Sitting in the waiting room next to my dad, I prayed—for the millionth time—peace. Peace over racing thoughts, peace over hearts beating triple time, peace in that surgical room, peace, peace, peace in the midst of Mom’s cancer.
This was our family’s second time facing the big “C,” and this time it was aggressive and scary, requiring surgery and chemo. This hated disease had already stolen others I loved, and as I sat next to my dad, I was reminded yet again that our lives on earth are fleeting, fragile, and precious.
Mom is the glue of our family, and my thoughts wanted desperately to spiral down the rabbit hole of what-ifs, to start contingency plans for the contingency plans for the contingency plans, in case cancer stole her too.
Don’t borrow trouble; tomorrow has enough of its own. My paraphrase of Matthew 6:34 was my mantra—the words I chanted in my head to keep my thoughts from spiraling before I’d turn, once again, to prayer.
When life is uncertain and chaos reigns, oftentimes the only things we can control are our thoughts. We have a choice: give in to the temptation to panic, allowing our thoughts to spin wildly through all the worst-case scenarios, or keep a firm reign on our inner dialogue, praying God’s promise of peace over ourselves and our loved ones every time our thoughts try to spiral into panic mode.
Peace does not mean we live in denial or present a falsely positive front as we stuff emotions deep. Peace means we get off the Tilt-A-Whirl of fear and anxiety and keep getting off that Tilt-A-Whirl, even if it means we have to do so one hundred times an hour. It means we intentionally still our bodies and our thoughts before the one who created the universe, asking him into the midst of our crisis. He promises that he will not leave nor forsake us, and that he will give us peace, no matter what we are facing.
Lord, nudge us when our thoughts start to spiral into fear and anxiety, reminding us you’ve promised us peace, no matter how scary, desperate, or uncertain the situation.
One Good Step: Develop your own peace mantra. Memorize your favorite Scripture on peace, and practice chanting it in your head when you find yourself on the Tilt-A-Whirl of fear and anxiety.