The peace of God can only be found in the present moment. He promises peace, but I lose it the moment I begin rehashing the past or rehearsing the future. I wrote about that in http://wp.me/p2G1u5-Ln, so I won’t rehash it now. God ended a difficult chapter last week and began a beautiful new one. I love a good ending, especially when it’s a surprise. The writer and reader in me loves leaving a chapter with a great feeling, and there’s nothing I like better than a new beginning. All endings lead to beginnings, and that was a big part of the learning this week.
I decided to rest instead of run this week, so peace caught up with my heart. I tore up the mountain in tears on Tuesday, but God brought me back down filled with the sweetest peace I’ve ever felt. I marvel at the difference in my before and after heart. I got something off my chest on that walk. I left the elephant that took up residence in my heart five years ago on top of that mountain. I came down feeling a thousand pounds lighter. Past regrets and future worries dissipated in God’s loving presence. His forgiveness gently lifted the weight of the world from my heart and left me transformed. I felt as though I had just lived through a year of Extreme Weight Loss in one hour. I literally jumped for joy because I was the me God created me to be.
Fear causes me to lose the peace God has in mind for me, and it was chasing love away. God made it clear that only love is able to cast out fear, and I had to choose whether or not to let it.
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” 1 John 4:18 (NASB)
God showed me the root of fear is a need for punishment, and He made it clear that He is tired of me wallowing in that need. He is not, and never has been, a God of punishment. He is, and always will be, a God of love. He knew only I could let go of my need to be punished and embrace the love in my path. Love does cast out fear, and that’s a lesson I lived and loved this week. God showed me I was surrounded by love, and that allowed me to put fear and punishment aside and let Him begin perfecting my heart. The Holy Spirit’s perfect love isn’t about being perfect. It is about getting rid of fear. Love perfects peace as soon as I tell fear to take a hike. I did just that with the help of a sweet loving friend this week, and it changed my heart in a beautiful way.