Many years ago, my family would spend a week or two each summer on the banks of a serene New Hampshire lake, swimming and canoeing, picking blueberries, and enjoying the sandy beach. One of our favorite activities was water-skiing, and the best time to ski was early in the day, when the wind was still asleep and the water smooth as silk. Our skis would effortlessly slice into the mirrored surface, sending out “rooster tails” of spray that glistened in the sun.
With these memories, I couldn’t help but ponder a life lesson. In skiing, it’s easy to maneuver gracefully when the water is calm. What if one could keep his or her thinking as “unrippled” – as undisturbed as an early morning lake? We certainly would move through our days with greater grace and joy. But human thought varies greatly in the amount of chop or calm it includes. Is there an effective way to quiet the waters of thought more consistently – and find a more durable peace?
The Bible says: “The Lord is my shepherd ... he leadeth me beside the still waters” and “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalms 23:1, 2 and Psalms 46:10, respectively). These passages point to the fact that each of God’s children has a divine right to peace that lasts longer than just a season or a vacation time on a lake. Peaceful, contented thought flows from a deeper communion with God and an awareness of His omnipotent control. Peace is the natural state of God, the one infinite and all-good Mind. There is no other god or power, no other mind or source to disrupt or work against God’s supreme government of His creation. The Bible states of God, “He is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth” (Job 23:13).
It follows then that our true identity as God’s offspring would logically partake of God’s nature. The spiritual qualities of assurance, patience, quietude, gentleness, harmony, and peace belong to each of us as His spiritual creation; we experience these qualities in our lives to the degree that we understand and acknowledge our divine source. Actually, we can never be separated from God, divine Love, in whom we “live, and move, and have our being,” as the Bible states (Acts 17:28). Created in God’s image and likeness, we reflect Mind’s steadiness, strength, contentment, and control. We need only open our eyes, so to speak, to this spiritual fact and adopt a humbler approach to our days, yielding to God’s wise government.
Jesus gave us a rich example. Representing the Christ, or Messiah, he moved among tumultuous crowds with an equipoise of peace never before seen among men. His humble thought was so imbued with Godlike calm, compassion, and grace that it transformed receptive hearts around him, elevating character and even healing the sick. He once said: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
Christ Jesus always attributed what he said and did to God, his divine source. We, too, can put God first in our lives – instead of human will and worry. Spiritual peace is not simply the absence of agitation, neither is it just a tamping down of anxiety, only to have it resurface later. We can find permanent release as we humbly affirm in prayer the fact of our ongoing unity with the divine Mind and His tender care. Mary Baker Eddy, the Founder of Christian Science, writes that we silence discord in our lives by gaining a better understanding of God. She says, “It is our ignorance of God, the divine Principle, which produces apparent discord, and the right understanding of Him restores harmony” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 390).
We can each take a firm mental stand for God’s gift of peace, which is close at hand. When anxious suggestions and false fears try to “make waves,” we can know that we have authority from God to reject such discord, as Jesus would have done, since they are not from God, nor divinely authorized. As we do, we’ll experience more and more days of “smooth skiing.” No matter what comes our way, we’ll be able to move forward calmly and with dominion.