Yesterday, I wrote about my personal experience with PEACE and FREEDOM, and I mentioned that there’s a difference between being at peace and relaxing.
This is something I’m learning: It’s too easy to grasp for anything that we think will “bring us peace” or “be our peace,” when really, the things we go for are more relaxing than peace-giving. We are living in a time when we have EVERYTHING at our fingertips, so we have the option to use ANYTHING: TV shows, movies, and music to escape. Social media to create a persona of ourselves that we feel people might like better than who we really are. Bubble baths just to sit and breathe. Food we can indulge in, and it can even get delivered straight to us through so many 3rd party businesses. Alcohol and drugs to numb ourselves, money or the act of spending it to try to make us feel secure. We can even try to find peace in our jobs, overworking ourselves to distract us from the chaos that is occurring in our hearts.
But are these things bringing peace or are they just relaxing? Let’s talk about the differences…
What Relaxing Looks Like…
Relaxing is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “reducing tension or anxiety.” The root word relax is defined as “make or become less tense or anxious.” Any definition of these words uses the words “reduce” or “lessen.” Which means, if something is relaxing to you, it only temporarily relieves any stress, worry, anxiety, or fear that you’ve been feeling.
So all the things I mentioned in the second paragraph of this post are relaxing…they only relieve a stressful thought, situation, or person for a short time. You can be doing one of those things, and something will cause you to think about something that will bring your mind back to being stressed and anxious again. The comfort lasts as long as the relaxing activity lasts, or sometimes shorter.
Now, I’m not saying that doing any of these things is wrong (except alcohol and drug addiction), I’m just saying they cannot bring about true peace. They cannot end the restlessness you feel. It’s like slapping a bandaid on a cut; the bandaid doesn’t heal the wound, it simply shields it from infection and irritation.
What Peace Looks Like…
Peace is defined by the Oxford dictionary as “freedom from disturbance; tranquility” or “a state or period in which there is no war or a war has ended.” It is more conclusive, more final than relaxation is.
When you’re at peace, despite anxious thoughts looming in the back of your mind, you do not waver. Your mind is free from any possible tension or worry. It doesn’t mean the situations or people that cause the stress/fear/anxiety do not exist, but it means you’re capable of not being bothered by it. You can be at peace with a situation or a person, and that means you’ve come to a conclusion that you no longer are concerned about.
And this is why it’s so important to understand these differences, and what we choose to be our peace and our ultimate comfort versus what simply takes our mind off of things for the moment. If we believe peace comes from temporary things and activities, we may feel hopeless that peace even exists. But if we place it on the One Thing (God) that can truly wash our worries away, then we can continue to move forward and hope.
I remember writing a post last year about the whole “be his peace” phrase. People may read this post and think, “Well, I feel at peace when I’m with my friends, family, significant other, etc. Why can’t that be true?” And I do think that being around certain people who encourage you and make you feel safe is possible. In no way am I saying that things or people that allow you to relax are wrong; it’s not bad to have people in your life who relieve your stress, in fact, I hope you have more of those people and less of those who will cause stress, anxiety, fear, and worry!
The main question is: what in your life fixes the issues, and what just temporarily relieves them? And which one do you depend on/put your faith in?
Now that we’ve discussed the differences…
- What are things that relax/relieve you?
- What is your peace rooted in?
- Who are the people in your life who help encourage you, relieve your stressful moments? Thank them today! Tell them you appreciate them!