This morning was my third attempt to successfully pass an ECG test in order to qualify for a clinical trial. I failed the ECG miserably on two separate attempts last night and the lab technicians were gracious enough to let me try just one more time.
Unfortunately the longer I lay on the bed plugged in to the electrodes, the more my heart would race and the more anxious I would become; the official name of it is ‘white coat syndrome.’
I prayed for peace of mind with all my might; I sang praise songs; worship songs; I prayed for others, I envisioned myself on a beach with clear, glistening water and warm, white sand at my feet.
To no avail, my anxiety kept getting higher and higher the more I tried to relax. My heart felt like it would beat out of my chest.
I felt so hopeless. Out of the 20 people in this program I was the only one unable to pass. “What was wrong with me?” I thought. Why were all of these people able to ‘just relax’ and calm their mind and I could not?
I remember saying to myself, “if I’m really saved then shouldn’t I be able to experience God’s peace at will?” I began to question my faith.
Have you ever felt like everyone else has got it together but you? And have ever questioned your own Christian walk as a result of a situation that you felt you ‘should’ be able to control?
After coming home feeling somewhat like a failure, the Holy Spirit led me to review a couple of scriptures about peace:
“May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord” 1 Peter 1:2
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:7
After reading these I learned two important principles about the peace of God:
1. Cultivating peace is a process. I find I can so easily fall into the trap of believing that being a Christian means that you should just pray more and get results but it simply does not work that way.
The verse above in first Peter says, ‘as I grow’. Growth takes time. Whether it’s learning to quiet your mind, releasing weight or any other behaviour you want to overcome or develop; changing behaviours is a process that times time and patience. The type of peace I was looking for served my immediate needs but it was not necessarily the lasting type of peace that the Bible speaks of. That peace comes from spending time with God and cultivating a relationship with Him.
2. Peace means letting go of the outcome. It’s difficult ,if not impossible, to imagine never worrying about anything, but that’s what God promises us, “a peace that surpasses all understanding.”
My prayers this morning were for peace so that I could pass the test, which only produced more anxiety for me. God wants us to trust Him so deeply that we don’t even have to worry about the outcome (Matt. 6:34, Luke 12:29, Phil. 4:6) That kind of peace can be ours, but only when we learn to let go of our own agenda and trust God. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
What situations are you longing to change yet keep taking back? Give it to God and begin to cultivate peace in your life growing in the knowledge of Him. As James 4:8 teaches us, “draw close to Him and He will draw close to us.”
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you. 2 Thes. 3:16