The staff at The Well is committing to find “five minutes of peace” daily in Advent. (Join us! Find the details here.) For the next few weeks, we’re sharing reflections on our own experiences of this practice. We hope that hearing what this is like encourages you during your own Advent and gives you a peek behind the curtain at the people who make Women in the Academy and Professions happen.
I set my timer for five minutes and three seconds — an extra three seconds so I could settle in. During advent this year, I am practicing five minutes of peace and quiet every day. The eternity of five minutes I experienced as a child has long since been replaced with the “blink of an eye” five minutes of the adult life. My time of peace is over far too fast.
I long for peace like a river in my soul. In some seasons of life, peace is more like a dry-earth, cracked-ground, hasn’t-seen-water-in-years in my soul. But feelings don’t always reflect reality. And this feeling is definitely a misleading one.
With today’s five minutes, I asked God to reveal what he wants me to learn about peace. He brought to mind a promise: “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.” (John 14:27)
I have access to the peace that Jesus Christ promises he left for me — for all of us. So, what is getting in the way? Why do I feel desert-dry on occasion? The answer lay at the end of the verse. The culprits? Fear and a troubled heart. Thorns of worry and rocks of hardship cloud my faith as I focus on my life’s circumstances. All that energy I use to worry leaves little room for peace. Top it all off with an overscheduled day leading to an exhausted Netflix binge — and peace hardly stands a chance.
So, does peace come from self-discipline? Does it come from more time? Is peace a feeling that comes and goes? What about God’s promise that he left his peace with me? God gives us the answer through the apostle Paul in Philippians 4 — Rejoice in the Lord always, and because the Lord is near, give thanks and do not be anxious….instead, ask God and think about these things: things that are true, noble, right pure, excellent, and praiseworthy. And God’s peace will guard my heart and mind. (Philippians 4:4-8, paraphrased).
This advent season, I am taking hold of the peace God left me by practicing these things:
- Rejoicing in God’s promise and his presence;
- Giving thanks in all circumstances for God’s provision, his faithfulness, and his character;
- Taking my anxious thoughts captive and instead thinking about what is true, noble, right, pure, excellent, and praiseworthy; and
- Moving forward with trust that God’s peace is present because the Prince of Peace lived and died as God with us and left his Spirit to empower us to live the good news of the gospel and share it — in our homes and even to the ends of the earth.