I’ve had this restless feeling for weeks…living each day in an undercurrent of agitation. Ask my family, friends, or husband and this is pretty normal. I have always been a seeker. Wondering what is next, curious to know everything about everything. The more I come to know, the more I want to know. I love striking up conversations with strangers to get their perspective on life, and I enjoy going “deep” on subjects to get the perspectives of others whenever I can. I love to read books and listen to podcasts, ask questions and experience new things.
I think when I die, I think my only regret will be that I didn’t get to learn everything there is to know in this world. Not because I want to know it all, but because every new experience, new story, new perspective makes my life so much richer…especially when it rocks the core of what I thought to be true or believed. I like seek out thoughts and ideas and experiences.
All that seeking often causes a sense of overwhelm at the expansiveness of all the things we can spend our limited amount of time learning and doing. With each passing day I wonder if I am getting it right…if I am living the way God wants me to live and doing the things He put me on Earth to do. I am always looking for signs, and I am always asking for His guidance, yet I am more restless than ever.
I am grateful for friends and coaches who remind me that life is not a destination, it’s a journey. There may never be a true sense of arrival or confirmation that we are getting it right. We just keep moving forward and working to make tomorrow better than yesterday. As I reflect on the last few weeks, I know God has been working. I’ve been seeing some “coincidences” aka God’s work, happening more and more frequently. Here are just a couple examples:
- My friend and healer Jai has been telling me our past few sessions that I need to work on getting out of my head space and into my heart space. To work and act as my whole self. She gave me ways to practice that this past month. She also encouraged me to trust what I cannot see. Then last week I was listening to a podcast that said we need to “move with our head into our heart” and “focus our eyes on what we cannot see in faith.” I am being consistently reminded that I need to have faith and trust.
- My Uncle Jay sent me a birthday card. In my thank you note back I always include a personal life update. I told him that Mitch and I recently took our marriage covenant in the Catholic Church and how I have been reading more and more about Christianity and spending more time in the Bible. He wrote me back a beautiful letter about his spiritual experiences and sent a book by Thomas Merton. I had never heard of Thomas Merton and ironically started listening to Celebration of Discipline by audiobook where Thomas Merton is frequently quoted. I am excited to see what lessons that book has for me!
I know these small ties are signs of God’s work, but I remain restless because I can’t see the whole picture. So, I’ve been praying more and listening more and reading more and trying more, but the restlessness still builds. Then I realized…I’m doing it all wrong. In my praying I am telling, not listening. I haven’t been seeking God, I have been seeking answers. I’m trying to reason my way through life instead of being faithful and hopeful in God’s plan.
So I will be still, I will listen, and I will pray using a passage that keeps popping up from Phillipians 4:7, “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” I will be grateful for all that God has provided me and I will pray for peace on the journey. When I become restless I will remember that peace is not a feeling, it is a faithful confidence in what lies ahead. (I apologize I couldn’t remember where I found this for reference).
Before his crucifixion, the absolute last thing Jesus felt was peace. He was in deep, soul-suffocating anguish and anxiety about the suffering he was going to endure the next day. He was in such distress over his crucifixion that blood seeped from his face. Jesus asked God repeatedly to remove the cup of wrath that was about to be poured out upon him.
Peace is not a feeling. In this case, the peace that passes understanding is a strong resolute faith and confidence, that no matter what circumstances you encounter, God is faithful, God is good, God will keep you, God will provide for you, and God will bless you. It’s a faith that looks past circumstances to the God who works all things for your good and his glory.
This is a faith that doesn’t rely on feelings but relies upon God’s unbreakable promises. This confidence went well beyond his human understanding.
So when you’re walking through the Valley of Death, don’t try to work yourself into a state of feeling peaceful. Your feelings will go up and down depending on 10,000 different variables.
Peace that passes understanding goes beyond a mere feeling. Rather, it’s a solid confidence and faith in God that allows you to say:
When peace, like a river, attendant my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul
Prayers to you for peace on your journey my friend.