What is peace?
I looked up the definition for peace (if you haven’t already noticed, I really like defining words. I think SO much gets lost in translation. The intent of what I say can be completely different from how you perceive it, so I think, especially in writing, it’s important that we’re both aware of the way any given word is used. It is still quite possible that my intent will not come across perfectly, but it’ll be closer if we both have the same understanding of some key words.) So peace. The regular dictionary definition is:
a state in which there is no war or fighting
: an agreement to end a war
: a period of time when there is no war or fighting
That seems like a reasonable definition to me. No war, no fighting, and agreeing for it to be so. It seems to me then, that choosing peace is part of having peace. One can’t expect this amazing state of perfect well being without doing anything to receive of that … you must choose peace. You must choose to not fight. You must choose peace over war; in all areas, in all aspects, in all things.
In the Bible there is a verse where Jesus tells his followers that He leaves upon and gives to them His peace and it is not as the world gives. His peace takes away the troubled heart and the fear.
What does troubled mean? Synonyms for troubled are many:
worried, agitated, anxious, bothered, concerned, confused, distraught, distressed, disturbed, frightened, irritated, pained, plagued, puzzled, scared, tormented, tortured, unsettled, aggravated, alarmed, anguished, annoyed, chagrined, discombobulated, disconcerted, displeased, disquieted, exacerbated, flustered, harried, harrowed, inconvenienced, irked, miffed, mortified, perplexed, perturbed, pestered, provoked, riled, ruffled, shaken, terrified, upset, vexed, afraid, apprehensive, fearful, in a tizzy, overwrought, put out, uneasy
This is a long list, but using all of these adjectives is a good way to describe everything that is the opposite of peace. When you are feeling any of these? Peace is not present.
Synonyms for untroubled:
calm, certain, comforted, content, happy, sure, unconcerned, untroubled, unworried, pleased at, ease, balanced, collected, composed, cool, peaceful, quiet, sane, settled, sound
When you feel these, you know peace. The peace that God gives is these.
And just because I can … these are a few of the synonyms for peace:
harmony, agreement, accord, friendship, love, reconciliation, truce, unity, amity, neutrality, order pacification, pacifism, unanimity, union
Desiring unity is peace. Harmony is peace. Love is peace. Calmness is peace. Happiness is peace. Friendship is peace.
All of these exist within God’s peace.
There is not fear, worry, agitation, bother, confusion, irritation, pain, aggravation, annoyance, inconvenience, provocation, upset, apprehension, or uneasiness in peace.
If you feel these, peace doesn’t exist in that moment.
I have experienced many of the feelings that are not peace. I’m certain we all have. I can remember driving and having someone cut me off and being so annoyed. It was SO frustrating! Why would they cut me off like that?! How RUDE!
There is a funny “meme” going around that says something like:
“Someone just honked to get me out of my parking space faster, so now I have to just sit here until both of us are dead.”
It’s funny right?! It perfectly exemplifies that mentality that I am annoyed and you are impatient. Both of us, in this fake situation are not acting in a thoughtful peace promoting way.
What if we each decided to be responsible for our own peaceful atmosphere and we actually took it upon ourselves to create peace by seeing through a “peace filter” ?? What would change in your life? How would that make a difference? Would it be hard for you?
What if your first reaction every time was something like “how can I embrace peace in this moment?” Or “What can I do to react to this situation in a way that would bring loving unity?”
Taking responsibility for your inner well being is the first step in receiving of that amazingly calm, certain, comfortable, content, happy, sure, unconcerned, untroubled, unworried, easy, balanced, collected, composed, peaceful, quiet, settling, and sound peace that exists in God and in unity and in love.
That peace will not come to a heart that is unconcerned for others and more concerned for its own gain. That peace will not exist in one who chooses to be annoyed and frustrated and angry as a reaction every time.
I’ve noticed in raising children that they first believe that the world is doing this to them. That they have no control and if “so and so” wouldn’t act like that they’d be able to respond better. There is a lack of responsibility in that kind of mindset.
The world, the people around you, God is NOT doing this to you, is not forcing you to choose what you choose … you choose it. You allow it. You create it through your thoughts. You do it. You can’t blame anyone else, it’s all you. So if peace is not present and you’re angry and frustrated and fearful, etc … you have to make a change and consciously choose to see differently and to act differently.
And when you do that the peace envelopes you and you come to know God and to know love and to know unity of heart and it is beautiful.
It is really all about consciously choosing how you see things. Even when people do things that “annoy” you, you CAN overlook it! Even if people incite anger in you, you CAN choose to embrace love in that moment anyway. You have to desire peace above all else and be humble enough to just let things go.
I know this peace. It comes and goes, but it is present more than not. I love this peace. I feel gratitude in my heart for my agency. I get to choose how I see and react to the world around me, and I see that as I offer peace instead of war, things look brighter, things go more smoothly, and the need to be right vanishes. It means nothing in the presence of beautiful peace.
Embrace love, embrace unity, cling to peace and you will know …. and you will have a grateful heart.