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  • Writer's picturePayton Tilley

Between Peace, Confidence & Surrender



Hi again! Goodness, it has been a while since I have posted anything on here. Lots of new stuff has entered my life and little shifts, but I'm excited to say that I will be getting back to posting pretty regularly on here once more! Without further ado, let me be quiet and share what's on my heart.


Peace elicits a feeling of perfection for me. When people say "peace" or "I have peace", I imagine a person sitting in a room of white, cozy and untouched by reality, questions, or hardship. Like an ad or a perfect person living a near perfect life.


Two other words that conjure a feeling of impossibility are contentment and confidence. Contentment seems to be the idea of never desiring anything and never wishing for something to be different. And confidence feels like something people feign or - allow me to be candid - only people with power achieve.


While my feelings on the definition or connotation of these words may be valid to some point or half truths, recently I've come to realize that each of those words are something to be grasped and something to be pushed for in Christ. Peace, being content and confidence are not impossibilities. There is a verse that is quoted so often that comes to my mind when I feel that I could not hold these things . . . Luke 1:37: "For nothing will be impossible with God."


But the kicker for me was they could not be based on feelings nor can you EVER feel the true essence of any of them without laying something down and talking to Christ, giving it to Him.


That "something" is yourself. Your own agenda and own feelings. Mmm, yeah even the thought is scary. Having to give our own worries away, having to be raw and real, offering our everything is not exactly a walk in the park. The idea of surrender had always been beautiful to me, a church phrase and word that made it all seem grand and wonderful to be in His plan. Yet, when we pray and pray or do and do; and nothing happens, it suddenly isn't such a pretty fun word but a scary word.


This week, I've struggled with a couple situations and lots of thoughts in my head. Little and small. Past and future worries and thoughts. I battled with them to the point, I had no peace, but only anger and anxiety. I had no contentment, but only a feeling that I messed things up and God forgot me. I had no confidence because I did not see His purpose and I felt so inadequate.


It doesn't always take a major life event to pull us down to that. To rob us of our peace, contentment and confidence. Sometimes it's a simple worry, simple mix up at work or even a fear. And then, sometimes it is big things or flashbacks to big moments. I was there.


And of course, when it consumed me one day, I got to plan a lesson for the middle schoolers at my church. On Joseph. I knew the story, ya'll know the story. But as I was preparing it, it felt like God was nudging me at every turn.


When Joseph's brothers began to hate him, he probably felt that. Lost confidence. Then, when they laughed at his dreams, he took another blow. And even as he saw those dreams play out, it seemed like life ripped them away again and again every time he rose to a place and then fell back down.


It seemed his peace was taken when he was ripped from his family. His father's peace was stolen in grief.


And how could he have found contentment in prison, in being accused of rape, in God having given those dreams and yet every turn it seemed a bleak horizon stared back?


Peace, contentment and confidence are so easily broken by the flesh and this world. That's because the true meaning of those words can't be found in ourselves. In flesh. In circumstances. God covers us and knows the things we wrestle with, what I wrestled with these days and what I will wrestle with. God knows what you struggle with and how you desire to have those three things in your life. How we all struggle day to day.


Thinking of Joseph this last time, I noticed how God worked through every circumstance as Joseph trusted Him and came to Him. If you think back to when his coat "of many colors" was given to him, it was at a good time in his life.


The dreams, the possibility.


And then it was ripped off and covered in blood to fake his murder. Potiphar gave back the dream of ruling, then false accusations took it once more. Lastly, we read Joseph finally was given "fine linens/covering" again as he reached Pharaoh and God established Joseph's dreams.


The robe represents a dream, but it also reminded me of Christ's blood covering us. Holding us through all trials. His saving gave us direct access to God as we push toward dreams and the purpose He has for us.


As I struggled so much fighting for peace about situations and feelings this week. I fought to find that confidence that would enable to me to say, "it is well no matter what." My heart yearned to convey that I trusted God and no matter, I am content that You - the Creator and Author of Life - write my story as it unfolds.


The first part of Psalm 16:11 says this, "You make known to me the path of life . . ." I dwelt on that and Luke 1:37. And then, as I was driving home from work one afternoon after a morning drive full of anguish, this feeling of true peace hit me. As if God was whispering to my soul that He saw my concerns, my pain, my desires, me efforts to push to Him even when it hurt . . . It was a high of knowing that He was in control and He would fill me with what I needed to keep going.


Have I sunk back down into losing peace, confidence and contentment? Yes, you know the feeling, but it makes me fight harder to gain them and keep them through prayer and reading the scripture.


That surrender I mentioned above has to be nearly a daily thing - if not every moment. Because you live this life and know how fast the world wants to steal your peace, confidence and contentment. How often we get fearful and worry. How easy it is to be bitter and spiteful to others and even God.


My hope is this encourages each of us to look to how Joseph persevered . . . to be so confident of Jesus, to push our hearts to peace, to live so wholly content that God sees us and is control, that we cannot help but WANT to surrender. So we can in turn, share and live for Him, turning those tears to praise when we finally look back and see how it all weaved into a tapestry of color and purpose.


Always ~

Payton







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