Peace Purpose & The Presence
A year ago, I asked a lady in church how to figure out God’s will for my life. Ever done that before?
She said, “You know what I always do when I don’t know what to do? I follow peace and excitement.”
Although her advice comforted me for a while, my overwhelmingly intense brain blew a fuse and short-circuited my peace. Once again, over-analysis and unrest took the throne. But, how do I make sure that it’s really peace and not just temporal happiness?? How do I know it’s God’s will and not mine? What if I get it wrong?! Can you sense the urgency in my excessive use of punctuation?
The fact is, as a 21-year-old girl on the verge of graduating college, I tend to think everything is the end of the world. “If I don’t take this internship, if I don’t marry this person, if I don’t move here… my destiny will crumble and I won’t have the perfect life God has planned for me!!!”
Clearly, I think way too highly of myself if I believe I can utterly destroy the plans and purposes of God. But, how do I follow peace and excitement? Well, if I have Christ then I also have peace:
“For He himself is our peace." // Ephesians 2:14
So, how is it that I experience unrest in my soul if Christ lives in me? Easy, I don’t make myself available to Him; thus, peace is unavailable to me. Yet, despite my recently blatant preference for others above Him, my soul cries out because it hears His voice saying,
“Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love…" // Joel 2:13
And I run back to Him.
I follow Him — to my room, the park, the car, wherever I can be totally and completely alone with Him. Phone off, computer off, music (yes, even worship music) off. Then, I strive to enter into His rest. Of course, silence causes me to fidget and fight frivolous thoughts. But, I must always push past that. I must choose to exercise the self-control given me by the Holy Spirit. It’s hard work, but it’s a glorious reward.
Then, I must follow the Spirit to the throne of grace, where my soul bows before God in awe and humility. The solitude and magnitude of His Presence nudges me toward confessing whatever it is that’s consumed too much of my flesh.
Despite the discomfort of admitting my wrongdoing and sinfulness, I, we as Christian women, must not run from being shown there is a better way. By acknowledging our sin, resolving to turn from it, and receiving grace- infused forgiveness, we enter freedom. His peace cascades from heaven, sweeping us far from this temporal place tied down by worries, fears and parameters.
Then, as you and I live our lives, make decisions and pursue opportunities, we’ll know what to do. We’ll either be swimming with the current of peace, or against it. And if right now, you find yourself swimming against, realize that God will allow exhaustion and restlessness to persist in your soul, until you make yourself totally and completely available to Him once more.
So, if you’ve been swimming against the current, seek His face yet again. Then, again. Read the Word. Ask the painstaking questions: Are you following His commands to the best of your ability? Are you clinging to areas in your life that you ought to let go? Have you drawn lines on your own willingness to be used by Him?
Reflect, be honest with yourself and with your Creator; then, simply turn around and swim with the current. In the quiet, He will come. He will reveal to you all you need to know. Pursue, push and you will enter into His presence, receive his promises, and find peace. As your awareness of Him increases, you will, without even realizing it, walk into His purposes for you.
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.'" // Isaiah 30:21
Instagram: @alexisreb // Twitter: @alexisreb5789
Alexis Rebennack calls New Orleans home, where you will often find her parading through the streets listening to local musicians, hammocking in City Park, or eating one too many shrimp po-boys. She is a junior mass communication major at LSU, pursuing her passion for people and words by interning for an inner-city ministry and freelancing as a writer for various publications. Though Louisiana holds her heart, she is currently studying abroad in Europe, and if you catch her off guard she may start speaking Spanish (it's a recent thing)! Her time abroad has recently made Malachi 1:5 her favorite scripture, as she continually sees it come to life: "O Israel, lift your eyes to see what God is doing all around the world; then you will say 'Truly the Lord's great power goes far beyond our borders.'"