“Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” – Author Unknown
Do you ever crave true peace?
We live in a world that competes for our attention. There are so many voices speaking at us and to us. Both from the outside, as well as the thoughts from within.
We often don’t feel peaceful.
and people …
With all their thoughts, needs and opinions;
battling for our attention.
Some days we feel like we are drowning in noise.
Even in the silence.
It is actually often in silence that our own thoughts become louder. All the different opinions, perspective and voices from ourself and others fly around in our heads, as we attempt to work out how to live this life as best we can.
We long for peace.
We search for it everywhere:
Perhaps a holiday will help.
Maybe TV will block it out.
Perhaps having a few drinks might drown the noise.
Maybe that bar of chocolate.
The perfect partner.
A night out.
…Will distract and cover over all the noise, insecurity and stress that we feel in the hidden depths of our hearts and minds.
“Inner peace (or peace of mind) refers to a state of being mentally and spiritually at peace, with enough knowledge and understanding to keep oneself strong in the face of discord or stress. Being “at peace” is considered by many to be healthy and the opposite of being stressed or anxious.” – Wikipedia
I love this definition and can totally relate to it. I have felt it, it is there in my heart. It is what gives me strength in hard times.
But some days I still have to seek it, find it and receive it.
Peace is always there, but it sometimes gets hidden by all the other noise. Or we can get distracted from it, by the force of the storm around us.
I am in a storm right now that won’t go away. Whatever we do it won’t seem to budge. I have a spinal/ brain condition, from an injury, which means I have to lie down flat all day (apart from using the bathroom etc). Otherwise I feel exceptionally unwell.
Sometimes things go wrong in our lives. Regardless of how positive you are. How much you fight it. How much you pray. How much faith you have.
Bad things still happen.
Sometimes we are responsible or someone else played their part. Sometimes it’s the combination of a crazy set of random circumstances. Sometimes it is a mix of the two.
But tough things do happen. Storms will come that won’t seem to budge.
And all we can do is survive them.
But is that all we can do?
Maybe we can do more than that. Perhaps we can thrive in the midst of them. Letting the storm rage around us, while we just bask in the peace within us.
The peace has always been there over the past 9 months. In fact, neither my husband or I expected or really worried that my injury would cause major health issues for this long.
Over the years, we have learnt to look at everything positively and with faith. I never even begun to imagine that all this could happen after ‘that fall’.
But it has.
When I was first told I had a concussion – I dismissed it, in part, thinking ‘well it can’t be that bad’ I am sure I will be OK in a few days.
You see I am used to ‘bouncing back’ I have never really been ‘ill’ for more than the occasional few days. I am normally a very healthy person.
When they then told me I had ‘Post-Concussion Syndrome‘ and I would probably be out of action for 8 weeks. I honestly thought – nah not me – give it 4 weeks tops.
When I was then diagnosed with a CSF leak after 9 weeks, I thought OK one epidural blood patch will do me and I will bounce back – no worries – and all this will be over.
When it didn’t ALL go away after my first blood patch, I believed it’s perhaps just going to take a bit of time – I’m going to be 100% better soon.
When five months later things started getting worse again, I thought, this is just a blip I’ll just take it easy for a bit and then I’ll be back.
When I completely relapsed and ended up back in hospital – I thought, I will be OK, they will give me another blood patch, I’ll be sorted and it’s all going to go away.
But that was nearly 4 weeks ago and there seems to be every barrier being thrown up to stop this blood patch from happening.
My condition is apparently complex.
I have learnt that sometimes storms linger for a while.
Whatever we do,
Whatever we say,
Whatever we pray,
Whatever we believe,
the storm lingers.
What do we do when nothing is working? When we are tired and weary? When we don’t know what to do anymore and there seems no way forward?
There are two things we can do.
- We give up, allow ourselves to sink into self pity and be carried away by what is happening. Letting it begin a process that will consume and destroy us, our relationships, and our mental and spiritual health.
- We choose to dig deep and seek out the inner peace that is available in the midst of the storm, and keep on moving forward in faith.
Number one is not an option for me. I will NOT allow what is happening around me and to me to steal my inner peace and wreck my relationships. I won’t let it dictate how I should behave.
Because when there is nothing left, I still have God. Even when things are tough, I still have faith. Even if the wait goes on, I still have trust.
When the storm rages I can have a peace that passes all understanding. AND I KNOW, THAT I KNOW, my relationship with Jesus will sustain me through all the trials and all suffering.
If my faith in God and the peace I have only remains firm in the good times, then my faith is very shallow.
But when I can say:
I DON’T UNDERSTAND THIS.
The way forward is not clear.
It is really hard.
I feel stretched and challenged everyday.
I have moments where I want to give up, crumple in a heap and get angry at everyone.
Moments that I break down because it’s too tough, I am again in pain and there is no end in sight.
However, despite it all…
MY GOD IS ALWAYS GOOD AND ALWAYS FAITHFUL.
That is when I know that my faith is secure. That is the moment that I know that I have peace because Jesus is with me every step of the way.
Like a small child whose anxiety and fear goes away because their parent is by their side. I have a Father in heaven who walks beside me saying “You are going to be OK because I am with you – ALWAYS. I will love you through this and cover you with my grace and strength.”
I no longer need to understand it all. I just have to trust in Him.
That is the inner peace that passes all understanding. That is how we can rest in the storm. In a place that discouragement, worry, anger, bitterness and blame can no longer eat away at us.
The storm then looses it’s power over us and we begin to thrive in it’s midst. Growing stronger, getting wiser and taking hold of that all consuming peace that never lets us down and empowers us to keep pressing on regardless. There is always peace hidden in the storm but you have to learn how to seek and find it.
You have to learn how to seek and find HIM.
“… God’s peace … exceeds anything we can understand.” –Philippians 4:7 The Bible
How do you find peace in the midst of the storm?
To read more about my ongoing story of living with a chronic spinal CSF Leak click here.
Here is a brilliant 2 min animation about Spinal CSF leaks.