I have a confession to make. I yelled at my eight-year-old last night for accidentally dumping a huge container of pasta salad on the carpet. As he sat there and said, “Ugh, Mom, I need help!” I loudly rattled off all the reasons he had messed up in that moment, and he ended up in tears.
I felt overwhelmed.
I was not at peace.
Several hours later, I was able to take a deep breath and process how I treated my son. I realized that I completely unraveled all of the day's built up stressors into one loud, emotional moment. The daily grind of responsibility, selfish desires, and my own sinful nature all collided, and I took it out on someone who didn't deserve my wrath. Sure, my son has been told several times not to eat in the living room, but he didn’t deserve the emotions I was projecting on him. When I reflected back on the day, I realized that many things had come up where I had to make a decision, making me frustrated and worried—and you know what? Through it all, I didn’t pray. I didn’t seek the Holy Spirit; therefore, I wasn’t met with the opportunity to receive God’s peace. Philippians 4:6-7 tells us, “Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
We all have different ways of projecting our anxiousness or feelings of being overwhelmed. For some, it’s escaping into social media. For others, it could look like being overly controlling or angry. Sometimes, the weight of everything can overwhelm us into a wave of anxiety and fear. That is what happened when I yelled at my son. These things steal our peace. I let everything build up to a point where I sinned against my son rather than seeking God's peace moment by moment. In order to receive peace from God, we need to be aware of our need for it instead of filling that space up with our own pride and desire for control.
On that day, I had plenty of opportunities to go to God in prayer, seeking his peace and asking the Holy Spirit to guide and direct me. I know that the God of the universe wants to talk with me, and he gladly welcomes my prayers. In fact, it's in my humble and honest prayers where God can meet me with his peace. He desires to hear our prayers, whether they feel small and insignificant to us or deeply big. We see this in the story of Hannah—a beautiful picture of someone who sought a deep, prayerful relationship with God in order to find peace with her circumstances. Digging deeper into her story can help us flesh out what it looks like to receive God’s peace in the midst of turmoil.
We all feel overwhelmed at some point in our daily lives, and my prayer is that we would slow down enough to realize that when we try to white-knuckle it through our days and handle it all on our own, we miss out on the peace God has for us. When we choose to seek God in prayer and commune with him, asking the Holy Spirit to be present with us, we are able to fully surrender to him and receive his peace. Take it from me—yelling at someone you love is not fun or worth the pain. Through it all, I was able to reflect on my lack of God’s peace and humbly ask for not only God’s forgiveness, but that of my son . . . but that's a newsletter for another day ;)
For the Ezer Newsletter Team
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.
I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.
We encourage you to use these conversation starters as a means of self-reflection and for discussion within your community.
*Take some time to re-familiarize yourself with Hannah’s story in 1 Samuel 1-2:11.*
- In 1 Samuel 1:15-16, Hannah tells Eli that she is pouring out her soul to the Lord because she is deeply troubled. When was the last time you poured out your soul to the Lord like Hannah did in a time of stress or suffering?
- Has there been a time in your life when you experienced peace from the Lord? If so, spend time reminiscing on that situation, praying to God, and thanking him for his past provision!
- In what ways are you white-knuckling it through your days and trying to handle things on your own? If you aren’t sure, spend time praying for the holy spirit to reveal this to you.
For the Ezer Newsletter Team