Not too long ago, I was talking to a lady about her struggling marriage. There was no infidelity, and no abuse in any way. They didn’t see eye to eye on money, and that was the source of most of their problems. She made this statement to me: “I have a total peace about divorcing my husband.”
Still other times, I have witnessed people make a commitment and yet when it gets hard, they bail, with no consideration that they are leaving everyone else to pick up the pieces of the mess they left behind. And yet, they will say, “I have total peace.” I bet everyone left to deal with the aftermath don’t.
I, personally, have found myself in circumstances that cause me stress or anxiety and have hurriedly sought to fix what caused me the worry or fear with a supplemental “quick-fix” that was more like a Bandaid than real healing and change. And yet when I thought I had fixed the problem, I said, “I just feel so much peace about it.”
Could it be that we really aren’t experiencing peace at all? What if all we are doing is experiencing “relief” from the bad feelings?What if we are mistaking our relief for release and peace? What if we are short-changing God when we do this?
HAVE YOU MISTAKEN RELIEF FOR RELEASE?
God takes covenant and commitment very seriously. God the Father has always kept His Word. Jesus Holds to His Word. The Holy Spirit is true to His Word. The Trinity does what they say they will do. They keep their word. They are committed even when it gets tough. The cross proved it.
My parents raised me that “Your word is your honor. It may kill you, but you need to do what you say you will do.” That’s being faithful, reliable, and trustworthy.
God’s Word says something even stronger about lack of commitment:
Our worship is hindered and our awareness of His Presence diminished.
“Who may worship in Your sanctuary, Lord? Who may enter Your presence on Your holy hill?….those who keep their promises, even when it hurts.” Psalm 15:1, 4
There is great danger when we mistake our relief as release and peace. God has allowed the circumstances in our lives to grow us in some way. Relieving ourselves of the pressure prematurely can usurp the character that God is seeking to work-out in our lives to develop us into His likeness. If we get “relief” and mistake it for “a peace about it” before God has finished the work, we will find ourselves having to repeat the whole process again, because we didn’t learn what He wanted us to learn. We put ourselves in jeopardy of never learning what God so desperately wants us to learn.
Look at the relationships you are in right now. Look at the commitments you made to them. Look at the promises you made to people. Look at the current situation you are trying to control and find a quick-fix for. Ask yourself the question, “Am I after relief or deeper relationship with God and others?” “Am I mistaking the peace I think I feel for premature relief?”
God is committed to our total maturity in Him. Every circumstance we face is an opportunity to find more of Him that we could not have found any other way than the circumstances we are in. Otherwise, He would not have allowed them into your life. So take a new perspective about God, about your circumstances and about your commitments. Run them through the grid of “Am I backing out of my commitments, mistaking feelings of relief for feelings of peace?”
Don’t miss the process and the growth God has for you by prematurely breaking your commitments or making your problems “go away”. God is at work. Let Him complete that good work within you, while you surrender to His process to make you like Him.