Have you ever climbed a mountain, or even taken a really long walk? If you have, you know that it is not done in one step or motion but is accomplished over the course of many mostly small, and sometimes big and consistent steps. You do not reach the summit or complete the journey by staring at the peak or finish line, wishing yourself to be there. Rather, you make a decision to strap up your boots and get your feet moving. I believe that coming to a place of consistent peace is similar in the sense that it does not happen overnight or in one moment, but that it takes action, awareness, and even a decision on our part.
Isaiah 26:3 says, “You keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts you.” I first want to point out the promise in this passage of perfect peace, but also the actions that precede the promise. Oftentimes we think that peace will come after the storm is over, or as a result of some outside experience. However, we see in these brief few words that peace is a result of a mind that is, “stayed on [Jesus],” and a heart that “trusts [Him].” So then I think it is safe to say that peace depends more on us than we would like to admit. Peace comes when we, “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Cor. 10:5) Peace comes when we are able to identify and weed out the thoughts in our minds that align with God’s truth, and root out the lies that we believe about ourselves, God, and the world around us.
I do not wish to oversimplify or minimize the reality and severity of human pain, suffering, hardship, and loss. I myself have struggled with crippling depression and anxiety that was the result of very traumatic losses and experiences in my early years. I struggled with depression all through my teen years and into my mid 20’s. My first anxiety attack hit when I was 18 while working in a grocery store. I will never forget the feeling of utter panic and a complete loss of control over my thinking. I felt as if the whole world was standing in a circle, pointing a finger at me. You see, I had secrets. Secrets that I had kept locked away and hidden deep in my heart. My greatest fear was that people would find out all of my secrets and that I would be exposed as the dirty, worthless, whore that I believed that I was. In that moment I gave my fear and the secrets that I held power over me to dictate my mind, my heart, and my emotions. For many years afterward, I believed many lies about myself, God, and the world. That day in the grocery store was the day I became a victim, not to the situations or circumstances I had been involved in, but to my own mind and soul. I believed the lies and was convinced that I needed to bear the burdens and secrets that I carried alone.
So what brought me out of that dark place? How am I able to write these words today from a wholly different perspective, free from the fear and anxiety that crippled me? Well, simply put, I changed my mind. And while this might sound like an oversimplification, I can tell you that it did not happen overnight, or on my own. It was and still is a journey that I face every day. A journey where I have choices and decisions to make in terms of how I think about myself, my life, and the people around me. Choices to let people in or keep people out of my inner dialogue and thought life. Choices to fill myself with the word of God that is “alive and active, and sharper than any double-edged sword (Heb 4:12),” or with the lies that the world and others tell me. I am finding more and more how responsible I am for what goes into my mind and comes out of my mouth, and even for the very situations and circumstances that surround me. But I will say that it all starts with a choice. A choice to put your faith, hope, and trust in Jesus Christ. To receive His grace and forgiveness and to be reconciled to God by His death and resurrection. This is where true peace begins. It is the first step. The rest follows as we learn how to listen and obey the instruction of the Spirit, and to trust and submit to leaders, fellow believers, and trusted authorities. I’m not sure if I have reached the summit yet, but I know I am well on my way, and I am not turning back.
Desirae’s new life began in 2013 when she decided to give up her life and follow Jesus. During this time she quit her job, sold almost everything, and went on a one-year mission trip to spread the gospel and have her heart radically changed. Upon returning home, she put herself in ministry school and started serving in various ministries including youth ministry, young adult ministry, and worship leading. Upon graduation in 2018 she took a job with a startup non-profit and is now working for an organization whose heart is to help eradicate child sex trafficking. She currently resides in San Diego, CA and can be found leading worship in church on Sundays and going on hikes when time allows. Her dream is to continue impacting the next generation and to see Jesus change others’ lives in the same way He has changed hers.