Turning Pressure Into Peace



Let's face it - life is hard and filled with so many distractions, obligations, time constraints, deadlines, worry, and pressure that we often don't know if we are coming or going!

It is no wonder society is desperate for an escape. We long for relief. We dream of the day that we can release all our heavy burdens and live a care-free life.


Oh, we try all kinds of substitutions and tricks. We attempt to distract ourselves by binging on social media or maybe the next Netflix original series. We try to drown ourselves in pleasure: food, beverage, drugs, sex (insert your pleasure.) We impulse shop. We go to extremes to look our best, feel our best, do our best. We methodically plan that fabulous family vacation to paradise and just know it will bring unparalleled joy and happiness.


Yet, we do all of these things and still, we find ourselves right back where we began. Pressured. Stressed. Anxious. Worried. Unhappy. Discontent.


Why?


We are caught in a circle of redundancy, believing that what this world has to offer and what we can achieve on our own is the answer that will lead us to peace, contentment, and satisfaction.


We try it over and over again- thinking that one day we will finally get it right! And then finally, we can sigh and say "Yes, I have arrived." (While floating on cloud nine.)


When will we learn that lasting peace cannot be found of our own accord?


Authentic, lasting peace can only be found in its purest form- God.


Christian writer, Henri Nouwen, paints an interesting picture of our relationship with God and this struggle for peace:

“There was an old man who sat on the bank of a river each morning to meditate. One particular morning, the river was flooded, and the old man noticed a poisonous scorpion floating on the water. The scorpion appeared to be struggling to get to safety from the swift current, so the old man stretched out his hand to rescue the scorpion. The scorpion quickly stung the man’s hand.  A bit later the old man stretched out his hand again in another desperate attempt to save the scorpion, and once again the scorpion stung him.  Now the old man's hand was painfully swollen and bleeding. 

Another man passing by saw what was happening and yelled out, "Hey, stupid, what's wrong with you? Only a fool would risk his life for the sake of an ugly, evil creature. Don't you know you could kill yourself trying to save that ungrateful scorpion?"

The old man calmly replied, “My friend, just because it is in the scorpion’s nature to sting, does not change my nature to save.

Yes, we are the scorpion in this story - so naïve we think we don't need saving. But, don't be so offended that you miss the beauty of this story. The beauty of God's nature to save and His eagerness to repeatedly offer peace and life (despite our foolish nature to resist.)


Jesus is the "Prince of Peace" and Scripture shouts God's peace over and over:


Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. ~ John 14:27


The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace. ~Psalm 29:11


And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:7


I will listen to what God the LORD says; he promises peace to his people, his faithful servants— but let them not turn to folly. ~ Psalm 85:8

This peace can calm all your fears, worries, and anxieties.


It settles into your soul and brings confidences and comfort.


It calms all pressure and brings immediate relief.


It is peace that surpasses all understanding.


Unlike the circle of redundancy, this peace can be yours if you'd be willing to simply accept it from God's extended hand.



And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:7

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