There are some words that you just associate with certain things. Peace is one of those words. I automatically associate peace with hippies and Christmas. (What? Laugh all you want, but you know it's the truth.) Peace was not, however, one of those words that I associated with myself.
This is not to say that I have some sort of constant inner turmoil, I've just never really connected myself with "peace." My mind is in a general state of racing, my thoughts are always on the next thing and my worries are often focused on the decisions of tomorrow. But in this season of my life, God is showing me time and time again how, if I just trust Him, the peace of the Holy Spirit can be absolutely overwhelming.
Philippians 4:6-7 has become vitally important and relevant to my life as a post-grad. The words have transcended ink on a page and become a rock to which I cling day after day. I find solace in their meaning and hope in their promise.
"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."
There have been a few situations in my life recently that have plagued my mind: try and try as I might, I could not make a decision, solve a problem, "fix" my life. Eventually, I gave up. I realized that I was not the one in power. They were not my decisions to make, my problems to solve, my life to fix. So I began praying: constantly, fervently, urgently. You would not believe the response. The moment I stopped worrying about these things and turned them over to God and trusted that He had the answers I was looking for an unspeakable peace swept over me. The only thing that mattered was that I had a God who was much bigger than all of my "problems".
But the best part? Within days of giving everything over to God I begin to see Him working in my life. And that peace never leaves me. Decisions are made easy when you know that you've considered them prayerfully and can feel God's hand pointing you in the right direction. And sure, new problems arise and new decisions have to be made, but our God is unfailing. He is greater, stronger, higher than any other.
So now, after months of faithfully living Philippians 4:6-7, I have a new word association. When I hear peace, I think of myself. A twenty-two-year-old girl who is ready to take on the world. A girl who is unfazed by big decisions and unafraid of life changes. A girl who is filled with God and His peace, which truly does transcend all understanding.