The Stress Test

When waves crash against you in the sea, you discover how well you can actually swim. Life is no different. When trials rush in like a flood, one finds out whether or not they can actually stay afloat; it’s not until that moment that you really know.

Most people want to believe they carry some degree of peace, joy and love in their lives, and likely everyone does. It is easy to believe we are doing good when things are going good. When our lives are peaceful, we may marvel at how much Peace we have; when things are joyful we can do a great job at keeping our joy. But what happens in the difficult moments and seasons? This is the test. When you are cut off in traffic, fired from your job, slandered, maligned, cheated, ignored, or treated with disrespect…how does your peace hold up? Do you carry a Joy that remains through the rough patches or are you tossed about by the waves of the world, finding yourself (emotions and outlook) shifting up and down in response to every tribulation and difficulty? When your bank account gets low does your peace go with it?

I’m inviting you to a moment of honest self-evaluation. How are you doing in this regard? Do you find yourself grounded in the present moment, enjoying life, and taking time to smell the proverbial flowers? or are you continually thinking about tomorrow, what will come next, how will you make it, what’s your purpose? If you find yourself plagued by questions like this you must realize it’s time for a change. There is room for all of us to grow and admitting we haven’t arrived (none of us have) is a critical first step on the road to developing and increasing the amount of peace in our lives.

There are keys to cultivating a peace in life that goes beyond understanding; one is realizing that you are loved. Jesus put it this way, “Look at the birds. They don’t do anything other than receive from the Goodness of God. They don’t labor or fret; they eat and enjoy the sunshine and the wind in their wings. If they are so cared for, how much more will you be taken care of? You don’t need to worry, you’re of more value than an entire flock of sparrows; oh you of little faith.” Realizing you’re cared for is key to keeping peace. A little hope in your heart, telling you that there is someone or something bigger than you that is watching over you out of a place of love goes a long way in helping us realize that we don’t need to fear; that we can just enjoy today, the place we are, this present moment. I personally experience this peace and know this joy. If you don’t, I just want you to know that it’s real and that it’s for you.

 Do not be deceived; the world (the “system” and the way things actually work) is not centered around peace. There is a constant drive, a pushing “forward”, a greed and unrest that is not conducive to a truly peaceful existence. More money will not lead to more peace or freedom; a promotion will not make you happy. There is a part of you, the real you, that knows where peace and joy can actually be found. We can all sense it; an internal and eternal sense of belonging that includes every person and all of creation.

  I challenge you today to discover a new level of Peace that is already living inside of you. I urge you to open your eyes and see that life doesn’t have to be lived in response to the world, but that your joy can come forth from a place of stability in your heart; from a place of peace, rest… from knowing you are loved.