Which word best describes the consistent state of your soul: peace or adrenaline?
Are you characterized by “untroubled, undisturbed composure and well-being” (New Testament Greek definition of peace), or are you in a constantly stressed, adrenaline-laced, fight-or-flight posture?
Most of us would align with the latter. It is the bane of our 21st-century Western Civilization existence to ride the endless roller coaster of adrenaline spikes and crashes.
And it is actually kind of funny when we consider that we are seldom engaged in activities that truly warrant that kind of response. We do not have to physically run from predators to save our lives. We do not have to hunt and overpower smaller prey if we want to eat dinner tonight. We are not surrounded by constant dangers that startle us and send our hearts into panicked palpitations.
Except that we are.
Although the comforts of our modern life have never been greater, the pressures and stresses of life have risen alongside them, and most people are awash in an unstable sea of pressures, insecurities, and demands that are beyond our control.
We need two scoops of adrenaline with our morning coffee just to survive.
Fortunately, it is into this kind of world that the Gospel message still speaks: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” (Luke 2:14 emphasis added)
How do we move beyond the adrenaline and access that peace?
- It begins by accepting Jesus’ gift of eternal life so that our existential worries can melt away.
- Second, we practice love and forgiveness even when we are wronged. A forgiving soul is like Teflon to the stickiness of stress and anxiety.
- Finally, we hearken to the words of the late Dallas Willard who wrote, “Because He who loves me is Love, I live beyond harm in His hands. There is nothing that can happen to me that will not (eventually) turn out to my good. Nothing.”
The psalmist was telling the truth—we really can be still and know that He is God. (Psalm 46:10)
 Willard, Dallas, The Renovation of the Heart, Navpress, Colorado Springs, CO, 2002, 135