Depression & Anxiety

Peace

“They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious.
‘Peace, peace,’ they say, when there is no peace.” Jeremiah 6:14

Can anything feel more elusive than peace? You know, the kind of calm-to-the-core, happily restful feeling you get when life is good?

I remember the Summer of ’09, when I left behind an extremely stressful set of circumstances to spend three weeks visiting best friends from coast to coast. We sat in the sun, sipped iced coffees, read and journaled, took long walks, attended concerts, picnicked in the park, talked late, and laughed hard. Both my body and soul slowed and healed and found a calm I hadn’t known for years.

But if you’re anything like me, experiencing true peace can seem as rare as a lunar eclipse. Our “emotional normal” hovers somewhere between mild anxiety and a steady dose of stress.

My prayer in recent years has been, “Lord, teach me how to live in peace and calm, to keep a quiet heart, no matter my circumstances.”

FAUX PEACE

The world is a wonderland of faux peace. Addictions and diversions of every kind serve as placebos that keep us from facing the painful realities of our hearts. From food to financial security, from sex to social media, there’s a “go-to” for everyone who is troubled in spirit.

But no matter how we medicate, deep down we know we haven’t found real relief from our madness. We still have a hundred reasons to lie awake at night and worry.

How can I find calm when everything around me is chaotic?

Even if we could distract ourselves silly–even if we could keep ourselves so busy that there’s no room for a stray accusatory thought–our soul would not be silenced.

These fears. This anxiety. Our misgivings and that nagging thought of “Why do I matter?” They will not be cured by the world’s prescriptions of “peace,” which act like a Band-Aid on a gangrene leg.

But into our bloodied madness He came.

TRUE PEACE

The One who dreamed us up and wrote us into His story–He knew our weakness. He knew that we would act strong and self-sufficient but be riddled with fear and frailty.

He saw us at our worst, and while we were still pretending we didn’t need Him (like He didn’t exist), He stepped in and became our Prince of Peace.

He reached into our hemorrhaging hearts and loved us. He offered Himself as the answer to our angst. He knew we would not have peace until we had Him.

Saint Augustine said, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

And the Apostle Paul said, “He himself is our peace.”

A million voices could offer us a million solutions, but only One Voice speaks true words of life, words we’re dying to hear:

“I made you, I love you, I died to forgive you, I have great works for you to do, and I will be with you forever.”

This is true peace: to know Him who knows me completely and loves me perfectly.

Like a fisherman smells of fish all his livelong days, I will smell of anxiety and fear while I work on this side of the sea. My flesh and my heart will often fail, but Peace is mine—He lives in me and is with me. And the more I abide in His reality, the less pungent my fears. I cannot change this sea, but the company I keep is changing me.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” John 14:27