It’s ironic I’m writing an article instructing others on how to find peace. I have recently struggled with anxiety—a deep restlessness in my soul that sleep could not satisfy. I have been so tired. And the pandemic hasn’t helped at all. I was worrying about minor things too often—stuff I couldn’t change. It’s not that I don’t know how to find peace, I was simply not practicing what I preach. But all that changed one Wednesday morning. Here is what I learned about finding true peace.
Step 1: Do not use Google to research health issues!
It started one Saturday. I was sure I had COVID-19. I think I might have been imagining the symptoms, but I went to my family doctor just to be sure. I was diagnosed with a minor bacterial infection that could easily be cured with antibiotics. I felt a sense of relief. Two days later, however, the hospital called to inform me I had a second infection that was resistant to antibiotics. I immediately thought, This is the end . . . I’m on my way to the nearest funeral home. So I immediately used Google to check out my symptoms. As I suspected, I found my prognosis was not good. I just knew my days were numbered! This was terrible news . . . so my anxiety intensified.
I finished the antibiotics and went back to the doctor for further testing. They told me this infection can be minor, and more than likely, my body would fight it off. That didn’t help. I was certain I would not live to see another day.
But when Wednesday rolled around, I suddenly came up with an earth-shaking plan: I needed to pray. I mean really pray! To be honest, I had been praying since the day I started feeling bad, but on this particular day, my prayer was raw. I prayed more earnestly and sincerely than I had since onset of the infection.
Step 2: Praise God because his existence isn’t based on how we feel.
“God, I don’t trust you.” The words left my lips and tears rolled down my face. Please understand, it wasn’t the minor inconvenience of being sick that led me to this place. It was months of “not knowing” and “not being in control.” The pandemic had reached America, and my anxiety increased as it crept closer to my state.
I knew I couldn’t control the health of my loved ones. I couldn’t control the anger and discord this type of situation brings out in people. I didn’t know when it would end, if it would end, or whether things would ever feel normal again. The worst part? I wasn’t trusting God to be himself. What a silly thing to admit.
My lack of trust was leading me to doubt God’s supremacy and omniscience. Suddenly, my prayer shifted: “God, I need you to make yourself real to me.” Within five minutes of my prayer, God clearly spoke to my heart. I tell women daily, “God is not a feeling.” It was like he nudged me to practice what I preach.
Step 3: Memorize Scripture to quote to yourself when you need godly peace.
As a kid, my church leaders and my mother constantly encouraged me to memorize Scripture. At the time, I did not understand why this was necessary, but on that turbulent Wednesday, I learned just how crucial it was to have a full arsenal of God’s Word. One particular verse, “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11, English Standard Version), clearly indicates that memorizing Scripture helps prevent us from sinning.
Step 4: Use these ingredients to live peacefully.
Paul provided the recipe for enjoying the peace that surpasses all understanding. He wrote,
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:4-7, ESV).
Step 5: Implement these suggestions when you feel anxious.
Finding peace, even in a pandemic, involves more than just having these things in your mind; we must also implement them. Failing to do this would be like mixing ingredients for a cake but not baking it. Putting what you know into practice is the most exceptional testimony of what God can do for you. It is a testimony to others that he really makes a difference in your life.