Does God’s Will Always Feel Like Peace?

I wish we’d stop measuring the will of God based on peace.

When faced with a big decision we ask each other: do you have peace about it? Where’s the peace? Do you feel at peace about that decision?

We think that wherever the peace goes, we should go too.

But lately I’m wondering if peace is actually the foolproof compass we imagine it to be.

If you read through the bible, most of the people in the stories had really scary assignments: Go someplace you’ve never been, fight a giant, give birth to God’s child, die on a cross.

Nothing about these assignments screams peace to me—at least not peace in the way we usually think of it.

When I think of the word peace, I think of a hot shower on a cold morning, a fluffy bed at the end of a long day, or a hug from my dad.

And for some people, the will of God may feel like that.

But for me, that kind of peace has led me astray every single time.

I have felt peace about decisions that were really, truly, wrong for me. I was praying about it, I was seeking the Lord’s guidance, but I still had total peace that I should marry him… and him… and him. Red flags be damned.

If you feel peace when the Lord is leading you somewhere…good for you. Enjoy being wrinkle free for the rest of your life.

I, on the other hand, am going to have a face like a Shar Pei from all of the times I’ve been asked to do things that scare me to death.

I have yet to see the name of a man in the sky, or a gigantic road sign saying, “Hey, Stephanie May… move to Georgia and work for a missions organization.” Although it’s probably a good idea that God doesn’t work that way. If he did, I would probably think he was talking to the other Stephanie May that was considering a move to Georgia in the name of missions.

Does God's Will Always Feel Like Peace? - The Lipstick Gospel

I don’t hear a voice from above, and no matter how hard I beg and plead, God rarely gives me the kind of confirmation I’m looking for.

But along with a major lack of signage when God is leading me somewhere, I also have a distinct lack of peace.

I cry like a baby in the face of life change. All of the positive possibilities fade away and all I can see are the unknowns and the shiny options I’m leaving behind.

I’ve learned to trick myself into big decisions—signing up with a down payment months in advance—committing to something I know I’ll be afraid of later. I spend the next several months crying and throwing temper tantrums, but at least it’s too late to change my mind.

But on the other side of those fear-filled decisions have come the sweetest parts of my life. That first mission trip, the chance to study abroad, quitting the conventional career, going back to it years later, have all been the most terrifying, best decisions of my life.

If we’re doing life the way that Jesus did, then peace might be the wrong thing to pray for. Jesus told us to take up our cross and follow him—to lose our lives so we can gain them.

I don’t know about you, but losing my life sounds like a terrible thing. It sounds like ditching all of my efforts at planning something good for the itty-bitty hope that God could whip up something better.

I think that’s why they call it a leap of faith, because it feels like a leap. The fear, the unknown, having no idea what’s waiting for you at the bottom, your heart feeling like it’s going to come out of your throat, and the acute knowledge that you’re screwed if God doesn’t show up…that sounds like a leap to me.

Does God's Will Always Feel Like Peace? - The Lipstick Gospel

God’s people have done some crazy things through the years. They’ve conquered kingdoms, shut the mouths of lions, and died for the things they knew were good and right.

They were crazy, radical, by-the-skin-of-their-teeth and by-the-grace-of-God kind of people.

But God tells us not to be afraid. He tells us to be strong and courageous, to trust him, to have faith and not to doubt because with the kind of life we’re going to live with him, we’re going to need that advice. And it’s scary, but it is always good.

Every single time it’s been better than I ever could have asked for or imagined.

Every single time God gets to look at me and say, “Stephanie, this is why following me is ANYTHING but boring.”

Does God's Will Always Feel Like Peace? - The Lipstick Gospel

I want that kind of life. I want to be living proof that God caught me every single time I found the courage to jump.

Where are you looking for peace in your life? What would it take for you to jump?

To see this article in its original location, check out Thoughts By Natalie!

Comments

  1. says

    Wow Stephanie, this is so good! And I totally understand what you’re saying. I have faced choices in my life that seriously caused me stress. I think back to when I was 19 and trying to decide if I should really go to this small bible college in Missouri (which was a big deal for me considering I’d always lived in Texas. I prayed my heart out but I never heard a the big booming voice of God (like in the old Chuck Heston films) tell me, “JEREMY! MISSOURI IS WHERE YOU NEED TO GO. NOW GO!”

    Honestly, that kind of confirmation would have been pretty sweet…but that’s not what happened. I then decided to be like Elijah in the old testament…I shut my mouth and my thoughts and waited for that still small voice to tell me what to do…and you know what happened? Not a dang thing.

    So in the end I just had to make a decision and roll with it. I remember talking to one of my mentors before I moved to Missouri and telling Him how I wished God had had given me more confirmation with this choice. I was excited to go, but I was also uncomfortable not knowing if it was the right choice. My friend just looked at me and smiled and said, “Jeremy remember this, God is not concerned with your comfort, but with your character.”

    And then it hit me…I don’t need to have peace in the midst of this choice I’m making…I just need to trust that no matter what I’m not alone…and God is going to be there with me every step of the way. It’s not about feeling comfortable…it’s about how we respond when things get uncomfortable.

    Awesome post, thank you!

  2. says

    I truly felt God call me to move to Atlanta four years ago. It was as if He was sitting next to me in the car on the way home from visiting a friend there. And even though it was a huge leap of faith, I felt underlying peace throughout the whole process of quitting my solid job, selling everything I owned, saving up money, and telling everyone goodbye. I just knew I was doing the right thing.

    In a way, I think that spoiled me.

    In my relationship, it feels more like leaps of faith into the unknown with no real assurance that I am doing the right thing. It’s not that things have been bad. I have just never known what a healthy relationship looks like and I’m learning everything as I go. Same for John. And there’s really no amount of reading relationship books that really prepares you. I just go through each day surrendering to God and taking a leap of faith and reaping the good as it happens, as we make progress.

    The peace hits me most when I am anxious and cry out to God. I tell Him I don’t need Him to remove the conflict going on because I know it’s for a reason, but to help me get through it, and that’s when I get the “peace that surpassing understanding.” If we had peace all the time, we wouldn’t work towards anything. We’d just sit still. In our comfort zone. Nothing we do is wasted by God and I’ve learned that often it is fear of something that tells me I’m doing the right thing instead of peace.

  3. says

    I’m a recent college grad and am eagerly search for that first job. So far, the rejection emails have been pouring in and I’ve started to question everything I thought I knew: am I good enough, is this the career for me, etc. While I wait for that first job, I’m doing an internship in a town that I’m less than comfortable in. There is no peace for me here. This post has help me see that being uncomfortable is okay. This uncomfortable feeling I have has made me feel weak and vulnerable, but it has allowed me to understand that it’s okay to be weak and vulnerable (https://alishalambertpr.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/a-beautiful-story/). Because I feel scared and so not peaceful, I am finding strength in HIM. I never really thought about peace like this before. Thank you for sharing!

  4. says

    Stephanie!! Girl, you took the words right out of my mouth! I’ve been thinking on this for a few weeks after going through a really rough emotional time that threatened to knock me down for good. I was thinking about how many times we go by our emotions, how we’re feeling right now, than we go by our God. That’s caused me to question whether we’ve made our emotions our functional god or the God of the Bible the God of our lives (by “our”, I mean me). I definitely agree with you in saying that peace is not always where God is leading us and sometimes it’s a giant, super huge leap that causes us major anxiety, but later on teaches us to trust Him more. Love you, chicka!

  5. says

    Thank you for this beautiful post! It came at just the right time as I am feeling called by God to take a leap of faith in a particular area in my life. These words speak life to me today. Have a lovely Independence Day!

  6. says

    Last week I was reading Hosea, and I was struck by the fact that when God told Hosea to marry Gomer it wouldn’t have made any sense. Marrying a prostitute would’ve gone against everything Hosea knew. And yet God asked Hosea to marry her. It’s led me to realize that sometimes God asks us to do things that don’t make sense. Not only when we’re facing two decisions and he leads us to choose the one that makes less sense, but beyond that. Sometimes God presents us with situations that in no way fit into anything we were asking, hoping, planning, praying for. I need to work on listening to God in all things, even when it doesn’t make sense.

  7. misscaramichele says

    I love this. Sometimes, I think we get really confused about what peace really means. I know I do. It’s not a feeling, not transitory, it’s something else entirely, something completely God. And when we pursue feeling comfortable about something, which is often what we mean by “peace” we are often cutting God out of the equation entirely.

  8. says

    Trust is not about acting in peace, it’s about acting in faith. I searched and searched for peace in regards to relationships, and I have yet to feel it. The only peace that comes in this regard is when I remember: God is in control. As long as I trust Him, I can handle whatever comes. This has nothing to do with peace about the actual decision, but rather, peace that even in making the wrong decision, God will take care of me.

    Thank you for posting this. You always write interesting, helpful posts, but this one in particular is very pertinent to my life.

  9. says

    Amazing amazing post! This goes so well with the book I am reading, “follow me” by David Platt. I’ve felt India on my heart for the past couple of months. I’ve come up with silly reasons not to go but it’s so so hard to avoid it now. I’m a sophomore in college and recently my career choice has been on my mind. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do but then Jesus said, whoa there. Slow down a bit. I’m thinking about Youth ministry now rather that my PR major!! He does incredible things that I could not even ask for or imagine. How faithful!!!

  10. Vonna says

    This is so amazing! I was actually wrestling with the notion of “feeling peace in your spirit” as God telling you that whatever-you-are-concerned-with is TRULY His will, and then after seeing some unsatisfactory websites, I stumble across yours! I love LOVE your website and the life journey that God has you on, and I understood everything you wrote about because I go through everything you have mentioned (with my own life’s special twist :-) ). I’m in a similar situation as you in terms of my soon-to-be one year old relationship with my lovely boyfriend, and after reading this plus some other ones, I feel strangely…alot more relaxed! “At peace” even, and that God is with me and guiding me through everything because I’m not the weird exception :) I really wish that we could be real life friends! God bless! <3 <3 <3

  11. Liezl nel says

    Am facing a huge life changing decision and reading your article helped alot, I nearly made the wrong decision because i felt no peace about leaving the city where we lived for 16 years and move to the farm, although i always had this dream in my heart to go make a living there some day. It seemed silly to leave a good job, good income, uproot everyone to follow this dream with real challenges coming along with it, and no guarenteed income..But i do believe now that to feel anxious about is perfectly normal, after all, God planted this desire in our hearts, husband and two kids all keen to go! So leaving end of June to go dairy faming! Thank you so much, so glad i saw your article!!

  12. Anna Kaye says

    Yes thank you for addressing this. I am super indecisive so I’m ashamed to say I rarely feel peace about decisions I make. I would always feel like I wasn’t close enough to God if I didn’t feel said peace. But God works out ever situation for good. And all we have to do is just show up and trust.

  13. Kara says

    I want to say, I was so happy to find someone who sees this the same way I do! Wisdom, history, and the bible tell us that the greatest things done on earth have been accomplished by those who dared to step (way) out of their comfort zones and take a leap of faith. We are always told to live by faith and not by sight; and let’s face it – in the flesh, that is terrifying! We are naturally creatures of comfort. It is much easier to take the path of least resistance and to feel peaceful about everything we do. But if we’re stepping out in faith, we’re going to feel some nerves! Sometimes we pray and pray and we think we’re being led down a rosy easy path to our destiny, when it’s the wrong thing all together. And sometimes, what we’re really meant to do is something we might have never considered. Look at Moses. He had every excuse in the world for God. I really doubt he felt “peace” in the way people talk about. But in the end, God had great plans for him. Sometimes it’s just about trusting that whatever happens, God will see us through. The great thing about God is that even if we make the wrong choices, as long as we keep our eyes on God, He will use our mistakes to guide us back onto the path he meant us to be on. As long as we surrender ourselves to his will, and do what he says, it all works out for our good. So there’s no need to worry! Thus, the peace of god :)

  14. Svet says

    Amen, I have found too that the hardest parts of my life where his name was most glorified and he was made known in my life. I have never found this “peace” in things he asked me to do, that I tried to run away from, but instead like you said he shows himself the most, and his name is known when we go through those trials. This gives me hope that the things I choose are no longer for my benefit, but for his name! Amen! Thanks for this

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