Every one of us has, or is, or will face a challenge so great, we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to maintain our “sanity” riding out the storm.
Whether it is a financial situation, a relationship, health or some other sudden or growing crisis, our peace hangs in the balance. Truly, our relationship with Christ will be challenged in every way. We’ll discover who we truly trust (ourselves, the doctors, the CPA, friends, or He Who Redeems.)
Wrestling with more images, words, voices and negative thoughts than we can ‘shake-a-stick’ at keeps us either overwhelmed or empowered to act. By empowered, I mean, constantly noticing that we have a choice to which voice or thought we will cling to.
Knowing up front that trials will come, you’d think that more of us would be prepared to fight those mental battles when they come. Yet, most of us, on a daily basis CHOOSE to watch negative images, listen to negative people and think negative thoughts that are completely contrary to what the Lord promises is ours.
Why would we expect victory easily when we have laid our weapons down? ( positive thoughts and a heart filled with thanksgiving and praise.) Casting down vain imaginations is WORK! We must be diligent and notice on a constant basis, what our thoughts are as well as our actions and emotional well being.
If we don’t notice our state of mind and heart – then we are not prepared to receive a peace that passes all understanding. We wouldn’t recognize it if it came! Why? Because not only are we programmed to accept negative thoughts and normal and natural, we are also taught to feel guilty if we experience happiness, joy or peace on a regular basis!
“You must be doing something wrong if you’re THAT happy.” someone once said to me. Seriously? So, if I’m miserable, unhappy, fearful and in agony, I’m doing something right? How does that fit into a redemptive plan?
Peace is a choice. We choose to receive it, or to ignore it. Choose to receive it BEFORE you are in a battle that challenges you to your core. And if you are in such a battle – pull out the big guns! Find scripture that will guard your heart and mind – watch funny movies and videos – read inspirational and uplifting books and stay away from T.V. shows that are mostly fear based.
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace who’s mind is stayed on Thee.” Isaiah 26:3
You CAN receive a peace that passes all understanding – when you choose to make choices that are also pass all understanding (accepted norm). I encourage you to not be afraid of offending anyone about setting your boundaries and protecting your heart either. For all you know – they too are in the battle for their life and don’t know how to change it, and you are showing them how to do just that – by your choice to receive that peace …. that passes all understanding.
Shannon Parish is the Founder of Sarah’s Tent and President of Living Stones Center. She is an award winning cartoonist and graphic recorder who, after more than thirty years of ministry and as a Life Coach utilizes her artistic talent to teach and Illustrate You.