“And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea,”Peace! Be still!”And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” Mark 4:39
Peace, like happiness, is something that you can possess regardless of your circumstances. It is a state of mind and spirit. Have you ever been in a situation where all hell was breaking loose but you still remained at peace? Your friends and family were probably waiting for you to break, but you held it down like a champ. This is what I call peace under pressure. As I grow and go through more, I am finding a deeper sense of this unshakable peace and I want to share ways for you to find it too.
Gather yourself. The fourth chapter of Philippians gives us a blueprint for attaining peace. The sixth verse tells us not to be anxious (unsettled) over anything. This lets me know that peace is something we have control over. We can choose to guard and harness my emotions and the energy around us. If something is throwing you into a tizzy, slow down, breathe, and gather yourself.
Pray. The above mentioned verse then commands us to pray about everything. It says that we should continue to submit our requests to God in prayer. A favorite saying of mine is “don’t pray and worry.” If you have prayed about it, cast your care on to God knowing that He has heard you, He cares, and He wants to help you in all situations you face.
Find something to be grateful about. In speaking of how to pray, Philippians 4:6 also says “…with thanksgiving.” What are you grateful for? Gratitude shifts your thoughts away from the problem and onto God and His marvelous works. Are you worried about something that you’re afraid won’t work out? Think about the last time you were in a situation and God came through for you. Now thank Him. Shift your focus.
Think on these things. The eighth verse of this same chapter gives us a list of things to focus on. When negative thoughts and feelings bombard your mind, ask yourself:
- Is it true? Am I wallowing in feelings based on thoughts I have assumed or made up?
- Is it honorable? Should I be exalting these thoughts and feelings? Should I honor them above the peace that God has given me?
- Is it pure? If the thoughts aren’t pure or wholesome, cast them down. They aren’t sent by God.
- Is it lovely? Does it bring peace, praise and happiness? Is it making me smile or making me feel heavy?
- Is it of a good report? Does this build up or tear down me or someone else? Is it gossip?
If your answer to these questions are NO, shift your thoughts away from them and think on things that are true, noble, wholesome, lovely, and of a good report.
Take hold of your peace. Verse six says “and the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your heart and mind.” God has already given you peace. It is up to you to take hold of it. He has promised that you will stay in perfect (total) peace when your mind stays on Him. Your attaining peace is determined by your response to that promise. Do you have faith in what He said?
When Jesus was in the boat in our opening scripture, He commanded the raging sea to be still. He took hold of His own peace in the face of adversity. Then he looked at the disciples who were fearful and unsettled and asked them two very important questions: “Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?” When you’re under pressure, ask yourself these same questions to regain perspective.
You and only you have the power to harness your own peace. It is my prayer that you begin to slow down and process your thoughts and feelings. Assess whether they came from God or the enemy of your soul. Then deal with them accordingly. His hope for you above all else is that you may prosper and be in health (physically), even as your soul prospers (mentally and spiritually). No matter what may be happening around you, it is totally possible for you to find peace under pressure.