirit, is a choice we must all make daily. I invite you to post a comment, quote, or scripture that would encourage others, from what you have learned or wish to share. Thank you and may you encourage someone today, and may someone encourage you!
This is the third and final fruit under the label God Provides of The 9 NOW series. We have already seen the provision of God through Love and Joy. Today we will see the provision of PEACE. As I prepared for this post, I asked God how best to demonstrate the topic of PEACE to my readers. His response: Trust and Relationship, which I am finding to be one in the same. For many PEACE is associated with your Physical Health, Emotional Health, or Financial Health, but I believe PEACE truly comes from our Spiritual Health (or Holiness).
For nearly six years now I have found myself struggling with anxiety. My need for control got the best of me in January of 2010 which resulted in a full on panic attack and overnight visit in the hospital. Since that moment, I have continually sought for answers on how to overcome anxiety and find PEACE. I would like to tell you I am a good student and easy learner, but that has not the case most of the time. During these past six years I often found that I occasionally fall back to trusting myself, desiring control, and am miserably disappointed when things do not work out or change. However, God has been right there with me my entire life (and you, yours) and throughout this season, He revealed many things which opened my eyes, mind, and heart.
IT ALL BEGAN ABOUT A MONTH AGO…
As I mentioned above my desire for control is at the crux of my anxiety. Simply put, when I do not have control, I worry. When I worry, I have anxiety. And you guessed it, I never have control, so for those of you quick on the math, that’s a lot of worry. What I wish to demonstrate to you today, is there is hope in those who put their Trust in Jesus.
About a month ago I was planning for a very busy remainder of the year. Namely hunting season was coming up and this is a time of true peace for me. Snow is often falling, the sun shines on my face, I relax in my chair alone to my thoughts in the wilderness of the great state of Iowa. I have the most amazing time and conversations with my dear friends, the Diersens, and all that togetherness brings me a sense of PEACE. Now for some of you, you may wonder how I could relate the topic of Peace to hunting, especially in central Iowa sitting in 20-degree snowy weather. For you, the topic of PEACE takes you to a warm destination where you can listen to the waves of the ocean pass by. I get it. Stay with me and maybe I can give you a view into a different form of PEACE.
So there I was planning my month. First, I purchased a flight to Denver to see my sister, which I was very excited for. Second, we had an upcoming annual elder retreat which I equally treasure and look forward to each year, we had just locked in the first weekend of December, which gave me the green light to plan my hunting trip. I purchased my hunting license and requested shotgun, second season. Another date locked in. Things were good. It was all under control. Work also seemed to be going according to plan, I had backups for my time away and the projects we were focused on where moving forward as expected. I had several other things coming together nicely as well. Life was good, you might even say I was at PEACE. But, how would I respond, from the Flesh or Spirit, if things were to change.
Within a few days my good friend and pastor informed me the elder retreat had changed and was now on the same weekend of my hunting trip, the kickoff weekend. More so, we would not wrap up until 1 pm, leaving me about 3 hours on the first weekend of second season of hunting. Tension grew, worry sat in, but I was determined to trust God, so I responded from the Spirit and prayed for PEACE. Within the week at work, we discovered a significant issue with one of our deployments that would require my team to lead some much needed discovery work and discussions, those would need to also take place on the Monday of my hunting season. “Rise up flesh, Rise” is what I was hearing inside. But I was determined to trust God, so I responded from the Spirit and prayed for PEACE. So I delayed hunting these days and attended the meetings to help drive the work forward. At a time that seemed to be completely against me and how I expected things to turn out, God arrived.
A RELATIONAL GOD…
The relationship that God formed with me the previous six years gave me the trust I needed to respond as He calls us to in Galatians 5:22-24. I could have, and have in the past, asked our pastor to move the date, told work I could not deal with this as I was on vacation, and allowed myself to be frustrated, bitter, angry, and a myriad of other fleshy responses, but I prayed and my friend Jesus gave me the opportunity to experience an amazing time of worship, prayer, and fellowship with three godly men at our elder retreat. He allowed me to experience an amazing beautiful snowfall as we woke to conversation next to a fireplace and cup of coffee (and tea). He allowed me to watch a team of talented, hard-working employees solve difficult problems and respect one another doing it. He then allowed me to rest and that is what I did yesterday afternoon. There I was leaning back in my chair with the sun warming my face, a cool breeze releasing any remaining stresses I have been holding onto, sounds of squirrels and birds playing in the background remind me of the inner child I am. At that moment, I realized that God has been preparing this trip for me all along. There I sat imagining the excitement My Lord and Savior must be experiencing as His beloved child receives this gift of PEACE. He knew the moment, that exact moment when He answered my longing question of “God, how can I get PEACE.” At that moment I received my answer. Rest in Me.
I close with this prayer I had with God during this same month. My hope and prayer is that it will encourage you and you in turn will find PEACE as you trust Him:
ME: “Jesus, we have been talking for some time now and my struggle with anxiety still has a hold on me. I know it stems from control. Honestly, I hate it and I am not feeling the Peace that Your Word speaks to.”
Jesus: “Give it to me.”
ME: “I know God, I try, but I tend to keep a little held back, I guess I am still trying to control my situation so I feel more secure, what can I do?”
Jesus: “Give it to me, give it ALL to me.”
ME: “Jesus, if I give everything to you, I will have no control. If I give you everything, what will that leave me?”
Once again, please share a comment, quote, or scripture that may help others to be encouraged today. I pray this was for you!
The next fruit we will be Patience, stay tuned.
Until next time…
Chris Hewitt, the WOE Writer