Elusive Peace

Today’s Devotional is offered by Dave Williams

“Therefore, I tell you, do not worry…”
– Matthew 6:23

This week, our devotionals have dealt with The Gift of Peace. My Bible’s concordance lists more than 100 references to peace, peaceable, peaceful, and peacemaker. It would seem that peace is an especially important spiritual subject. Personally, I have come to consider peace existing in one of two categories: external peace such as world peace, and internal peace such as peace of mind. This devotional is solely about that inner peace.

Peace of mind can be elusive. As an example, I present to you exhibit A (me). For much of my life, I’ve had much less peace than I desired. I have periodically dealt with high levels of anxiety (effectively a state of constant non-peace). Somehow, no matter what, worry, fear, and anxiety seemed always to be lurking nearby. Now, having some exposure to chronic stress producers can be helpful. Stressors cause us to plan, work, save, be careful, and avoid danger. But, excessive amounts of these negative forces can and do make life much less joyful and peaceful than it could and should be.

It was not until I was an adult that I came to fully realize that my worry, fear and anxiety levels were excessive. After arriving at this realization, I resolved to do what I could to improve my life by reducing my very real, yet irrational fears. I sought advice and professional help, studied relevant literature, meditated on a regular basis, tried to dwell on positive rather than negative thoughts. I also joined a support group, exercised more, ate better and tried to get sufficient rest. In short, I did what I could to change my thought processes and physical factors in ways that might improve my life. I was seeking a more joyful and peaceful existence. It worked. Though it took work to experience the reality of internal peace, my worry, fear and anxiety levels are closer to normal than they were years ago. I am grateful for the improvement.

As we conclude this week of considering peace, I wish you and yours the Gift of Peace, especially if you, like me, have to work at it.