Walking in Peace

Social media can often be a double-edged sword. On one end of that blade, you can connect with people from all over the world and your community. On the other end of that blade, you can feel the emotions behind their posts, and some of these feelings are depressing. I experienced the other end of this blade this week, as I scrolled through feeds on all platforms to see my countrymen furious, somber, and lost. It’s times like these where I’m glad God freely provides to me one of His greatest commodities: peace.

Peace is an ocean breeze on a beach in the summer. Peace is a deep breath passing through the body. Peace is feeling refreshed after a restful slumber. Peace is confidence in the midst of trial. Peace can be a lot of good things, even in the presence of a lot of bad things. Peace from God surpasses even that understanding of it. This is the peace I need you to grasp.

A Black man by the name of George Floyd was unjustly killed by the police this past week. George Floyd is not even the latest name in this long list of unjust murders by the police. Yet, many took to the streets to protest, riot, vandalize, loot, and burn. Others presented think-pieces, threatening words, and open confessions. Some of these methods may seem unnecessary to you, but all of these methods are necessary to obtain some level of peace. My question to you is, have you tried to obtain peace for yourself lately?

Obtaining peace doesn’t always comes easy. For myself, I am in the midst of great changes in my life, and the uncertainty throughout has me rather unsettled. To combat this anxiety, I pray. Before, and above, all other methods I am about to list, prayer is at the top. Prayer is directing your heart in the right direction, openly confessing the dreams, hopes, desires, and frustrations in your mind, and releasing your soul to freely commune with the Spirit that restores peace to you. If you do anything, pray. Stop and pray right now if you haven’t today. You need to hear your words being spoken to God so you know you are being heard by Him.

Other ways to obtain peace are as follows: write your thoughts on paper, vent to a proper source, participate in a true solution, stretch or do yoga, workout, rest, disconnect from the source of your turmoil (news, media, social media, your thoughts), go for a walk, distract your mind with a fun activity, seek to understand the source of your rage, cry the withheld tears, scream, and, or, break something (preferably something that belongs to you and something that no one would miss).

In your attempts to regain peace, do not disturb the peace of others. The Bible says, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Matthew 7:12). You wouldn’t want someone to antagonize you while you’re trying to obtaining peace, so refuse to do so to others. This is more connected to your spirit man than you realize, and your spirit man provides the greatest source of peace as it is tied to the God who is called Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Besides, “blessed are the peacemakers.” (Matthew 5:9).

Do not confuse peace with pacifism. In America, Black men and women have had to run, fight, war, protest, riot, and plead to obtain the peace that they have now, which is still not enough to call it peace. It can only dare to be called peace because it started with demonic slavery. The same can be said for women, who have had to protest, fight, protect, and nurture better leaders just to have a little more respect and peace in this society. The Black woman has had the hardest route to peace in American history, as she has had to fight two battles, racism and sexism, to obtain her peace.

Sometimes war is required to find a place of peace, but being that war is excruciatingly inhumane, destructive, and scarring, you must exercise every other option, even ones not previously stated, before you turn to it to obtain peace. It is better to be a drug addict or alcoholic than to incite war. After all, those who live by the sword (or gun) will die by the sword (or gun). (Matthew 26:52) Violence only begets violence. This is all too evident in America, which is founded on violence.

Sometimes obtaining peace is simply about having to grow, become wiser, and become stronger. It is not an isolation technique or a destination resulting from getting high on marijuana. You have to come to an understanding about the world you live in. You have to come to an understanding about your place in the world and the reach of your impact in it. You have to know your full limitations.

Whenever I am stressed, I have learned I need to isolate. In isolation, I know I need to pray, do something fun, or stop my mind from overanalyzing. I play a lot of video games and watch a lot of TV to disconnect from the news and posts on social media. I’ve gotten to the point where I have to watch kid’s cartoons at times because the adult shows deal with adult topics that only contribute to my distress. I’ve learned I need to write. I’ve learned I need to rest.

If my peace is disturbed and I can’t isolate, I learn to breathe and pray silently. I’ve learned to vent in pockets, confessing stresses to individuals at random so that I can acknowledge the situation I’m in. I hate public speaking, and yet I decided to perform a poem at church, with hundreds of people watching me. I was stressed! When I had a moment, I took deep breaths, drank some water, prayed, and talked with my pastor and he prayed for me.

Sometimes your peace has to come externally. Have you ever had a child feel comfortable enough with you to lay on you when they’re tired? Have you had someone physically lay their hands on you while they prayed for you? Have you ever rested in the arms of someone you truly cared about? When’s the last time you received a hug? When’s the last time you received confirmation that your struggles do indeed hurt, and someone else acknowledges it with you? Peace is greatest when it comes from within, but do not be afraid to outsource. Some people are meant to be your peace, but tread that path very carefully. Demons love to pretend they are still angels.

I hope you find peace during this pandemic. I hope you find peace with all the injustice fueled by racism which led to the rioting, violence, protesting, and uncertainty in our world. I hope you choose today let God be who He says He is: your peace. I hope, through Him, you can be the source of your peace, and if not, I hope the person meant to be your peace finds you today. I hope your voice is heard and understood. I hope your prayers are fervent, righteous, and answered. I hope anxiety dies within you now as you read.

Know that I love you. Know that I love you despite any faults and poor ideologies you and I may have. Know that I pray for your peace. Know that I pray for true change and that positive change results from your turmoil. Know that there is Jesus Christ, who wishes peace for you. Know that there is common ground we can all live on if we all try to be peacemakers for each other.

In conclusion, it is my belief that poor leadership led to the absence of our peace. Poor leadership allowed a virus to spread, and poor leadership is dragging its feet in obtaining justice for the improper deaths of innocent Black men and women, and even more that are unrecorded. Poor leadership has reported on these matters deceitfully. Poor leadership has us believing that peace is not an option. But peace is an option, if you change leadership.

Only poor leadership pins a brother with a badge against a brother with a previous conviction. Only poor leadership digs up shady history to justify murder. Only poor leadership fights against voices that want to be understood and loved. Only poor leadership allows violent instigators to roam freely within peaceful protests. Only poor leadership manipulates a movement, rather than letting it happen by the people’s hearts. If poor leadership is the problem, may I suggest letting your votes, finances, time, and attention determine the seat of authority? Peace is yours to obtain. Let your method reflect your desired destination.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Meditate on These Things. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” – Philippians 4:4-9

Peace, love, blessings, and justice,

Dario Augustus

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