Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Chasing Lasting Peace

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones."
-Proverbs 3:5-8


























Do you find that you worry most about the things that are largely out of your control? And do you find that those things are also, often, the things in life you most desire? I do. I've really been tuning in to my thoughts and worries lately and I've come to realize that the lack of control is what I tend to be afraid of, more than anything else.

I stumbled across this verse from Proverbs a few days ago and since then, whether by chance or not (I'm guessing not), I've been feeling a whole lot lighter. As I've written before, I worry. It's a fairly normal state for me. So I'm always especially thankful for the days and weeks when my heart is at peace and the worrying is kept at bay.

I so love this line: "Do not rely on your own insight." And this one, too: "Be not wise in your own eyes." Very often, we're told exactly the opposite. You can do anything you set your mind to. If you try hard enough, the world will be yours. With confidence, you will succeed.

And of course all of that is true and useful to an extent. Sometimes I worry over my own efforts, or I feel guilt over whether I'm doing enough, or anxiety about whether I'm on the right path. But working on myself and trying always to do my best just isn't enough. Not if I'm after lasting, inner peace, a true sense of self-worth, and the satisfaction that comes from knowing I am eternally loved. 

When it comes to those things I worry about most--those things that are entirely out of my hands--my insight and knowledge and work ethic alone won't get me through. Nor will the insight of my husband, or my parents, or my friends. They will help, but on their own, they won't get me through.

That's why I need God. Only through faith will I ever feel peace. Only by His Grace will I ever be truly free. Only by trusting Him and His goodness can I ever loosen my grip and just let it all go.




12 comments:

  1. Katie @ Loverly SheAugust 27, 2013 at 11:05 AM

    So true Kate - it's not about us striving for peace, but about allowing HIS peace to overtake us. So glad you are feeling lighter in spirit.

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  2. The illusion of control is a very modern problem. In days where babies regularly died young and economic panics ripped through the country every few years and you couldn't dial 911 after an earthquake hit, people didn't forget that life is capricious and not something you can manage like a stage play. In our insulated cocoons today, we forget, and think we're responsible for engineering a perfect life, or else we must be failures. But even the most competent, wealthy, together people will regularly get their heads handed to them by overconfidence and the illusion of ultimate control. That's the storyline of thousands of novels and plays dating back to the Greeks. The only antidote that has ever worked is the peace and strength and trust that comes from recognizing we're not running the show, that there is love and purpose at the center of the universe, and that God has a way of balancing things out. And here's a kicker: when we help God by lifting up some fellow person who has fallen, that pulls us out of our fears and self-absorption, and strangely may help us as much as the person we minister to. God works through others, and through us, if we allow Him.

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  3. I find that every time I try harder to control the situations around me, the unhappier I become...usually it is because I am trying to rely on my own strength, my own talents etc. Then...He gently (or sometimes not so gently =) draws me back to Himself and reminds me that He is the one who will take care of everything...and that I just have to let Him!

    Thank you the reminder =)

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  4. Thanks so much Katie. Our back-and-forth emails certainly didn't hurt either :) So glad we can share our faith with each other!

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  5. Love this comment. It seems like a lot of the "jargon" I mentioned in the post (you can do anything you set your mind to, etc.) is also really a modern thing. I think we could all use a good dose of this traditional viewpoint you describe. Relying on God will always be more fruitful than relying on ourselves!

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  6. You're so welcome, thank you for sharing this viewpoint. It's really an easier frame of mind to be in, when we let God take the reins, don't you think? Maybe counterintuitive but I believe it's true. :)

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  7. Oh so much to say on this. I'm going to write you an email instead. :)

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  8. This is beautiful, Kate. The part that resonated with me the most was about how we're constantly encouraged to do whatever we set our minds to - but that gives us a false sense of independence. It's not to say that we can't affect our lives, I don't think, but the balance of what we do for ourselves and what we let God do for us swings constantly and we have to let it happen as it should without fighting it. That's what I'm thinking right now anyway :)

    this is one of my favorite (and similar) verses from Psalm 40 - I hope it speaks to you too?

    I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.


    He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.



    And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

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  9. That's a beautiful verse, it does resonate with me. I love passages in the Bible that have such vivid imagery...."out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock"....I find those poetic words just so moving. And I think you're right--we have free will, and can affect our own lives in powerful ways. But that only goes so far--which can sometimes be a terrifying thought, but I find that mostly it's a comforting one.

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