Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, *will guard your hearts and your minds* in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6
I’ve read this scripture and the verses after it (the whatever verses) many, many times. I have them memorized even, but today when a friend posted them on Facebook something new jumped out at me. I have always appreciated these verses and how they tell us to not worry and to give it over to God, to be thankful for what He’s already done as we request more help from Him. And if we give it to God He will give us peace better than we can even comprehend. I mean, that alone is pretty awesome, but for some reason that last bit jumped out at me today; the idea that the peace of God, which we cannot fathom, WILL GUARD OUR HEARTS AND MINDS.
Like, how can peace guard? I mean, isn’t peace is the absence of conflict? How can the absence of something actively protect?
But then I got this picture in my mind of a security guard standing outside the door of a bank. His simple presence is causing peace inside. Because he is standing there guarding who goes in, the people inside feel safe and conflict is absent. So maybe God’s peace is not the absence of conflict so much as the presence of HIM. If we let Him, He is standing outside the door of our minds deciding which thoughts can come in and which thoughts cannot.
I am sure that many of you long-time Christians and especially all my linguist and theologian friends are nodding your head like, ‘um, yeah, that’s what it has always said right there, duh.’ But for me, this was kind of an ah-ha moment. Y’all I can’t tell you how much I needed to think on this today.
Things have hit turbo recently around our house; one child getting married in a few weeks, one graduating high school this year who is also taking college classes, two in college (all living at home while they attend school so sometimes my house feels more like a college dorm than a home), a father who is slowly dying of Altzheimer’s, and a mother in law recovering from her second hip surgery in four months. Not to mention the day to day running of a house; bills, laundry, doctor visits, vet visits, broken appliances, cars in the shop, and on and on it goes. Then filter all of this through an auto-immune disease that causes chronic pain and muscle weakness and, well, sometimes you get panic instead of peace.
I have a tendency to look ahead to what’s coming on my schedule and worry about it all. Can I handle all that is on my plate? What can I take off? Nothing? Oh goodie. (FREAK OUT A LITTLE BIT!) Then I get a little cranky, snarky, and unloving. All the things on my plate begin to feel like a heavy burden and not blessings. Chronic pain can make me forget that the people who are on the to-do list of my life are blessings from God, not burdens and I don’t want Him to take any of them off.
What I want, what I need, is a shift in focus. I need a guard at the door of my mind saying, “No, freaking out thought, you cannot come in.” “No, thought saying you cannot handle this, you cannot come in. Have I not always given you enough strength to handle what I put on your plate? Think about that instead. Think about all the times I provided for you and enabled you and gave you all the strength you needed for the task I gave you. Those are the thoughts I am going to let in.”
If I let my Thought Security Guard do His job, I will have peace in my heart and my mind.
These are the things I am thinking on today. This is the word God had for me almost as soon as my eyes had opened today. I can’t even properly express how much I needed to hear this and I thought maybe some of you might need to hear it too.
Don’t be afraid about anything. For every fear you have pray, ask, and thank God when you come to Him, then you will feel a peace you cannot fathom because a thought security guard will stand outside your mind and heart. ~ The Tricia Translation of Philippians 4:6