You’re just not feeling it. It seems like no matter what you do, you can only capture it for a moment… and then it’s gone. Sometimes you think you can go on vacation and capture it… but it never seems to last. Sometimes you try and buy it… but it still eludes you. What am I talking about?
If you’re like me, you thought that once you figured out how to manage your schedule better or achieve greater work/life balance or get that promotion or spend more time with your kids that you would finally be at peace.
But it didn’t happen.
You may even consider yourself to be happy most of the time, but there’s that gnawing suspicion that there’s something missing deep in your soul… a discontent that plays like background music in your everyday life.
Why is it there? Why does it keep playing despite the success and love and accomplishment you’ve experienced?
Here are 3 reasons why you might be struggling to find peace:
#1 If you depend on external behaviors you won’t find inner peace.
That’s because external behaviors only have temporary effects. Vacations are great to feel peaceful, but they don’t address the real issue–what’s happening on the inside.
In an oxford.com article, “The Psychology of Shopping,” Naomi Canton writes that during an economic downturn (when people are feeling lost or discontent) there is: “an increase in the sale of fast food, alcohol and confectionary, too. They all thrive. In spring 2009 Americans were using these products to pick up their mood. They couldn’t afford a fancy restaurant, but they could afford McDonald’s or a Cadbury’s chocolate.”
But the mood never lasts, does it? External behaviors, at best, produce temporary peace. They are like self-medications that don’t address the root of the problem.
What if I told you there is a better way? What if I told you that you could experience a deep, abiding, inner peace no matter what is going on externally your life?
It would be a game-changer, right?
#2 Your discontent could be a spiritual symptom
Lost people are not content. Now, before you get offended, let me explain. I’m not using “lost” as a pejorative term, I’m just using it to describe anyone who cannot answer the two big questions in life: Who am I? Why am I here? (Which can apply to anyone, at any time, including followers of Jesus).
It’s like the Bourne Identity (2002). Jason Bourne wakes up on a boat in the middle of the ocean, not sure who he is or why he’s there. He is confused, angry, and discontent… because he’s lost. (Okay, he’s full of bullet-holes too, but just work with me here).
But, there is a remedy
In Jesus’ day, the concept of peace was based on the Jewish notion of Shalom. While we might think of Shalom as a synonym for peace, it actually means much more. It’s about wholeness… wellness… contentment and satisfaction with every area of life. They understood it as something quasi-physical, something that God rests upon you.
Jesus is often called, The Prince of Peace. The Prince of Shalom. And here’s what he says about the peace he offers: “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 do not give to you as the world gives. In other words, my peace, is not found in external behaviors, but inner rest–the remedy to a troubled heart.
When you put your faith in Jesus, God brings peace to your innermost being. And the reason is simple: you experience a restored relationship with God instead of a broken relationship with God. This, in my experience, is the difference between peace and discontent. It’s something that God does to me on the inside.
#3 Maybe you still haven’t decided to take the antidote
Knowing about faith in Jesus, or hearing about faith in Jesus for many church Sundays is not the same as having faith. It is when we trust Jesus with our everyday lives that we experience peace. And this peace will replace that background music of discontent. So, no matter what is going on in your life–even if it’s hard or confusing or painful–your soul will still feel peace.
What if you could have peace no matter what was going on externally? How would that change your life?
Let’s decide to quit living like Jason Bourne. It may be fun to watch, but it’s an exhausting way to live.