In life, we walk paths. We often think we choose our paths—sometimes we do—but we often have no say in the path our feet tread. There are side paths along the way that lead us this way and that, but there is an overarching path our life is taking. Recently I have been wrestling with God over this idea of the “Path of Peace” my life seems to be on. The life I have led has always been overshadowed by doubt, fear, anxiety, worry, and a thought process that goes a million miles per second and never shuts up—much like the popular device used by Virginia Woolf in her writing: stream of consciousness. I am constantly taking in every detail and thinking ahead and back and in one moment I’m fearful, the next I am questioning, the next I am laughing with my friends. I’m not sure if there’s ever been a waking moment in which I’ve had true rest from this barrage. This is not peace.
Perhaps you experience this as well. It is exhausting. More often than not, I yearn for a break from everything—the noise, the distractions, the disasters, the crises, the people, myself, but these are still things constantly surrounding my daily basis. The ins and outs of my life are ensconced between constant noise. I also have tinnitus. In my case, this means my ears are ringing and buzzing (sometimes at different frequencies) 24/7. So, even when everything else is silent, I’ve got a constant companion of noise. This is not peace.
With these distractions, with this noise, it often seems difficult to hear God, or even find Him. However, as a Christian, we are called into peace. The peace that surpasses isn’t a one time offer, or only for special occasions. The peace of God, through Christ Jesus, is a gift we have been given.
I am learning, through trial and error and a distracted, noise-filled world, to be with Jesus in the moment—in the present. I am learning what it means to be still although chaos ensues, although stress tempts, although anxiety tries to peel my peace away. There is a point in which we, as followers of Jesus Christ, must understand that His peace covers all trial and trouble and heartache and pain. His peace is constant and remains. We can still our souls in His presence at any moment of the day—as we should throughout the day. Because even in the noisy and the busy, when we come before Him, surrounded by happenings on all sides, and step into the peace He has given us, this is where we can hear Him speak ever more clearly than before.
When I imagine just being still with the Lord, I think of the times Jesus sat around a bonfire with His disciples—with the community—with the little children—and just sitting and soaking in the silence of the moment. There is a beautiful, overwhelming feeling of togetherness that comes from this picture, and, further, seeing Jesus sitting next to me, or walking with me. Sometimes He gets up to play with the children, or He laughs with His friends, or He merely smiles and we cannot help but smile back, because this is what peace looks like. Being. Just being with Christ.
This is not to say we cannot have peace while we go throughout our day, or while we converse, or while we're in meetings, or during emergencies. I believe we are called to "just be" with Christ in all moments of our life. Meaning, we lay down our defenses and our anxieties, and we are in tune with His love for us and His guidance and will throughout our every day and night. In conversations, in classes, in any situation, we can be present with others and be active in the world, while simultaneously just being with Christ. In Him, we find our peace.
Will you join me on this path of peace, hand in hand with our Savior and Friend?