God’s peace in you is infinitely greater than the chaos around you. Don’t let anyone’s negativity bully you into silence or drain your intimacy with God.
Even if everyone around you is in a rotten mood, when you’re aware of what God is saying, you’re the most powerful person in the room. Your overflowing peace, joy, kindness, hope, wisdom, and grace can change the darkest atmosphere and transform the hardest heart.
If experiencing those aspects of God’s nature has been difficult for you, much less overflowing them to others, take a nice deep breath, and read this verse from Jeremiah:
“I have loved you with an everlasting love. With unending kindness I have drawn you to myself (31:3).
Take another breath, and read it again. But this time, personalize it and say it out loud:
“You have always loved me. You have drawn me to yourself with unending kindness.”
Breathe deeply again, and say it once more.
I know how important it is to read Scripture in context, and not twist it to fit a theology. This verse was written as a promise to restore the nation of Israel. But I also know the Bible is a love letter, a daily invitation from God to know him better.
Relax your shoulders. Let all the heaviness fall off them, especially the burdens you’re not supposed to carry. If you’re a teeth grinder like me, release the tension from your jaw and neck. Now expand that verse in relation to your own life. Something like:
“Jesus, I’ve been overwhelmed lately. Sometimes I feel like I’m either going to crash, or explode, or both. It’s getting really hard to carry all this. So I give it to you. I give all the people I love to you. I give all the junk in my head to you. Help me see how you’ve been loving me. I get so focused on what’s gone wrong, or what might go wrong, that I miss when you’re showing me your love, joy, peace, grace, and goodness. Help me see them now. Help me see everyone and everything as you do.”
Do the same with this section of Philippians. Read it as if Paul wrote it just for you:
“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (4:4-7).
Now, make it a personal affirmation:
“I will delight myself in you, Lord, no matter the circumstances. I choose to receive your joy in my heart and mind, and give it away freely. I will live today purposefully by being aware your presence. I will relate to you, myself, and the world with the patience that comes from rest, the kindness that comes from grace, and the unselfishness that comes from love.
You really are with me, so I don’t have to allow fear, pain, or bitterness to have control over my thoughts anymore. I will fill my mind to overflowing with thankfulness, remembering every blessing in my life, and how good you’ve been to me. I’ll bring all my prayers and requests to you, not as a desperate beggar, but as your child. Your peace enables me to see as you see, feel as you feel, and think as you think. That’s the kind of peace you have for me, Jesus—the peace of a Father nurturing the heart and mind of his child.”
Take a few more moments to let him do exactly that. Let him restore your heart, reset your mind, and love you to life.