The Difference Between Peace and Numbness

By Judy Mills

Photo by Emily Fletke  @fletkefoto

Photo by Emily Fletke @fletkefoto

I asked myself: Is this peace, or am I just numb? I wasn’t sure.

Our daughter revealed she had an addiction to heroin.  

We knew things weren’t right, but we didn’t expect that. The news hit like a weight I’d never felt.  It was more than I wanted to bear. But the fear and despair I saw in her eyes were most gut-wrenching of all.  

I wanted to make it all go away, but there was nothing I could do to change what she faced, except pray. And the only words I could find were, “God, help.”

I’ve struggled with the whole concept of prayer. Sometimes I still do. Why does God want us to pray? Does prayer really make a difference?

But, suddenly I felt an unexplainable peace after my prayer. Circumstances didn’t change, but my thinking and my feelings did change.

Before you tune me out, let me explain.


Numbing is our attempt to soothe ourselves, to make everything seem okay. It’s a way of masking our emotions, because we think it hurts too much to feel.

And we don’t just numb ourselves in the big things; we do it for small daily disappointments and little rejections, too.

We deaden our disappointment because we thought we’d be at a better place in this stage of life. We numb our feeling of rejection when there wasn’t a follow-up text to a first date. We stifle the fear of falling apart because everyone around us seems to have it all together.   

We stay too busy so we don’t have to think. We shop for a short-term fix. We drink until we’re oblivious to all that feels so wrong inside us.

But numbing never lasts. Even more, we lose touch with what’s going on inside us. We hinder our ability to feel and emotionally process.

So here’s the question: If not numbing, what do we do?  Crying out to God for peace is at least worth a try.


Peace allows us to accurately process what we’re going through.  

Peace is the state in which God made us to live.   

Peace is a way to prove and experience the goodness of God.   

Peace is given when we bring our desperation to God:

Don’t be anxious about things; instead, pray. Pray about everything. He longs to hear your requests, so talk to God about your needs and be thankful for what has come.

Just talking and processing our problems with God brings peace.  But it goes beyond that:

Then, because you belong to Christ Jesus, God will bless you with peace that no one can completely understand. And this peace will control the way you think and feel.

I realized, after praying, I could confirm that this peace will control the way you think and feel to be true. Amazed, I could only respond: “Wow. You can’t make this stuff up.”

I experienced a calm far better than all the numbing techniques I knew to try.

While we still had to work through my daughter’s addiction, I could think clearly and feel confident about what was ahead.

Is there an area of your life where you need peace?