I pursue serenity in all aspects of my life. I view serenity as a path that leads to an idyllic state of peace and calm in an otherwise chaotic world. Humans unconsciously employ various methods to chase after serenity in an effort to escape the harsh realities of Planet Earth. The peace the world has to offer, though, is only temporary.
When my husband and I moved to Utah in order to live close to our son’s family, I thought we chose the perfect homesite to usher in a lasting sense of tranquility. The land was still being developed and lied barren at that time. I immediately fell in love with its raw beauty.
We chose a Victorian cottage home plan offered by the builder. During our planning session, no detail escaped my filter in making my dream home a place of total serenity. Coats of pale Sea Salt paint were splashed throughout the entire interior. Moving in, two Adirondack chairs were strategically placed on the expansive front porch to facilitate a panoramic view of the oh-so-quieting lake and majestic mountains. A coastal white sectional was positioned in the living room in a way that allows the outdoors to come in through the large windows swathed in muted sage. Experiencing our dreamy new home seemed like sampling a small taste of Heaven. Every inch of it oozed perfect tranquility.
Until it didn’t. For a full two years, the sawing of lumber and the hammering of nearby roofs consistently woke me up early in the morning and only ceased at dark. The views of construction vehicles and stockpiles of building materials assaulted my eyes. I could not find the beauty amongst the mess. Going outside to the front porch gave me a headache. Quiet ceased to exist in my new world.
A footpath leads around the lake and past the front of my home. Over time, the traffic increased dramatically, and became especially pronounced during the pandemic when everyone was encouraged to go outdoors. The parade of people walking daily on the path drove me into the nearby neighborhood to attain a more socially distanced form of exercise. It seems the folks who discovered the lake path during that time decided to stay the course post pandemic. It’s terribly busy out there.
Then, the developers of our planned community removed all of the natural beauty to the front of our home and replaced it with grass and another footpath closer to the lake. This attracts more hikers and fishers to our view. The hope of worldly serenity I had labored in has suffered considerable damage.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.
I do not give to you as the world gives.
Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.
God does not give peace as the world does. The world’s peace is brief and dependent upon circumstances. God’s peace is greater.
The temporary nature of worldly serenity keeps us in a state of constant seeking, wanting to fulfill this desire. We want no fears or worries to trouble us. All of life seems to flow swimmingly while we experience a state of serenity. However, living only by worldly peace and failing to receive the peace that Jesus gives becomes detrimental. We still have to face our problems when the brief thrill of worldly peace wears off.
God’s peace is not circumstantial. It is not merely a distraction. We can bear the difficulties within our realm because the Spirit of God has come to abide with us, helping to lift the heavy weight of our burdens.
So, I join the throng of people walking the lake path, taking in all the tranquil beauty for what it is–precious, but temporary. Although special, I do not revere these moments as a way to provide a lasting form of peace. I depend upon my relationship with my God to provide the peace-that-settles-the-soul serenity for me.
The peace of Christ possesses the power to hush a noisy world and to still an out-of-control situation. With the Spirit’s presence, even daily overwhelm can be managed with a sense of calm and resulting clarity.
Are you on a quest to find serenity in your world? Look up to God for a more perfect peace.
The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.