It took me a while, but I finally settled on my word of the year: peace. I considered this word a month ago, and I talked myself out of it. I wasn’t naïve enough to believe anchoring myself to that word would mean a new year filled with calm. I long for peace, but the truth is that my mind is full of chaos. It seems I haven’t yet fully embraced the lesson I learned in 2020.
Last May I had a pretty horrible bout of anxiety. I did everything I could think of to rid myself of that constant, awful feeling. I talked to friends, family, a counselor, and eventually started taking medication. I created a worship playlist to keep my mind fixed on praising God instead of fixating on my anxiety.
I also happened to be spending a lot of time in the Word as I was hosting an online Bible study. We were studying Philippians. One particular morning I spent a good chunk of time focused on Philippians 4:6-7: “Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks. Then the peace of God that exceeds all understanding will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus.”
Nothing calms my heart more than being able to trust His character.
I had been begging God to show me more of Him because I know nothing calms my heart more than being able to trust His character. For the first time, it struck me that God actually wants peace for me. He doesn’t want me to be panic-stricken or living with the physical symptoms of anxiety. Those things don’t reflect the nature of God.
As I continued to study, I learned that He is the author and promoter of peace. He wants it for all who claim a relationship with Him (and He wants everyone to have that too).
I heard a sermon recently that reminded me my focus needs to be on Jesus and on His kingdom. I have to admit—it absolutely hasn’t been. I’ve been fixated on how to grow the business I’ve started. I walked on the path with God long enough to get His direction and then I ran ahead, leaving Him in the dust. While listening to that sermon, I realized what I needed to be chasing was God Himself.
The next day I woke up in a funk. I was so tired of analyzing stats and trying to figure out what people seemed to want from me. None of it was making a bit of difference. My fixation on social media and sales has been doing nothing but creating unrest in my mind. I know this isn’t how I should be approaching things; there’s no peace here. I decided to block my Etsy and social media apps for the day and continued with my usual routine. I prayed, read my bible, and then hopped on the treadmill. I put on some worship music and reminded myself of who God is and all I have to be grateful for. This simple practice began to usher in the peace I had been longing for.
I know I need to take things a step further. I’m a writer, and I need to write. I need to journal a prayer to God about these experiences I’ve been having. I need to talk to Him about my frustration and ask Him where I’ve run ahead without Him.
Does this mean I give up trying to grow my business? Of course not. But it means I need to walk back to where He is and let Him lead me. I need to find the true pathway to peace, and it runs through Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace.