Perfect Peace in a Busy Season // John 14

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
— John 14:27 NASB

"Do not let your heart be troubled," Jesus tells his disciples. 

Easier said than done, my friends. #amiright?

I get filled with ideas, plans, and dreams, and then I put everything I am and everything I have within me into making them a reality. I've got big, crazy ideas for this blog, for my shop (which is soon to be re-opened), and possibly even for an eventual ebook devotional (SAY WHAT!?). I know I have a long way to go, but I am willing to put the effort and work in to see these plans fulfilled. I believe I've finally found my element, and have been hearing God give me "yeses" as I go along scheming. 

Here's the thing, though: I'm a wife to a hard-working husband who gets pulled in 900 different directions, and I'm a mama to two rambunctious boys (the pinball and the bowling ball). Whatever plans I may have for the day could be turned completely upside down, and I have to remain flexible, usually only working during nap-time or after everyone's asleep. So all of my ideas, plans, and dreams pile up, and sometimes get put on the back burner. 

All of the schedule conflicts, forgotten or canceled date nights, hectic mornings, late arrivals to coffee with friends, and missed social events are what I suppose I should expect in this season of my life. Yeah, it's hard, especially for a dreamer! But it's still so sweet. I love to put my family first -- I'm not being whiny, just stating facts. 

'Tis the season.

Even though I feel like I'm the last in line, always waiting, God still has plans for me. And for right now, one of them is to wait. I'm still pursuing my crazy ideas, just at a much slower pace than I'd hoped or imagined. I can't say with 100% certainty yet that the plans I've made are His exact plans for me, but I know I'm now on the right track. And with confidence in that, I keep running the race, so to speak. 

I'm not an expert in remaining calm and put-together (I do have my moments though, I must admit, as I pat myself on the back and give myself a cookie and a gold star). I struggle with anxiety and bouts of depression, and I occasionally fall into the depths of overwhelm and stress. Somehow though I always come out of these things, and I recover well. And so I keep on truckin'.

[When I say that I somehow always come out of it, I want to clarify that it's sans-medication. I have promised myself to never again rely on medication for my mental health because of a terrible experience with medicine of that sort from my past. I absolutely do not condemn anyone on medication though -- I completely understand and support you.] 

"Somehow though I always come out of these things, and I recover well." I could follow that statement by telling you that I don't know how I come out of it, and that would be mostly true. Usually I have no idea how I crawl up out of the pit of depression. Suddenly I'm just there, standing over it, looking back in pity at the days or weeks wasted.

But sometimes I do know what it is that brings me up out of it: serious effort and God's strength. Sometimes, when I can recognize the sad state I'm in for what it is -- whether it be depression or anxiety, mild stress, frustration, etc. --  when I see it in myself, there are times that I am able to pull myself together and fight back. And I truly believe that you can, too.

But not on your own.

Here are five things to remind yourself of when you're feeling especially bogged down by the season you're in. I obviously can't guarantee they'll pull you out of the rut every time, but try anyway!

  1. It's okay to be sad. It's okay to be stressed. Let yourself feel it. You can't release something you don't have a grip on.
  2. You are very strong and don't need any more strength than you already have. Even at your weakest, you're strong enough. This is how that works: At any given time, you can shrug all of the "stuff" off of your shoulders and place it all on Christ's shoulders, instead. That's where it belongs, anyway.
  3. You are not your failures. You are not your strengths, either. What you can or cannot do does not define you. 
  4. God knows you -- every bit of you -- and He loves you. And He may be whispering something to you right now, so stop thinking for a moment, and just listen. 
  5. There are more like you. You are absolutely unique and lovely and magnificent, for sure, but you are not the first person to experience this type of pain or to feel and think this way. You can overcome this, because someone else already has. Reach out if you need to. 

Friends, add to this list! What are some other truths you need to remind yourself of when you're feeling depressed, anxious, or just plain tired?

The peace of Jesus “surpasses all comprehension” (Phil. 4:7) because its source is Christ Himself. His peace keeps us from fear and worry because it brings us straight to Him — and teaches us to depend on Him in everything we face. And we know that no matter what our circumstances, the Lord Jesus will sustain us, strengthen us, and enable us to walk through it victoriously.
— CFSLPB