Growing up, I never “fully” slept, and I thought that was normal. I was easily interrupted from my sleep by ANYTHING, which meant that I was always tired. I also did not have a sound mind; I didn’t have peace. It wasn’t long after I started going to church that I felt uncomfortable living a life without peace! Although I felt this way, I still had no idea how to fix it. I didn't grow up in the church, so I didn't know how to bring it up. I caught on very early that there was a “fit-in” language used in the church and I wasn’t going to be the odd ball by asking how to live my life with peace. Everyone seemed to have “figured it out”, at least they acted like it.
A few months later, I started working at the Pretoria High Court, as a Casual Languages Interpreter (By the way I only spoke 2 of the 5 languages I said I could speak!) I lied to get the job. Don’t judge me, I was young and ambitious! Whilst working there, I met a lady whom I’d later be roommates and ‘friends’ with. She was older, Christian, and more responsible. I figured that, with my new adult job, this arrangement would be perfect! Within a few weeks of moving in, she persistently asked me to go to church with her. I was “saved,” but I ONLY went to church when I got myself into desperate situations that needed a bigger power. You probably have done that too, so stop it Judge Judy!
Nonetheless, I eventually accepted the invitation, and as soon as I attended this church service, something just felt off! I got a lot of weird attention from the Pastor and I was told I needed to be prayed for, which he did. Even after the prayer, the empty feeling inside me didn't go away. I still had no peace! Eventually, I got the guts to ask my roommate/’friend’ why I haven't experienced peace, because all Pastors talk about is how your life will drastically change after you start following Jesus. Why hasn't my life changed?
My question, which was a cry for help, led me to finding out why I kept being invited to church. The Pastor had insisted on seeing me, after he was told about “me". The Pastor and my ‘friend’ in their discussions about me had apparently concluded that I had an evil spirit, a spiritual husband, and demonic attachments. Unfortunately I was seeking help from someone who had already made up her mind about my behaviour. I said to her, “I don’t really sleep at night. I feel like I am half awake, and my mind is never really quiet.” Her response was, “There is no peace,” says the LORD, ``for the wicked,” Isaiah 48:22 and “Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to His people…” 1 Kings 56.” Yes, she quoted the latter scriptures then further explained to me that God will NOT give me peace because there was something wrong with me. I needed to have demons cast out of me. Later, she began terrorizing me by throwing water around my room and praying in weird languages (which I later learned was called praying in tongues). She was rebuking the evil that was in her house.
This was all a huge shock to me, as I was a new Christian. I had no idea what she was doing or what any of it meant, but it all made me feel like I was a terrible person. I felt as though that was why I was not worthy of peace, and I had to work hard to get it. In a way, she confirmed the mind games and insecurities I had been feeling, because receiving the love of God in its fullness is not easy, especially after living a “loveless” life.
I eventually moved out of this ladies house. I started attending a different church; still seeking peace. The Pastor preached such a freeing message that Sunday, and it changed everything! He said, “Don’t over complicate it, take a few breaths, don’t rationalize it- simply just ask God to fill you with His peace and while you are at it, tell Him the truth. Tell Him about your fears, worries and how you’ve tried everything. He already knows, but tell Him anyway. Then, ask for His Holy Spirit to come into your life and heart; He will help you.” That worked for me! It was really that simple. It still is. I have days where I feel like I’m losing my peace, then I remember to just ask the Holy Spirit for help, and it works every time!
I’ve told you this incredibly long, elaborative story because 1. I want you to know that the map to peace is only through the Holy Spirit. It is not found in people, but only in Jesus Christ. 2. Don’t over-complicate it. It is that simple. Jesus has already paid the price so that we don’t have to. 3. I wanted you to know that there are some weird “Christians” out there, but don’t blame Jesus for our sucky behaviour as humans. He still loves you and he sees you. 4. Older doesn’t mean wiser, and some people don’t know how to be good friends, because they too are still healing from their traumas, but extend grace always. 5. Lastly, pray for those who mistreat you, or misunderstand you, something in them is broken and they too are in need of God’s love to change.
To date, I continue to have the incredible gift of genuine, uninterrupted peace. I still go through human experiences good and bad, but I have peace through them because His peace surpasses all understanding. This only happens when we allow Jesus and the Holy Spirit to transform our minds. I had to let go of ego driven beliefs or views that were forced by other people on me. God loves me and he would not punish me with anxiety, depression, or stress, as those things are a result of the fallen world we live in. His desire for me is that I be healed. However, I have to make room for His peace, love, grace, and abundance.
How did I do that? I have had to forgive, allow myself to heal, let go, and change toxic patterns, thus making room. God is then able to fill my heart and life with peace, joy, and abundance. The best part is, I don’t have to figure it all out on my own. I have the help of the supernatural, all knowing, powerful Spirit of God to help me. I just have to be willing and show up everyday ready for change.
Peace, rest, a sound mind, and freedom are available for you, too. You don’t have to live in the jail of anxiety, stress, and being always overwhelmed. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you, today. He knows exactly what to do and how to heal every broken part of us.
As I made room for the Holy Spirit to move and speak, I realized that I couldn't fully sleep because of unprocessed childhood trauma, which happened mostly at night. I allowed God to heal and help me through it all. Today, you can move my bed to another country, and the Lord will still give me good sleep, in abundance. I’m able to wake up early in the morning feeling fresh, filled with joy, and with a great mind. Peace has also led me to having a creative mind and a life I am content with. Surrendering to God was so worth it for me! Now, it's your turn. He loves you and He wants you to have peace. He is not mad at you; Remember, there's nothing you can ever do to make God love you less, because He created you in your mother’s womb. Make room for Him, today.