I’ll never forget the first time I tried on my mother’s prescription glasses; my whole body felt assaulted as the clear crisp details of my world were instantly blurred and distorted. I will also never forget the contrasting experience many years later as I tried on my friends glasses, bracing myself for the expected full body assault. Instead the assault ended with an overwhelming flood of relief. I had no idea how many years I bore up under that oppressive assault; it came subtly, slowly building day after day, week after week, year after year. Building in incrementally small measures that I just accepted what I saw and felt as—normal. But in the clarity of that moment, as my ignorance was dispelled—literally at the speed of light—I knew that I could never go back to viewing my world the same.
In the same way, there are certain characteristic norms I used to accept in my life as normal. Things I allowed to control my life because of the previously accepted lenses I was looking through.
I wore these lenses on a constant basis and simply accepted the assaults that came with them as normal. It brought about a way of living that left me exhausted:
Anxiety about finances. Confusion about which job to take. Frustration with my children. Bitterness for a betrayed friendship. Envy of others accomplishments. Greed for what I didn’t have. Fear of failure. Pride of success. Selfishness because I wanted more time to pursue my dreams. Overwhelmed because of everything above.
Suddenly I remembered a verse—a passage that many of us Christians are simply all too familiar with.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7, NIV)
In that moment I was struck dumbfounded by this verse, as palpable as trying on my friends glasses. I realized in that moment I had been failing to do the very thing in this verse which was designed to stop the assault and restore the clear crisp details of my life. Pray.
Through prayer I needed to put aside self and strive, replacing it with Gods Holy Spirit and surrender.
Too often I forget to present my requests to God—to pray—submitting my dreams, my fears, my desires, my confusion, my anxieties, and my frustrations to Him. Too often I forget to allow Christ to sift through the complexities of my warring hearts-desires in order to allow the peace of God to guard my heart and my mind.
Friend, what assaults are you accepting as normal? Normal is the peace of God guarding our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.