We can earn a million dollars and never feel that peace. We could get that job we always thought we wanted and never feel that joy. We could reach retirement with our plan intact and not have a thankful word on our lips. Goals are great and needed but they must be the right goals or it will be a wasted life.
The problem is with perception and expectation. From a young age we are shaped and trained with other people's expectations. It starts off with our parents, and they only want the very best for us. They speak their dreams and hopes into us but often these are dreams and hopes already shaped by society. Then we are faced with advertisements which bombard us with images and slogans of perceived success. We face it in school, with friends and sometimes even in church. Most people don't even give it a second thought and just go with the flow, with society's perception and expectations. So many lives wasted.
In it all there is God's quiet and gentle voice calling us to something so much different; something that deals with our true well being. Quiet words, such as:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28-29)
Jesus promises so much more than our small goals ever could. He offers more than the greatest job, best education, biggest retirement fund:
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)
Just because you are a Christian doesn't mean you have discovered the truth of these words. Too many of us don't have a clue that we are suppose to trust God; that we are suppose to follow his instructions; to listen for his direction. We accept Jesus and then continue pursuing life as usual but Jesus told us specifically not to do that:
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:31-33)
We hear the words but fail to understand; fail to allow them to affect our life; fail to allow them to change or perspective and expectations. Failing to understand these words prevents us from living a life of "risk" (faith), and keeps us in a very "safe" (dull) place all of our lives. There is no growth, just existence. Do these words have any effect on you:
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:15)
Jesus has given us peace, now we must allow that peace to rule our hearts. That means considering what is important to God and walking in that thing. It means allowing his priorities to become our priorities. It means allowing the Holy Spirit to instil God's values in us. But mostly it means letting go of everything we are dependent on and trusting God. Can you do that? Let go of society's expectations? Allow Jesus' love to be our motivation for all things, to desire to reflect his glory in all we do and say, in the choices we make? We must allow God to define success for us.
I want to wake up every morning with a desire to live life to the fullest. I don't want to feel horrible because it is morning; I want to feel excited. I don't want to see my day filled with boring routine but with endless possibilities. I don't want to see people as an interruption but as my reason for being here. I don't want to exist; I want to live life in abundance because of Jesus. And when I put my head on my pillow at night, I want a heart overflowing with thanksgiving and a great sense of peace, no matter what I faced that day.
This is all possible as we take Jesus' hand and allow him to lead.