Perfect Peace Is A Promise IF...
Updated: Aug 30, 2020
I was waking up the same way I always did:
Alarm goes off around 5:15AM
I go downstairs to make my plant based pre workout to energize me / wake me up for my quiet time + prepare my body for my upcoming workout.
I have been led by the Lord to study the Psalms for the remained of 2020, so I head there.
After my quiet time, I clock in for 30 minutes to work my faith + fitness coaching business--checking on my clientfriends and coachfam.
I then get my almost 4 year old, do a quiet time with him.
I then push play on my living room workout.
Discipline led to this routine but it truly has grown into a desire.
But over the last 2 weeks I have noticed a shift in my mindset--an interruption to my peace.
I am more distracted...more fatigued.
My mind is focused on the day ahead, the goals ahead and my agenda for the day.
My heart isn't as soft as I am reading God's word.
I can sense my abiding in Christ has been interrupted.
But how did I get there? Since March I have seen my walk with God deepen, my love for Him grow, my trust in Him build, my peace increase, my pride decrease...
So how did everything turn upside down in what seemed like a matter of days?
For those that don't know, I started a faith + fitness coaching business in 2015 partnered withTeam Beachbody. While it was a secular company, God called me here to use fitness as a vehicle for ministry. For the last 5 years I have chosen to pursue faithfulness > fruitfulness, trusting that in God's timing the fruit would come. The business grew slowly but steadily with an emphasis on ensuring it had a solid foundation. Many lives were being impacted with the Truth, real fitness tools, and our tribe of women in our Christ-centered community known as the Wellness HIS Way Studio. My team of coaches was growing with purpose driven women desiring to also serve in health and build an income from home.
Mid June of 2020 something happened. I saw a new growth...something I hadn't seen in all 5 years. It was a growth that can only be from HIS hand. Yes I had to show up faithfully in my work and give my best daily for HIS glory and the good of others, but HE is the Lord of the harvest and outcome.
But then, during these weeks of growth + success I noticed I was forgetting the lessons He taught me about surrendered effort during the 5 years of slow growth; lessons around prayer, trust, rest, godly goal setting, letting Him set the pace, protecting my top priorities (family) and surrender.
Success can be dangerous because it can shift our gaze and it was starting to shift mine. Thankfully we serve a God who corrects those He loves with grace + truth. It's up to us to humble ourselves and receive His correction, repent, and turn.
Back to my morning routine. I am typing this on Sunday July 19. All I wanted was to sleep in today. But no. My son decides to knock on the door (he usually does this if he has to go potty but lately he does it for fun...yay for us) at 5:30 am. BAH!
I knew God was wanting to talk. I could sense the Holy Spirit say "rise up and sit with me." So I dragged myself downstairs, prayed my pre workout could keep my eyes open, and opened the Bible with little enthusiasm (yes I have those days too). I don't usually open the Bible randomly hoping I land on something profound but for some odd reason, this morning I did. Guess where I landed?
"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in You"--Isaiah 26:3
What this verse in Isaiah implies is that perfect peace was available, not as an occasional experience, but as a constant dwelling place.
But there is a catch--my mind must be stayed on the Lord. My mind can't occasionally be on the Lord but rather always be established upon Him.
I heard the Lord ask me "What is sustaining your mind? What is your mind established upon? What is your gaze, daughter? Is it Me? Or is it yourself...your problems...the cares of this world... your goals.... earthly things?"
It was in this moment that I realized that I allowed Satan to get my mind on anything and everything but the Lord Himself--this is his number one goal every day.
This wasn't about trying to do better at my time with God or at my walk with Him but THINK better...think RIGHT. Where I set my mind is the key to my peace and greater intimacy in my walk with Jesus.
"...because he trusts in YOU."
Another way we can read this verse is "Because he trusts in YOU, his mind is steadfast and is kept in perfect peace." Now when I put my name in: "Because Caren trusts in the Lord, her mind is steadfast and she is kept in perfect peace."
Now came the next question: Do I really trust God? Because if I did:
I would NOT lean on my own understanding--Provers 3:5-6
I would not be consumed by the cares of this world--Mark 4:19
I would not allow what I see to shake me because I believe what HE said.
I would not want anything more than Him.
I would not worry--Matthew 6:25-34
I would not overwork.
Friend, the battle begins in our minds. While our actions do reveal our trust in the Lord, trusting Him begins in our MIND. There is a reason our mind is where God begins His transformative work (Romans 12:2). Transformed thinking/beliefs leads to transformed behaviors and a transformed life.
Once our gaze is correct and our mind is steadfast on the Lord, we can then set goals WITH God, pursue them with HIS wisdom, trust HIS pace and experience HIS peace.
If there is distraction, fatigue, overwhelm, striving, pressure or anxiety...there is a great possibility our gaze has shifted. The good news is that at any moment we can correct our gaze and direction.
Pray with me:
Father, I am guilty of having a mind that is occasionally on you. I find my mind wanders often--I lay it upon the problems in this world, goals I desire and other earthly things. No wonder I only experience Your perfect peace occasionally. Peace is in a person and that person is YOU. When my gaze shifts and it's no longer on You, my peace is interrupted. I know the distraction I have been feeling lately is the enemy working overtime to shift my gaze. I keep losing this battle because I am more focused on correcting my behavior than my gaze. Forgive me for gazing at myself, my desires, my goals, and the cares of this world more than You. I am correcting my gaze right here and right now. When my mind is stayed on YOU, I have access to Your peace + power. I love you and I trust YOU. Amen.