Adapted and edited for the Jesus Calling Blog. You can find Pastor Nicewonger’s original post, The Road to Peace, here.
As you grow closer to Me, I open your eyes to see more and more of My Presence all around you.Jesus Calling, December 28
How do we find peace amid chaos? When turmoil reigns, anxiety rules, and worry is winning, how do we find the road to peace?
My Journal Talks
I came across something I wrote after meeting with my spiritual director. As we closed our time together, he invited me to live and move with the spirit of the Jesuits: seek first to discern God’s invitation, and do what you discerned wholeheartedly. Thus you find joy and peace.
I was struck by his words. They voiced the way I have sought to live and move through a significant portion of my life.
Notice the word sought. I have failed miserably many times over. Yet, if I am honest, peace has come when I have moved through life in such a manner.
Discern God’s Invitation
The first step on the road to peace and joy begins with discerning God’s invitation for how you are to live your life. As a unique individual, God has a plan for you. Discerning that unique invitation is important. God is not inviting you to be a carbon copy of someone else. Your gifts, abilities, experiences, and calling are special.
On a macro level, try to see where God is inviting you to work, who He’s showing you to have relationships with, even where He may want you to live.
Try to discern God’s invitation on a micro level by thinking about the ways to spend your day. Is God inviting me to put aside my plans and have coffee with someone today? Can I discern the opportunities that the Holy Spirit is putting before me?
If I am honest, this is not an easy step. I have learned a lot by recognizing what I have missed. Mistakes are great teachers. When I failed to discern God’s invitation in one situation, it prepared me to look at future opportunities through different lenses.
Do It Wholeheartedly
When we discern God’s invitation, we are to throw one-hundred-percent of ourselves into the work. Be it a relationship, a job, a task around the home, a time of worship, a period of rest, a ministry opportunity—whatever the invitation, it gets my full effort.
If God’s inviting me to have a conversation with someone, I work to stay engaged and listening to that person. If God’s inviting me to rest, I do it wholeheartedly without a sense of guilt or shame. Even when we do a task around the home or at work, we aren’t simply “punching the clock.” It’s an act of worship.
As we approach life in this manner, offering all of ourselves to whatever God has invited us to do, we will find joy. Yes, there may be seasons of hardship and struggle, but even in those times, we will have eyes to see the Spirit of God at work. And that will bring joy to our soul.
Be at Peace with What Is Left Undone
At the end of each day, there will be work left undone. If there isn’t, I would question if we have properly discerned God’s invitation.
I remind myself that I must be at peace with what is left undone. The sun will rise tomorrow. People will come alongside and help me complete the calling God extended to me in His invitation. If I gave a wholehearted effort for the day, I can be at peace with what is left undone. The phrase “content but not complacent” has come to help shape how I find peace at times like this.
Tomorrow is a new opportunity to Discern, Do, Find, and Be.
The Rest Just Falls Away
Learning to move through life Discerning, Doing, Finding, and Being allows the chaos, turmoil, anxiety and worry to become little more than background noise. Sure, they still exist. We can’t escape the realities of life.
Cancer is real. I am facing it right now. Yet God’s invitation is not for me to live each day as a cancer patient. There is a bigger, deeper invitation if only I have eyes to see and ears to hear it.
As with most lessons like these, I find myself adapting them to fit my experience with God and life. One of my greatest robbers of peace is thinking about all that is left undone at the end of a day, week, or month. Moving in a weaker, slower pace has only served to remind me of how much remains on the table and will completed by someone else on some other day. Adapting to this lesson allows me to confront that great thief of peace within my life.
Each of us has our “thing.” I cannot pretend to know what yours is. The challenge is to ask whether you are going to let “that thing” define you? Is your “thing” going to shape how you live each day, or are you going to move in such a way that you find Joy and Peace?
I know it is not easy. The first step begins with discerning.
How is God inviting you to live, move, and have your being today?
When you depend on Me continually, your whole perspective changes.Jesus Calling, September 2
About the Author
Daniel Nicewonger is a graduate of Messiah College and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Daniel has served as pastor for American Baptist churches in New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, and currently serves as the Pastor of First Baptist Church of Kennett Square, PA.
Daniel is married to his wife of 28 years, Nancy. They have two adult children, Joseph and Rayann. The Journey Continues is Daniel’s testimony that it is possible to find joy amidst life’s struggles. For more information, visit: http://www.danielnicewonger.com/the-journey-continues/.