Faith, Hardships and Trials, Resting in Christ

Dig in Your Heels and Hang On to that Peace

Ah, peace. It can really be hard to grasp in this world, can’t it?  Sometimes, the chaos even chases us into our sleep. Have you ever had one of those recurring dreams? The ones that sort of show up every once in a while and come in so vividly that you remember them weeks later? I have one that disturbs my sleep and wakes me up feeling all out of sorts. I hate that dream. It makes me feel lost and a little scared. It tries to steal my peace. I guess it’s a good thing that true peace is found in something bigger than dreams, isn’t it?

Maybe you’ve had the same dream or one similar to it.  In mine, I’m driving at night and it’s pitch dark.  I have the headlights on, but they don’t illuminate the road more than a couple of inches in front of me.  It’s like the darkness presses in on the car and everything is obscured, including the road.  I’m literally driving blind.  Sometimes it’s scary. Sometimes it’s incredibly frustrating and, for lack of a better word, off-balanced.  Whenever I have that dream, it’s usually because my life is feeling out of control.

And yes, I have had that dream more than once.  Frankly, I’m shocked I haven’t had it recently.  It has been a season in the Bailey household. And here’s the thing… Every one of us has been there, when it feels like the hits just keep on coming.  When there isn’t an opportunity to catch your breath from one thing before another flies by and whacks you in the face. When it feels as though all you can do is get up in the morning and dig those feet in and hope you don’t fall down.

Dig those feet in.  My Bible study group is working our way through a study on the armor of God in Ephesians 6. It’s appropriate, because like I said–we are going through a particularly intense time in my house. A months-long tear-out of our kitchen due to a leak led to two more major repair projects. Countless other small things have needed repair all at once. Worst of all, we lost our sweet Siberian Husky companion of thirteen years and then, one week later, learned our nine-year-old Australian Cattle Dog had terminal cancer and we lost her as well.  In the midst of it, our precious daughter started college.  Yep. It has been a season of highs and lows and joys and frustrations.

Would you believe what week my group got stuck on and had to postpone meetings for?  Yep. The week that discusses Ephesians 6:15, where Paul says to stand firm, “with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.”

Peace.  That’s a sorely needed thing in my world right now.  In all of our worlds, really. Because if you’re on this planet, you’ve felt that sense of whirling chaos at some point, either corporately or personally. But do you know what? We can have the peace of God. Maybe not in every moment–because believe me, there have been some less than peaceful moments in my head and some less than peaceful words from my mouth–but overall, God’s peace is there.  It’s those “peace shoes” God gives us among all of the spiritual armor in Ephesians 6. I know it.  

Want to hear something cool about the shoes of peace? Paul was thinking of the Roman soldiers and their armor when he was writing Ephesians 6.  Roman soldiers had spikes on the bottoms of their shoes to help them grind those feet into the ground and dig in when the battle got fierce. They could hold the line and fight without wavering or slipping.  

Can I tell you how much I love that imagery?  Oh my word, even typing it right now floods me with this sense of ahhhhhhh.  Know why?  Like I said above, some days all we can do is dig our feet in and hold on.  Some days the world throws curve balls. Some days our families do. And some days we pull a big ol’ Romans 7:15 where Paul says, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do” and we create our own mess.  

But there is that peace of God that lets us hang in there.  That lets us make it through the day. The battle might be messy and it might get ugly, but we make it because deep down, even in the chaos, we have His peace. Click To Tweet Even in the days when we don’t necessarily feel the peace, it is there. And the best part? We get to pick up our foot, take a step forward, and dig it in again. 

Can I reassure you of something, though? There are days we will slip.  Times when we get overwhelmed.  Moments when rest won’t come or the words that pour out of our mouths sound nothing like the peace of God. Please know those instances aren’t failures. They’re human. We all have them.  We can’t drop to the ground in discouragement thinking we have to feel happy and at peace at every single second or we’ve somehow lost our connection to God. In those moments, when our shoes falter and our grip slips, it’s okay.  The thing to do is what those Roman soldiers did.  They regrouped, joined together, and dug their feet in again.  And I’m willing to bet that when the line slipped, they turned their attention to their commander, just like we should.  

Remember, our peace is not the kind of peace that the world talks about. It’s easy to go looking for it in the wrong places. I confess that, during the worst of 2020, I played a lot of Animal Crossing with my daughter because fishing on an imaginary cartoon island was a lot easier than facing the world. But true peace looks different. It’s not temporary. It’s solid and it’s forever.  

For me, finding that peace has proved harder on some days than others, even though I know it’s always there. I mentioned my Bible study ladies earlier. Having them to pray with and talk to has been a huge spike in the bottom of those “peace shoes,” helping me hang on and dig in when I’ve wanted to wallow in self-pity. We weren’t built to walk alone, even though we like to try.

But do you know what really brought me the greatest sense of God’s peace? One morning, I found myself alone in the house. That’s a rare thing lately. I put some worship music on random and found myself on my knees in front of my couch, just crying in God’s lap, so to speak. I didn’t talk.  I just let the tears come.  I just let God be God and sat still with Him. When I finally cried myself out, I simply sat in the silence with Him.  That has made all of the difference, because deep inside, I could feel it… God understands. He cares about those moments when everything seems to be falling apart, and He’s there with open arms. Click To Tweet Jesus promised in John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” That’s a promise of peace that we can stand on.

When you’re walking through a season of chaos, what can you do to dig your shoes in and find the peace that Christ promises?

 

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