Ann Spangler begins her book by first defining what peace is not- finding the perfect relationship, job, etc.; solitary or selfish; wistfully “if only” (situational). In order to truly experience peace, we must embrace the One who brings it (Jesus) and live as His disciple.
The first step in this journey is to honestly look at the stories that have shaped our lives and in the process define our understanding of the world as well as our responses to the people and events we encounter- a reflection of our core beliefs. Next is the need to embrace and not lose sight of God’s story as revealed in the Bible, especially when we’re swept away by circumstances and tend to place ourselves at the center of the universe. It also my be necessary to deal with painful past memories by remembering rightly what God has done for us rather than what people have done to us. Finally, we must be able to at least imagine the possibility of forgiveness and reconciliation by repudiating any desire for revenge.
The author then reminds us that God’s help and guidance is essential component of our desires and struggles. It’s an illusion that we’re in control of our circumstances. In following Jesus, obedience is necessary for us to live in the peace God promises. This peace, Ann Spangler stresses, must be experienced in the context of Christian community and is not meant to be a solitary process. Prayer is an indispensable practice, especially praying for those who have sinned against us.
The book concludes with chapters on practical life applications that produce peace: living a life of simplicity, manifesting a spirit of gratitude, and speaking words of peace.