Do you want peace of mind?
Maybe like me, you’ve had trouble finding peace of mind since losing your wife. My wife died on April 12, 2018 from melanoma cancer. In the days after her passing I confess I felt lost, overwhelmed, confused, alone, and numb.
I Tried Travel and Activity
I found myself filling the void in my life by travelling and activity. I’ve also wondered if I was running away from home where I didn’t have to deal with reality. My sweetheart passed away in April. In May I travel to the Florida panhandle to see my brother. Leg two of that trip was a visit to eastern Tennessee to see my wife’s sister and her husband. From there I went to the Asheville, North Carolina area attending a writer’s conference before returning home.
Interestingly the trip to eastern Tennessee and the conference center were locations my wife and I had attended many times together. Memories were everywhere. At one point during this trip I drove past a Cracker Barrel Restaurant somewhere between Birmingham and Gadsden, Alabama. As I passed it I verbally said, “Miss Benita, we’ve stopped there to eat several times. Do you remember eating there?”
There was silence. I then again said, “Do you remember eating there? Why aren’t you answering me?” I glanced at the empty passenger seat. She wasn’t there. I was overwhelmed with grief. Taking the next exit which was a rest area, I parked the car and cried for ten or fifteen minutes.
On The Road Again
Less than a month later I was at home and feeling overwhelmed. One morning I loaded the car and headed for Northern Arizona with the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, the Painted Desert, and Sedona, Arizona. Again, driving and activity filled my days.
In 2010 my wife and I had vacationed in the area. I found myself again going to the same places and doing many of the same activities before returning home in early July.
August found me again feeling the need to get away. This time I went to Ruidoso, New Mexico to both escape a house full of memories and to escape the heat of North Texas. I spent several weeks there.
While in New Mexico I realized I needed peace of mind. I turned to my Christian beliefs and my church. I also enrolled in a grief, loss, and transition workshop.
I Needed Peace of Mind
Peace of mind is something that we all want. We all want to be able to rest, to not have to worry, to feel free to enjoy life, family, friends, work, church, hobbies, entertainment, etc. We want to be able to enjoy ourselves and not be burdened down with worries that rob us of vigor, life, and purpose. Sometimes when we can’t find peace of mind, we get depressed. We often get angry and lash out at God or someone else near to you. I know I was mad at God that my wife had died.
What do you do to get peace?
What do you do to get peace? I mean real peace in your life. Where do you start? What do you do? Well, the best place to start is with God. In the Bible in the book of Philippians chapter 4:6-9 teaches how to have true peace in your life.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.Philippians 4:6-9 NIV
First Lesson I Learned – God wants you to have true peace by having you not worry – about anything (act of thinking).
Worry shows you are not trusting in God. God says in verse 6, “Do not be anxious about anything.” That means don’t worry. The word for “anxious” in the Greek here means to be troubled with cares. He hasn’t given you that command without you being able to carry it out. He said to the man with the withered hand,
“Stretch forth your hand”Mark 3:5 NIV
But the man could not–yet he obeyed and did it!
- Because the Holy Spirit is in you, you are able to live by faith, and not worry…no matter what happens.
- Because the Spirit empowers you to be faithful, to trust, to yield to the Lord’s will.
- With the Spirit you are able to trust God beyond your ability to know what will happen in your life.
“25Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 31So do not worry, saying, What shall we eat?’ or What shall we drink?’ or `What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”Matthew 6:25, 27, 31, 33, 34
“Cast all your anxiety (same word) on him because he cares for you.”1 Peter 5:7 NIV
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.John 14:1 NIV
God doesn’t want you to worry because worry means you do not trust God that you are not taking Him fully at His word. God has been providing for you all along – look at the cross. God wants you to have true peace by praying – about everything (act of doing). v. 6 “But in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
All things in your life are of concern to God. The big and the small: where to move, who to marry, what job to get, even your hobbies, and leisure times. The peace that God gives you will guard your minds. The peace that God gives you will strengthen you. Because of the cross you have access to the throne of God which is why it says “with thanksgiving,” because of the cross, the proof of God’s faithfulness. In the presence of God there is peace.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”Romans 15:13 NIV
“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”Psalm 16:11 NIV
Practice the presence of God – pray! In prayer you are transformed. By praying you will intern want to think about holy things. That leads to the next lesson I learned.
Second Lesson I Learned – God wants you to have true peace by meditating on what is holy (act of thinking).
Your minds have been set free from slavery to sin.
“The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;”Romans 8:6 NIV
God wants you to fill your heart with what is good.
“whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good repute, excellent worthy of praise. Let your mind dwell on these things.”Philippians 4:8 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
God wants you to think, to meditate on truth, purity, and excellence.
“…I will meditate on your precepts.”Psalm 119:78 NIV
The precepts of God, the Word of God, is truth, purity, and excellence. Meditate on the Word of God so that you might be transformed by the renewing of your mind. I learned a third lesson.
Third Lesson I Learned – God wants you to have true peace by putting into practice what you have learned (act of doing).
He wants you to… trust Him for everything.
“Don’t be anxious for anything.”Philippians 4:6a NIV
Pray to Him for anything.
“but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (NIV)Philippians 4:6b NIV
Meditate on what is holy.
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.Philippians 4:8 NIV
These things are written to you so that the God of peace will be with you. Not simply peace…but the God of peace will be with you. Ultimately this is about God dwelling with you. He wants you to be holy, pure, and right.
- Will you trust Him and not worry?
- Will you pray about everything in your life?
- Will you meditate on the Word of God?
- And finally, will you practice, will you do, what God calls you to do?