My Desperate Search for Peace

My Desperate Search for Peace

Written by: Amanda Teo (Photo by: Kimberly Rachel Yang)

How can we find peace in our daily lives?

There have been numerous moments in my life when I’ve looked up towards heaven, and cried out with everything within me, “God, I need Your peace.” When my parents were quarrelling; when I was struggling with anxiety at work; when my future seemed bleak and uncertain.

I’ve always known peace to be like a silent calm — a tranquility that transports me into a zen paradigm amid the pressures from life. Whenever I had prayed for peace, all I wanted in my mind was to find an escape from life’s worries. It was my way out of anxiety.

The thing is: we’re all bent on breaking our backs to find peace (literally, for those who do yoga), which tends to involve a furious search for that quietness in our beings. From short getaways to chill nights at the bar, or even by scrolling through Facebook, we carve out spaces to find reprieve from all that the world demands of us.

At work, with KPIs to hit and expectations to meet, I regularly found myself battling with panic and physical breathlessness. When work piled up or when faced with challenges, my instinct was to hide away. I would try to shut out the anxiety and pressure by taking breaks: tapping away on Instagram for a few minutes, playing a game on my phone, or even taking a nap in the toilet. Finding “peace” took me through these escape routes. However, instead of finding peace, it merely distracted me from the task at hand, as I would have to return to the stressful environment soon after.

Peace is found in the presence of God

During a particular stressful and anxious period at work, I felt like I was going mentally berserk. I was at the brink of breaking down. With no control over the situation, I was completely at a loss of what to do.

When I was about to pick up my phone to scroll through social media, in an attempt to calm my mind down, the whisper of the Holy Spirit resounded in my heart, “Amanda, be still, your peace is in Me.” As I closed my eyes to draw my focus away from work, and centred myself in the presence of God once again, I found a peace instantly flooding into my being.

I was reminded of how peace was the specific gift that Jesus left with us before ascending to heaven — “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you” (John 14:27). This peace was sent to us through the Holy Spirit, where the very presence of God lives in and among us.

We may often struggle to find peace in the chaos and trials of life, but when we choose to host the presence of God in the midst of it all, his peace pierces through the noise of our lives. His perfect peace is truly found in His presence.

God’s peace protects us

In Philippians 4:6–7, the apostle Paul writes, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

On countless occasions, the reality of this verse has pierced through my anxious heart. As my brain furiously fired anxious thoughts at me, the voice of the Father spoke straight to my heart, “Amanda, be still. Do not be anxious, for I am with you and I am always good.” These three words — “do not be anxious” — has never failed to calm my raging spirit.

The activation of God’s living word in my life has enabled me to turn away from life’s worry, and focus on the Father’s heart. In communion through prayer, coupled with an earnest petition for the will of God to be done in each situation, the reality of His peace sweeps through my soul, silencing confusion and doubt. The purpose of God’s peace is to guard our hearts and minds in Christ.

His peace also helps us to stay in the right frame of mind in Christ, causing Philippians 4:8 to become a reality — we focus on “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable.”

There is power in His peace 

In my own search for peace, I’ve grown to learn that peace is more than attaining a quiet calm within ourselves. Peace is a powerful force when it is present in our lives. It is like a roaring river in the midst of a drought, pushing us to take that leap of faith in the direction that the Lord is leading. Peace possesses great spiritual strength — it shakes off every doubt, lie, and fear within us.

There is so much power that flows out of the divine peace of God. It not only empowers us to smile with confidence during each difficult circumstance, but it enables us to persevere through the roughest of storms, even when we don’t understand the journey or can’t see beyond the horizon.

I’ve learnt how empowering peace can be in significant moments: when I decided to be a missionary in Peru for two months, when I took up my first full-time job, or when I said “yes” to spend my life with one man. During these milestones, if I did not have the courage that His peace affords, I would not have made such life-changing decisions.

Peace isn’t about emptying out; it’s about being filled.

The world has often branded peace as an emptied mind (the absence from every trouble), but I believe that we can find peace when our hearts are filled with the mind and life of Christ through the Holy Spirit. Peace is not an emotional or mental state that helps us to cope with stressful situations; it is a spiritual understanding of who God is and simply abiding in Him. Christ’s peace can be found through difficulty; His shalom peace is a state of well-being, completeness, and contentedness that only comes from God.

Peace is found when we become still and are willing to recognise that He is God — not us (Psalm 46:10). If you’ve been wrestling with panic attacks and your heart has been worried sick, may you uncover the power and protection of His presence today. His peace can be found regardless of situation. May His shalom peace guide and shine upon you, from now and forevermore (Numbers 6:24-26).

AMANDA is an introverted extrovert who enjoys writing poetry with a chai tea latté at hand. She loves running at Pasir Ris Park in the morning, and exercising at daybreak is the only reason why she showers in the morning. Catch her if you can at @amandagraceteo.

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