I’m a very emotional person, and I was definitely brought up with the term “the peace that passes all understanding” and taught to apply it in the emotional response. As I’ve grown up and understood myself better, I’ve learned that you cannot always be guided by your emotions because they can be irrational. And now recently, through my own experience and the teachings of two other Godly people, God has taught me more about what this peace that he refers to in Philippians 4 is really about.
I was recently at a point in my business where I needed some extra help. Or at least, I knew I was going to need it very soon.
Convinced, I went through the process of advertising the position and short-listing candidates. I narrowed it down to two candidates, and after a further section process, was sure I had my winner.
But I had no peace. I wasn’t sure what this uneasiness was. Was it just fear of taking the next step? Or did I have the wrong candidate? Was it not the right time? Or perhaps this wasn’t what God wanted me to do right now? Should I have only advertised a part-time position?
One thing I definitely knew was that I needed some form of help in the business. I was just hesitating whether a full-time employee was the answer right now.
I asked Jesus – what form of help did I need?
He gave me this picture:
Jesus and I were standing on a sandy shore. Blue skies & flying seagulls overhead. There is a island a little away from the shore.
Jesus says to me, “The only way to get there is to start paddling.”
Right. So I figured, I needed to do something to get from here to there. And perhaps the details of that “something” wasn’t that important.
Jesus also said, “I’m guiding you, leading you. If you make mistakes it’s okay. I’m always here. I’ll help you back up and steer you back on course. Not every move you make will be perfect. I don’t expect it, so you shouldn’t either.”
So, armed with the knowledge that I had deduced the need in my business, and that ultimately, Jesus was guiding my steps and wasn’t expecting me to be perfect, I went ahead and hired my new team member.
I never got that feeling of “peace”. In fact, that night as I lay in bed, I was completely freaking out. The enormous responsibility of paying a team member, and ensuring that we’ll have work in the months ahead.
But I determined to listen to my own ability to judge and make decisions in light of God’s leading and word, and rather than my emotions. This was the next step in my faith-journey with my business. God had already shown me he was bringing the work. Most of the work that had come in recently had come out of nowhere. I had to start making the move towards that island, and trust God would get us there safely.
Just 3 days later I noticed an email in my inbox: Stop Waiting for a ‘Sense of Peace’
I clicked it open straight away. It was part 2 of a new devotional series by Christian entrepreneur, Jordan Raynor. It began by saying:
Last week, we debunked the myth that Christians should wait for an amorphous “sense of peace” before making big decisions.
Interestingly, I hadn’t noticed part 1 of the series which had been sent the week before. But I went to it then, read both part 1 & 2 and awed at how God was validating my experience and decision of just days prior. I was so excited by what I learnt that I rang my sister and read most of them to my sister over the phone, and then shared them with my husband that night.
Jordan Raynor goes through this topic over 4 devotionals, and you can find them online here. I’d really encourage you to read through them as I found them excellent at explaining what this biblical sense of peace is actually referring to, and then sharing some biblical truths about making decisions.
A few weeks later I was listening to an online sermon, and the pastor spoke about this peace of God that passes all understanding. He said:
…you will not get the peace of God which passes all understanding until you give up the need to understand!
While this sermon was in a different context to my situation and what I’d learned through the devotional series, it was still another dimension to this sense-of-peace-lesson that God was teaching me. The sense of peace we have as Christians is the knowledge that we have been made right with God and that he is in control.
The other thing I’d like readers to take away from this post is the way in which God worked to teach me this. He’s worked this way numerous times in my life, and if I keep paying attention, will continue to do so. It happens when I face a situation in my life, and start to discern what God is teaching me in it. Then not long after he’ll reinforce and extend that lesson through other avenues, as if to say, “Yes, you have heard correctly. And here’s a bit more for you to chew on.”
I love that there is no end to learning more about God and his word 🙂