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Peace – 2016-11-16

This is one of those posts that I have been meditating on for days and days. Some topics are not to be taken lightly, and this is one, I have been trying to process this as a cute little post, and it is not. It is not a topic to process in a day… Peace…
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:10

Just returning from vacation, and an out of balance schedule from scheduling too much too soon and I have been reaping the rewards and consequences. But as I contemplate what I need to do better/different/drop… that saying, “God never gives us more than we can handle,” comes to mind. More accurately, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
What is distracting/detracting me?

I think of balancing tires when I think of balancing life… you need an accurate way of measuring the balance – in life’s case, that looks like the Bible – God’s standard, God’s truth is consistent and accurate. When – not “if” – I am out of balance, it usually indicates I have hit a pot hole and need to readjust. A tire is balanced with weights, and life is often balanced/unbalanced when not giving proper weight to the areas which need it. And so, these readjustment periods are necessary.

In life, that often looks like identifying the potholes that throw us out of balance. For me, that often means I need to focus more on God and less on the critics. There is a saying that I often turn to when out of balance, “people push, God leads…” When stress replaces peace, joy and hope, that is often an indication of people pushing you down a path you know is wrong. Even a difficult path can be peaceful when you know you are on the right path.

Peace… that was what started this whole line of thinking.

As I worked to get back in balance in the midst of a harried day, I went to a devotion in Jesus Calling, about on of the names of God, Immanuel – which means, “God with us.” Keeping conscious of God’s presence even in our busiest moments. Let’s face it, some moments, some days are better than others. Some days we soar with eagles, some days we fall, some days the bigger birds leave deposits on our day and it takes time to clean off the refuse.

I contemplated how trying to MAKE peace is a lot like forcing a square peg into a round hole, there are splinters everywhere and something is going to break. We can present a facade of peace without actually experiencing peace. For some, peace is like the frog who has found himself in hot water, and too late realized it is now boiling and he has been lulled into an acceptance of a horrible or evil situation. I was thinking about the importance of embracing peace, then I researched in the Bible… we embrace comfort, we embrace evil, but we are to PURSUE peace. That would indicate to me, since pursue is an action word, that we must take action daily to obtain peace… it doesn’t just happen. It’s not something we are, it’s something we do… something we do different… because peace is not natural in this world.

Years ago I wrote that “peace for me looks a lot like the eye of the hurricane” and equated it with cherishing that moment, in the eye of the storm, where my eyes are fixed on God and I am looking into His eyes. We have never had the calm or routine life, but We HAVE had an amazing life both through and in the storms! So, when I was reminded of one of the names of God – Immanuel, God with us and thought about consciousness of His presence, even in our chaos, I am reminded how in the beginning (Genesis) God created life out of the void, the emptiness, and beauty from the chaos. Today, He still does miracles, creating life out of our (frequently self-imposed) emptiness and creating peace from the chaos. The natural order of things is for things to deteriorate INTO chaos, not for order and beauty to be formed OUT of chaos. I love this picture of creation, when my life deteriorates into chaos or void, I know that I have taken things into my own hands and have done the Little Red Hen routine and tried to do it myself, rather than letting God do it through me. Part #1

Part #2 – Peace

Still contemplating peace – this is the season for Peace, right? Yet holidays can be quite stressful…

If Jesus gives us peace, why do we have to pursue it? I was thinking about gifts… many are decorative, sit on the shelf; others we use occasionally… the gift of peace seems like one I want to use daily… When the grandbabies were here, I watched Violet take a toy wrench and using with her kitchen set… what is she doing? Ah, she’s pretending the wrench is tongs… she’s using it (and her fingers) to move food from the tray to the plate. Pretending peace, rather than using the real thing looks a lot like that… superficially, it works, but it was really a slight of hand to make it look like it was functioning like the real deal.

People can have a superficial peace – an avoidance of conflict… but is that really peace? Is ignoring the conflict and issues REAL peace?

What is peace?
1. freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility.
2. freedom from or the cessation of war or violence.

What if real peace looks like tranquility in spite of the disturbance and chaos? Some people think you are only peaceful if you are sitting quietly and calmly with the list finished… for me that is boredom and stressful. I see Peace as something on the inside that others may not accurately recognize just like people can be calm on the outside and in turmoil on the inside. Peace is ours to pursue and ours to hold… I think of when our children would experience something scary at the doctor’s office – “Take a breath, in and out… Look at me… look into my eyes and hear my voice…” peace comes from breathing in Christ… looking into the eyes of Christ and hearing His voice no matter what is happening or about to happen. focus… focus… look into those loving eyes…

Things that steal peace:

It can look like false hope – hoping in events, things or people… others do not always attach the same importance situations that we do. I recently had a situation that was very important to me, but the person who agreed to take care of it didn’t. I should have done it myself and I blew it. Having trouble coming to peace with that.

It can look like expectations – either of ourselves or expectations imposed by others. When we set goals too high, it can create stress… but we can also recognize that we are aiming high and give ourselves some flexibility if we don’t achieve quite as high a mark as hoped for. Expectations of others are more difficult… you shoulda/coulda/woulda do/done this or that. That can feel like harsh criticism, like an Epic fail.

Communication can be a huge stress/peace stealer: when one or the other party does not feel they are being heard, or the conversation is all about “me” or what I feel you SHOULD do… it’s not uplifting or peaceful. Sometimes the conversation turns more into a lecture, or a form of criticism. ie “No, you REALLY mean/think/feel xyz, not abc…” Have you ever wanted to say, “are the words coming out of my mouth and you are not hearing them or are you too busy trying to read between the lines words/thoughts that aren’t there?” There is really no point in confusing someone with facts when their mind is made up. Don’t know whose mind you’re reading, but when you figure it out, have a conversation with them… Sometimes peace can look like good boundaries in conversation. Timing is so crucial, when someone is in “fix it” mode, they really aren’t listening, words are falling on deaf hearts and ears. Isn’t is so precious when you are having a conversation that is actually a two-way? When they listen and hear, and you listen and hear and both respond with love and understanding? You actually build relationship instead of block it! Sweet! I Cherish those conversations!

Often peace comes from identification:
Identifying things or people that cause stress and adjusting your expectations or attitude;
correctly identifying characteristics, abilities or situations: ie this person has rarely been on time, I really should not make plans based upon their timeliness… or, wow, they are very young, can’t expect them to act like a maturity beyond their years… or how about, “they look exhausted, of course their words are a bit harsh today…” Hmmm, it’s 2 hours past meal time, they are probably very hungry, no wonder they are cranky…”

Peace can look like Identifying your own shortcomings, “Yeah… need to adjust my scheduling to allow for 123 as I am scheduling too much for the day, or “I haven’t had much sleep, this would be a good day to bridle my tongue…”

One of the things I loved to do with stressed clients is now part of the prayer station on Release: “take a piece of paper, write on it all your worries and stresses…” Take two more pieces of paper, write “God” at the top of one, and “My list” on the top of the other: go down your worry list and write the things only God can fix on His list and the things that you need to fix on yours. Release, in prayer, the things on God’s list one at a time, then thank Him for His answers. LET IT GO… shred it… God’s got it! As far as your list, identify steps you can take to resolving those issues and set REASONABLE timelines to do them.

Peace is facilitated by acceptance… The Serenity Prayer really sums up much of what is required for peace: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.”

It is hard to think about peace and not consider the old hymn, “It is well”… A tragic story, but peace in spite of the tragedy. I am attaching links to the song and the story.

Deeper Still:
Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another. Romans 14:19

Depart from evil, and do good; Seek peace, and pursue it. Psalm 34:14
Seek here is Asah, work, labor, toil create, construct, build, sacrifice

John 14:26-28 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you, Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Psalm 34:14-15 “Depart from evil and do good; Seek peace and pursue it. The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry.”…/history-of-hymns-it-is-wel…